Welcome to my blog!  Though I work as a children’s book illustrator (visit www.melissaiwai.com to view my site)  Two of my other passions are cooking and painting.   Actually painting and cooking are quite similar.  Both involve a set structure–rules to follow (or choose to break), but both also contain the element of surprise and spontaneity—which is where the real creativity and fun come in.

I’ve baked since I was a kid, but only started cooking after getting married.  Then after gaining about ten pounds after a few years of making and enjoying rich, home cooked meals and desserts, I realized I needed to make a few changes in our diets — decreasing   saturated fats and processed food and increasing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Living with two very picky eaters (my husband and son) makes getting healthy meals on the table a challenge.  I’m trying to foster an appreciation for cooking and baking in my son by letting him help me in the kitchen and see what a magical process it can be.  Since he was a baby, my son has kept me company at the kitchen counter top while I cook dinner, and now he gets into the act once in awhile.   He’s even developed some of his own recipes. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!  Comments are welcome!

106 responses to “About

  1. love you guys.

    i’ll come here often to check up on you and nick your recipes, okay? okay!

  2. Melissa! What a fun blog. I didn’t know you a a “foodie”: I love cooking too. I even give Russian food cooking workshops in NH. We should get together and really make something on the kitchen together. That would be fun. And my daughter cooks too. Jamie grown up so much. Looking forward to read more posts, Inga

  3. Marc


    When Kendra and I were in Chicago, we dined at Alinea. You must have heard of it-if not, check out the website.

    It was one of the coolest events I have ever experienced. You MUST go!


    Stay hungry!


  4. Hi, Melissa! I’m so glad I found your blog, as I always enjoy your posts. In fact, I enjoy them so much that I recently tagged you in one of mine, a post titled ‘8 Questions for 8 Food Bloggers.’ Will you answer (at your convenience, of course)? http://wp.me/pUg5b-jS

    Best to you,

  5. Dawn

    I just absolutely adore recieving your emails and reading your recipes on this site!

  6. Irena

    Discovered your site while trying to find a good pastry recipe for a fruit tart. Loved the pictures of your son designing his mini tarts. I used the recipe that you had posted for the pastry crust-wonderful! Looking forward to many more wonderful posts!

  7. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and superb design and style

  8. Hey, I put you up for the “Versatile Blogger Award”! Hope you would like to participate! Check it out:


  9. Love the idea. Food and art – pretty much all you need:)

  10. Hi Melissa. I love your recipes and blog, therefore I’ve I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award.

  11. I love your blog! I will be coming here often to check out new ideas and to drool over the fab pictures!!!


  12. Love your recipes! They are different and so intriguing. Your creativity in cooking is on a par with your creativity as an illustrator! Best of success to you in all your endeavors!

  13. What fun to stumble on your space via freshly pressed tonight! (:

  14. haleymg12

    Your food looks amazing! Can’t wait to try some recipes!!

  15. livelovelotis

    Love your blog….the more posts I get to see, the more I get hungry…I love your recipes!

  16. anyone who uses abuelita in their cooking is my hero \O/
    keep up the great work!

  17. We love your blog. Your recipes, photos are awsome… Now on, we will keep following this nice posts… Thanks…

  18. Melissa, your life is truly aspiring. I’m so glad to have found your blog!

  19. Thanks, everybody for the nice comments! I was feeling down just now, and your messages lifted my spirits! 🙂

  20. Hi Melissa,
    I found you thru Food Buzz. I wanted to say hi and how much I love your blog and recipes. Will def give a few of them a try. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I nominate you for One Lovely Blogger Award! Please copy/paste award from my site and follow rules if you accept! Have a great day 🙂

  22. Oh my gosh, I just love that you cook with your son!!! How very wonderful. I’m looking forward to following your blog and learning more about the mother/son cooking dynamic. 🙂 Say, my husband and I are trying to celebrate boys and men in the kitchen and started a submission based blog to gather stories. We would love it if you submitted a story of cooking with your son or one of his recipes! ourstorythyme.wordpress.com All best and happy cooking.

  23. I’d love to, but I had thought that only stories about dads and cooking were submitted…!

  24. pwang22

    I’ve nominated you for an Inspiring Blog Award – Congratulations!


  25. Your art and recipes (or are they mostly the same thing?) both look amazing. Your blog posts are uplifting and your photography is a force to be reckoned with!! I’ve nominated you for the ‘Sunshine Award’! You can see the rules on my nomination blog post (http://thegirlintheorange.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/sunshine-in-my-inbox-makes-me-happy/) and please, stay hungry! I really need to make those pumpkin granola bars…to die for. ❤ ❤

  26. what a beautiful blog. love your recipes

  27. Hi, I love your blog and I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Please have a look at:http://artandkitchen.wordpress.com

  28. Thank you for stopping and liking a post today. I love the pictures of the wonderful food. It reminds me of Christmas as an everyday event. I look forward to following your culinary journey.

