Baby shower cake! and a surprise party!

This week, I and my six other friends got together for a potluck lunch party. We secretly planned to hold a “surprise baby shower party” there since one of us was expecting a baby boy within a month!!

I was happy to have a role to prepare a baby shower cake!! It was my first time to bake a cake for that purpose, so I enjoyed thinking about the designs of the cake… This is a rough sketch of what I thought would be cute for a cake. I’m leaving this photo for a next occasion!


I wanted to bake a base cake the day before, but I was super busy and couldn’t do that beforehand. So, I prepared everything in the morning of the party day.

Since I only had less than 3 hours to prepare, I decided to go for something simple but cute. This is the cake I’ve prepared.


One of my mottos for a cake decoration is to use artificial things as less as possible. So, I used blueberries for the eyes and nose, strawberries for the cheeks, whipped creams mixed with chai-tea and chopped chocolates for the hair and melted chocolates for the other part!!

Luckily, I wasn’t late for the potluck lunch party. I arrived in time 🙂


Everyone prepared really good foods!! I enjoyed all of them 😀


This is how I put everything on my plate… 🙂 We all ate a lot and talked a lot!!

After the lunch, of course, we had a dessert time! And TADAAAAAA!!!

I and the other friend secretly prepared the cake and the baby shower balloons in the kitchen, and we said “Please clap your hands now!!! Congratulation xxx for the baby boy!!”

We wanted her to be very happy to receive this surprise party, and she started crying… ♡


It was successful!!


We’ve stuffed with lots of sweet things and sweet feelings! 🙂


It’s always so good to have happy friends around us ♡ I hope our friendship will last forever!!!

Birthday presents for my husband

A few weeks ago, it was my husband’s birthday. I wanted to give something that I’ve made only for him, so I’d been working on making gifts for my husband 🙂

As our family rule, there is one night per month when he cooks for us. I have some aprons, but he doesn’t. When I went for shopping, I see lots of cute aprons for women, but not so much for men. So, I thought it would be a good idea to make an apron for him!!

It was my second time to make an apron, (first time was for my sister), but it was my first time to make one from scratch. I’ve researched lots of things and I’ve learned a lot about designing something to wear (although it’s a very simple apron)!!

When I went for shopping, looking for a nice fabric for the apron, I fell in love with this dark brown/black linen fabric. So, I bought it. I’ve learned that linen shrinks for 3-5% in average, so I soaked it in a bath tub for half a day to let it shrink on purpose so that we will get a perfect size of apron when I’m done with sewing it.


After that, let it dry for a while but shouldn’t be completely dried.


When it is still wet and not completely dried out, do the ironing and smooth out wrinkles of the fabric.


Then, make a pattern and with a pattern paper, measuring his body, and cut the fabric.


Then, sewing, sewing and sewing… I think the most difficult part was at the top part around the neck and shoulder.


After struggling a lot, I’ve got this finally!!! Very simple but nice! I quite like it myself 😀


One side of the pockets has an embroidery.


As a small gift, I’ve made a linen coffee filter as well 🙂 It requires a little bit of extra care after making a coffee every time, but it for sure is more environmental friendly than using a paper filter every time you want to have a cup of coffee!!


Speaking of a birthday, you can’t forget about a birthday cake!! He’s requested me to make a custard cream tart, so I’ve made him this special tart with a very cute decoration ♡


I think he was really really happy with my birthday gifts ♡
If you are thinking about a gift for your partner, why don’t you try to make something rather than buying one from somewhere? I believe he/she will be happy with the fact that you’ve spent lots of energy for him/her ♡

Happy crafting and happy cooking ♡♡♡

Art in everywhere…!!

The other weekend, I went to Santa Cruz to enjoy a short hike with my friend’s family 🙂


It was a beautiful day. The ocean view was so beautiful that I would like to recommend you to go there and enjoy the beauty of the nature.

To my surprise, we saw several wild dolphins!! I’ve seen them when I went on a whale watching in Monterey Bay, but at that time, I was really feeling bad on the boat and I couldn’t enjoy the view at all. This time, I was feeling super fine and I was really excited to see them when they jumped up from the ocean surface!!

I was trying to take their photos, but it was hard… not really successful. Instead of that, I caught funny seagulls 😀 One seagull is on the other’s back, and they kept like that for a few minutes. It was really cute 😀


For the people who are interested in this coastal trail, I’m leaving notes below.

Old Cove Landing Trail – Wilder Ranch State Park
Difficulty : Easy
Length : 2.6miles
Duration : 1-3 hours

Parking lot : $10/car
NOTES : Very family friendly.

On that evening, after enjoying the strong sunshine, I was tired and wasn’t really feeling like cooking dinner. Then, suddenly, this came up in my mind!! Curry art!! 😀


How cute!! When I decided to do the “art work” instead of cooking, I was happy and not tired anymore!! I was excited to do that and I couldn’t stop smiling !!!

I was really proud of myself when I called my husband for dinner and showed these art works!! 😀 (But, I was a little bit sad to eat them up…)


Little tricks can make my life so much happier and easier ♡♡♡

I hope to explore more and more happy tricks and share them with you 😀

Strawberry Tart for Celebration :D

A few days ago, we were invited to my friends’ house for their housewarming party.

So, I baked a cake, a strawberry tart!! I prepared a night before so that the cake became tastier.


I also made message cookies out of the same dough with the tart. I melted chocolates so as to write messages with it and to make some pretty flower figures. This was how it looked in the end 🙂

strawberry tart

This is the recipe I’ve used to bake it although it’s written in Japanese. →☆

I’m super happy when I see others smiling with what I’ve made for them 🙂
I hope to do more of adventures in cooking/baking as well 😀

Hello Kitty Cake ♡

I baked a cake today for my birthday friend 😀 She and her daughter loves Hello Kitty, so I thought to surprise them by making a very cute cake!!

I’d love to introduce my quite healthy Hello Kitty cake. I mean “healthy” by not adding any artificial color to make it. Okay, please let me show you how I’ve done it 😀

First, bake a sponge cake. You can use whatever recipes you like. Once the sponge is done, you will wait and let the sponge chilled since it is much easier to cut them when it’s cold.

Let the sponge chill for a while

Then, slice the sponges into 2 to 4 layers. Also, you will cut the sponge’s outline as the face of Hello Kitty. You don’t have to be so nervous about this 😀


On each layers, spread a whipped cream and put some fruits, and make layers. I used lots of sliced strawberries since my friend’s daughter loved them 🙂 You’ll also cover the top and side of the cake nicely with the cream!


Now, the most important part is to put eyes, nose, whisks and the bow!! I’ve used sliced strawberries to make a bow. For the eyes and whisks, I used chocolate. (Precisely speaking, I had ganache at home, so I just used them by shaping them nicely by pushing and rolling them.) For the nose, I’ve used a chestnut.


Now, Hello Kitty is ready to be eaten!!!


Maybe you will try to make one for your friends or for the party you’re planning? 🙂


I’m sure it will brighten up the atmosphere and people will love it 😀
I hope you will enjoy making this cute cake ♡

Christmas cakes!!

Recently, I noticed that Safeway had a quarter gallon size of heavy cream… you know, this is the time to bake some at home for your family and friends 🙂 So, I bought this big container 😀

Huge!! Whipping cream

Well, now I have a lot of heavy cream, so why don’t I bake some Christmas cakes?? 🙂
Here is what I’ve made for this Christmas 😀


Just in case, if you are interested in how to bake them, I’m introducing the rough procedures.

First, whip the egg white and make meringue. Add sugar and egg yolk, and mix them very well. You can see if it is enough or not by putting a tooth pick on the center. If the tooth pick doesn’t fall down, it’s ready.


After adding some flowers, bake them in the oven. Then, the sponge cake is done.


This time, I wanted to slice the sponge into 4 sheets, so I had to let them cool down so that it’s going to be easier to be cut.

Let the sponge chill for a while

After slicing the sponges into 4 sheets, place one of them in a bowl.

Cut a sponge and put them in a bowl!

Then, add some fillings in the bowl.

Put stuffing.

I made some layers so that we can enjoy some flavors in one bite, by putting raspberries, cheese-cream mousse and blackberries.

Making some layers.

Then, cover the bowl with another sheet of sponge. Now all you have to do is wrap them with a plastic wrap and let them chilled in the fridge.

Covering the bottom part

Now, it’s done 😀 After decorating the outside, it will look professional 😀


As a decoration, I made “strawberry people”. The face is made with apples.

Strawberry people

Our christmas cake is done!!


This is the second cake with the matcha (green tea) creams (before finishing the decoration though) !!


Now, all the decoration is done! I quite like the roses made of apples.

More decoration done!

Merry Christmas!! Happy baking for people you love ♡

French night :) NatsuRina Kitchen – Vol.1 ♡

I’ve celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary today 🙂

I can’t believe that it’s already been a year passed since our wedding day!! We had really a good meal in the city, and I hope to spend this wedding anniversary filled with love, happiness, laughter and joy for ever with you 😀 ♡

Thank you for being such a wonderful husband to me 🙂

Wedding anniversary


A few days ago, I and my good friend cooked together for our husbands. Our theme was to cook something we didn’t cook very often and to make our husbands surprised and impressed 🙂 ♡ We secretly planned our meals, and cooked everything on the day !!!

We cooked al lot!!! This is my friend, steaming the shrimp mousse 🙂 I had so much fun to cook with my friend, but we were a little bit stressed to set up everything by the time our husbands got back home … 😦

We cooked a lot


After cooking everything except for the main beef, we prepared the table 🙂 We also prepared paper fans for guys since it was extremely hot that day!!

The table setting


The place card. Inside the card, I put short “thank you” messages to my partner 🙂

Place card


This was the menu for the day!!



Here we go!! “Mousse of green vegetables and shrimps”. Everyone got amazed how good it tasted!! 🙂
Can you notice that we poured a little bit of love on the plate? Actually the guys didn’t notice… maybe look closely on the plate around the left-top corner? 🙂

Appetizer 1- mousse


Bagna cauda dip with assorted vegetables and shrimps. The anchovy did really a good job!!! Yummy 🙂

Appetizer 2- Vegetables


Asparagus soup. There were lots of asparagus, onions and celery in it. Healthy and tasty!!

All those appetizers went really well with a bottle of white wine 🙂



Then, for the main dish, we prepared beef steak!! Of course, we had a red wine with the meal 🙂



Then, we had a dessert plate 🙂

We prepared mille-feuille!! We placed a little bit of carrot jelly, ice-cream and peach aside. We had a cup of coffee and tea 🙂



The night was brilliant!! We, the chefs, enjoyed cooking and tasting all the dishes and the boys looked enjoyed our meals with nice bottles of wines 🙂

We did French dinner, so maybe we’d try some other nationalities’ dinner and make our husbands surprised again 😀 ♡

Congratulations to Germany!!

I’ve got surprised when I checked the World Cup game result… 7 against 1 at the semi-final?! That’s incredible!!

Congratulations to those who are with German team 🙂

I was invited to my friend’s birthday party, so I made a birthday cake today 😀 Can you guess where they are from… ? 😀

Germany flag cake


It’s a German national flag cake ♡ I didn’t think that I would make a national flag cake within a week after I made the first one last Friday!! I think I really enjoy making it, so I’d like to make more countries’ national flag cakes!!

Choosing fruits is also fun 🙂 This time, I used blackberries for the black part, raspberries for the red part and peaches as well as mangos for the yellow part!! They were really refreshing and they matched well with the cheese cake!! 😀

I wanted to make birthday message cookies, so I looked for a chocolate pen at a supermarket, but they didn’t have what I was looking for… so, I decided to make a pen by myself. This is how I did.


[1] Prepare some chocolates you like. Cut them small so that they will melt easily.



[2] Pour warm water in a bowl and put another bowl onto the water bowl. Put chocolates in the upper bowl. Stir with a spatula until the chocolates fully melt. Make sure you won’t put any water in the chocolate bowl.

Melt chocolates


[3] Roll a parchment paper, making a tiny hole in the end and seal the side with a tape. Pour melted chocolate inside the pen, and use it as a pen! 🙂

Wrap a paper


[4] The message cookies are done 😀 I draw some soccer balls as well 🙂 ♡

Write what you want to write


[5] Place those cookies on the cake as you like 🙂

Decorate on the cake


I didn’t want to to put a plastic wrap directly on the cake so that the chocolates would probably stick to the wrap while I drove to my friend’s house. So a little trick here. Use a toothpick 🙂 Just put some toothpicks on the cake and then, wrap the cake with the plastic wrap 🙂

Use toothpicks


This will keep the cake nice!! Please try it 🙂

Ready for the delivery


There were many German people at my friend’s party, so I was so glad that I made the German flag cake. Oh, those people were really happy people and so nice !! I’m happy to be there 😀

Again, happy birthday my friend from Germany and congratulations for the soccer game today!!! Fingers crossed for the final game!!

How to use leftover sour cream??

I bought sour cream for making the unbaked cheesecake. I just wanted a small portion but it came in a bigger container although I chose the smallest one. I sometime have this problem, in the US, everything comes in a bigger portion!! For the cheesecake, I used just one fifth of it, so I still had lots of sour cream left in the fridge. A few months ago, I was in the same situation and I ended up with spoiling the sour cream… So, I wanted to use it somehow this time.

How do you use sour cream? I asked some of my friends, and they told me that they usually used it as a dipping sauce for lots of things. It’s nice but I wanted to use it in a cooking. I decided to go on a little bit of cooking adventure, and it came out really nice so that I really wanted to share it with you 😀

I thought adding some sour cream in a pancake dough would be interesting and it would probably add some “sour” flavor. So, on the weekend after July fourth, I decided to have pancakes for breakfast at home. And I tried…

I made one without and one with sour cream to compare the tastes. In the picture below, the left one is without and the right one is with the sour cream. Oh, the sour cream made a big difference !! A difference in the taste as well as in the texture!!



Here is how the plain dough looked like without the sour cream.



Here is how the dough looked like with sour cream. The dough got thicker.



When the both of them were cooked, I took the picture of the texture inside. Again, the left one is the plain pancake and the right one is the sour cream pancake. Can you see that in the plain pancake, the air holes are bigger and the texture looks drier compared to the sour cream pancake?? When I had the sour cream one, I actually didn’t feel the “sourness” as I had expected, but I felt the deepness in the flavor. Wow.



If you have some sour cream left in your fridge, you should definitely try the sour cream pancake!! It’s worth trying 🙂 I’m sure you will be amazed with the difference 🙂

By the way, I like to spread this creamed honey which my friends recommended to me 🙂 Yummy ♡



I hope you will enjoy the sour cream pancake sometime soon! 🙂 ♪♪ Enjoy eating, and smile a lot ♡♡♡

A birthday cake for America

I was invited to my friend’s house for BBQ on Fourth of July and I wanted to prepare something very nice to celebrate the day!! And I made this… TA-DA!!!

July 4th cake

A birthday cake for the United States!!! By the way, how old is this country?? It won independence from Grate Britain in 1776, so America is 238 years old now.


It’s an unbaked cheesecake because it won’t be too heavy after the BBQ and also refreshing with lots of fruits on top! The unbaked cheesecake is normally made from cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, and gelatin. This time, I added some lemon juice and also sour cream, so that it would be a little bit tart. The cake got harder after keeping it in the fridge overnight with the power of the gelatin.



In the morning of the Independence Day, I did all the decoration on the cake. Do you know how many stars and stripes the American flag has on it? The answer is… please count the number of the blueberries I put on the cake and the number of red and white lines I made on the cake!!! 😀 I faithfully imitated the flag 🙂



I like the picture taken from this angle… 🙂



The fruits are set now. But the decoration is not quite done yet. Since I just put the fruits on the cake, they might move when I carry to my friend’s house. So, I poured a sauce made from white wine, sugar, lemon juice and gelatin powder on top.



As you probably guessed it, I had to keep it in the fridge for an extra few hours for the sauce to be harder until it’s actually turned out to be a jelly. This is finally done!!! Now the fruits won’t move while I’m carrying it, and also the cake has additional refreshing tastes 🙂 I like this cake♪♪



My friends prepared nice BBQ for us and we had nice time there ♡ Then, we enjoyed this cake after eating lots of meat 🙂

At night, I walked to the park in my neighborhood to watch the fireworks!! It was really nice although I couldn’t take nice pictures… I found that the fireworks we could watch in Japan is probably much bigger than what we watched here. If you have a chance to visit Japan, please watch the beautiful fireworks!!! Anyway, watching the beautiful fireworks without thinking anything was really nice thing to do.


Thanks to my friends, I am happy with my first Fourth of July experience 🙂

Happy birthday, America ♡

A turtle bread brings big smile :)

Recently, I’ve got to know a nice lady with a cute little boy at a cafe. I was working on my crochet project there, and the boy sitting behind me started talking to me, showing his brand-new toy. His face was filled with an extraordinary cute smile!! Soon after that, I and the mom started talking to each other and we became friends. What a nice day it was!! I think it’s much better to go out than staying at home even when you have to work on something 🙂

She told me that he loved melon breads. This was the reason why they were there on that day. The cafe had nice melon breads. I’ve never baked melon breads but after hearing her stories how much he loved them, I felt like making one for him!! This is how my journey with melon breads began… lol


The first time, they came out okay but they were just like “cookies on breads”. They didn’t have deepness in the taste. I also didn’t do so well with baking part.melon bread -1st trial


The second time, I asked my aunt’s help. She loves cooking and baking and she pretty knows a lot about those things. She gave me her recipe via Email, so I tried to follow them… but out of curiosity, I couldn’t resist to add a real melon juice to add a flavor in them, and I believe this destroyed the balance… it looked better than the first time but the bread was harder and not perfect either.

melon breads -2nd trial


The third time, I modified my aunt’s recipe just a little. I felt that they were working quite well this time, so that I decided to make an original one for the boy!! A turtle bread 🙂 They turned out perfect for me!! I also added chocolate chips for some of them and they were really good!!

A turtle bread- before baking

melon breads -3rd trial


I gave it to his mother and she told me that he loved it!! He played a lot with the turtle bread before eating it, and also enjoyed eating it.

A turtle bread

A turtle bread

What a cute smile he has!!! I’m now quite satisfied with my journey of melon breads!!  His big happy face rewards my effort 😀

Huge smile with a melon bread!

Handmade items and cooking/baking are not so easy and time consuming but always fun because they allow us to be creative!!

RECIPE: Healthy Sweets For Summer ♡

I guess carrots may be one of the vegetables which lots of children find it difficult to eat. I often go grocery shopping on the weekend with my husband, and there, I try to buy lots of vegetables. I almost always ask him if he would like to eat them, and carrots are the thing he usually says “no”…

Carrots are really healthy food though!! Carrots contain lots of β-carotene, and this is where the name “carrot” actually came from. This β-carotene will be converted into active Vitamin A in human body and this brings us lots of good effects.  I would summarize the good effects of  β-carotene as follows:

  • to improve skin color and may reduce wrinkles (if you do not eat too much)
  • to boost the effectiveness of sunscreen
  • to protect the mucous membrane, which results in reducing allergies

There are a few things you have to be careful when you eat carrots since they contain an enzyme which destroys Vitamin C. This enzyme has a low tolerance for “heat” or “citric acid”, so it is better to heat carrots or to have them with lemon or vinegar. Heating carrots will also increase the amount of β-carotene we absorb in our body.


Now, we know more or less about carrots 🙂 As a child, I also didn’t like carrots and my mom sometimes made jelly with carrots so that I could eat them. So, I decided to prepare some for us. I got the recipe from my mom and converted it to my way 🙂 My husband liked it, so here, I will share the recipe!! I hope you will enjoy it ♡

Carrots & Lemon Jelly

◆Ingredients◆ (serving size: about 10)


If you have some organic lemons, you may use the skin as a container 🙂


1. Wash lemons and cut them in half (if you use them as a container) and squeeze lemon juice. You may take off all the thin skins inside the lemon.

lemon juice

2. Wash carrots well and grate them.

shredded carrots

3. Put gelatin powder into a bowl and add 2 Tbs of water. Leave them for a few min to let the gelatin powder absorb the water.

4. Put “1”, “2” and 1 1/3 cup of water in a sauce pan, and add sugar. Cook them over low heat for about 5 min and stir well to dissolve sugar.

lemon/carrots/water/sugar Mixture

    • You will check the taste here. If you like sweeter, you may add another 1 or 2 Tbs of sugar.

5. Turn off the heat. Add “3” into “4” and stir them very well.

6. Pour “5” into a container and keep them in a fridge until they get harder for about 3 hours.

    • I also like to keep them in the freezer and eat them frozen!! This would become similar to a sorbet.

♡ DONE ♡

Bon appetit!!


Hmmm… yummy!! I think this is really refreshing and thus, good for summer 🙂 I also like this orange color!!

Oh, I wish I had a lemon tree at home likewise lots of other people who have houses here… One day when we get our own house, I would love to have the tree!! 😀

Elmo Strawberry manufacturing :)

Let’s decorate your cake with some fancy strawberries!! I’m sure everybody will love them!! Tutorial Elmo Strawberry

Prepare all the ingredients and tools, and let’s get started 🙂


◇ Ingredients 

  • Strawberries
  • White chocolates chips (for eyes)
  • Orange button shaped chocolates (for noses)
  • Dark colored chocolates (for the eyes and mouthes)
  • Whipped cream


◇ Tools 

  • Knife
  • Baking sheet
  • 2 bowls


◇ Recipe ◇

Step 1. Wash strawberries very well. Then, take off the stem and cut the bottom part of the strawberries slightly diagonally (so that strawberries can stand by themselves and they can show their faces).

**In the picture below, you will notice strawberries slightly tilting toward their back.

Put chocolates on Strawberries

Step 2. Put 2 white chocolate chips and 1 orange chocolate nicely on the strawberries, using whipped cream as a glue.

Step 3. Melt dark color chocolates. Put dark color chocolates in a bowl, and you will put a warm water into another bowl below that bowl. (Make sure not to let the water come into the chocolates bowl!!)

Step 4. Roll one sheet of baking sheet nicely into circle so that you can use it as a chocolate pen. It will be better if you roll the edge sharp with just a tiny hole for the chocolate to come out. Pour melted chocolates (made at step 3) into the pen-shaped baking sheet.

Step 5. Draw black eyes with the chocolate pen made at step 4 in the white chocolates. You may also draw their mouthes.

Make black eyes with chocolates

Step 6. You will put whipped cream on your favorite cakes, and put your sweet Elmo strawberries!! Done ♡

Done- Elmo!!

Aren’t they too cute to eat?? It’s a little bit of effort, but your cup cake will look a lot more prettier than just normal strawberries on, isn’t it??
Happy tea time with extra smiles 😀 ♡♡♡

How could you resist him?

A taste of heaven…♡

I’ve been in love with cakes as almost all of the other girls are. My favorites are especially cheese cakes, chocolate cakes and fruits tarts. Since I had my husband’s birthday party recently, I made a cake for his birthday.

These days, it’s getting hot, so I thought something not too sweet would be good. Also, I wanted to make something looked nice. Then, I made this: A rare cheese cake. I didn’t bake the cheese part, and I just harden it with gelatin. So, it’s actually very simple but a bit time consuming. On the top, I put jelly made of white wine, sugar and lemon juice. Overall, this cake tastes super great!! It’s like a taste of heaven!! A sweetness and sourness get along really well here 😀

Rare Cheese Cake with Berries

I brought those little cakes to one of my friends’ house to share and we had the bigger whole cake at home. With a nice cup of tea…♡ Hmmm, I believe in heaven… 😉

Tea Time

My husband even said it was the best cake I’d ever made…!! Also, it’s even better than some cakes served at cafes!! He might have been just being nice to me, but I am still happy with what he said. I was happy that I could do something to make him happy on his birthday 🙂