    Take care,


  29. Pingback: Chocolate crackle fabulous cookies « prettyeasylife

  30. Good Morning! I love your idea of blending recipes and art…great blog! When you have a momment come visit my new blog at http://www.redwinefinefood.com

  31. Hey! I have nominated you and your awesome blog for the Super Sweet Blogging Award! You can check out the details here: http://klling.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/super-sweet-blogging-award/


  32. Hello, I really want to say that I enjoy your blog. I recommended your blog in a post I wrote today, and I am nominating you for the award. Basically, to accept the award, you just answer eight questions about yourself and nominate other blogs that you enjoy. It is up to you, but I just wanted to let you know that I like your blog and can’t wait to see more. 🙂

  33. I just came across your blog and I feel like I can relate to it already! I have always loved art and drawing/painting, but my other passion is food and I am going back to school for nutrition. I just started my own, feel free to check it out!

  34. Congratulations… because I love your blog, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check out the link to see the rules should you choose to accept. http://mittsandmeasures.com/2013/04/27/versatile-blogger-award/

  35. Hi there, I’ve nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award because your pics and recipes are so sweet 🙂 http://sunshinescrapbook.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/the-super-sweet-blogging-award/

  36. thewesternchicken

    I like your thought that cooking and paining are quite similar. I also love painting myself, although I am not good. I definitely agree with you on the fact that art is half given and half creativity. I had made a post earlier about abstract food. Check it out! I think you’ll agree~
    -Raining Chocolate

  37. johncpicardi

    Lovely Blog! Thanks for sharing, looking forward to r
    eading more! John

  38. RaisingDragonBoy

    I kind of stumbled onto your blog via whitetrinity.com. So glad I did! Love your illustrations and the recipes. Look forward to reading more soon…Cheers, Mom of Dragon Boy

  39. Felt I needed to leave a comment after I went on a “like” frenzy with some of your posts. Love your blog! Looking forward to reading more of your old posts and checking out the new posts as well. Everything looks so yummy!

  40. This is the prettiest blog I’ve ever seen!

  41. Hi Melissa, what a beautiful blog xx

  42. Hi my sweet new sister and friend, I want to say thank you for your friendship with a great big pretty yellow flower, so I’ve nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. Please accept it with my love and thanks at:

  43. Hi there,
    I first want to say thank you for such wonderful work in creating your blog!

    I was wondering if you have tried these little known gluten free and paleo products: Miss Paleo Mixes. They have some more information on the website: http://www.misspaleomixes.com

    If you’d like to try a sample to review on your blog, we’d be happy to send it! Feel free to email or contact me through my blog (www.relizabethpaleorunner.blogspot.com) if you decide this is something that interests you.

    Thank you!

  44. Hi Melissa! Well, aren’t you talented! I visited your website and simply loved the illustrations. And your blog has some very interesting recipes. Way to go!

  45. I really like your blog I need easy home recipes for my vegetarian daughter.

  46. what a cozy corner you have! And so inspiring recipes!I’ll come back soon! Cris

  47. Hi,

    It is noticeable that there is a great number of tasty recipes on your site and we would like to suggest you to have a look at the Top Food Blog section on our site, the http://www.mytaste.com

    myTaste is a social platform for foodies and blogs/sites owners like you and it helps to reach more people, get more visibility on the web and share/save recipes. Some of the top food blogs receive 20,000 visitors from us on a weekly basis.

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    Kind regards

  48. Victoria

    Awesome blog and books! Just love your blog!

  49. Cooking with kids is an adventure. and joyful. and messy.

  50. Hello,
    Surprise for deserved personality 
    I am passing this ‘Liebster Award’as one of the upcoming blogs with your dedication.
    Do check here http://drchdietfood.com/2014/06/12/my-first-recognition-liebster-award/
    Look forward to see your post with this award soon.
    Have a good day and take care
    Chitra Jagadish

  51. Christine Lailani Ginete

    Hi, Melissa! 🙂

    I would like to nominate you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. More details here:

    Continue inspiring others with your great posts! 🙂

  52. Margaret

    Hi H.A. I love your soup book and bought it for my granddaughter and a friend’s child! I am writing to comment on your latest post about the cacao powder. I switched to cacao nibs because on a medical show in which an organic testing man was showcased, he said that he had tested cacao powder and it was full of heavy metals but the same was not true of cacao nibs, so I switched to Navitas cacao nibs. They need more processing here at home, but they are safer. Apparently many of the “superfoods” from South America have this problem. Just thought you would want to know.

    Thank you for your great blog!!

    • Hi,
      Thanks about the book! That’s interesting about what you saw on the show. Are you sure it was raw cacao powder and not processed cocoa powder? Everything I’ve read says that raw cacao powder and cacao nibs are the same and have the same benefits, it’s just that the nibs are not ground. I asked at my health food store and the guy there said it just depends on what you are using them for. If you want to make smoothies or dissolve the cacao, then the powder is the way to go. If you want to make your own chocolate, then the cacao nibs are the way to go. The nibs cannot be blended easily– they are very gritty and bitter. They had some samples out, and I tasted some, and it wasn’t bad, but the nibs in the trail mix were really, really tiny, not like the bagged Nativa Cacao Nibs. It’d be great if you could share your info about how they are safer — I’d really appreciate it! And I would even go back to the store and tell the people there, as they should know, and probably would want to know as well ! Thanks again!

  53. This is a great blog! Keep up the great work! please Visit http://www.helloworldmagazine.com sometime, too. Thanks!

  54. Thanks for visitng my blog. Hope you liked it. Loving yours as well! x

  55. I love your blog. I will soon come back, but now i got to hungry https://magnyblog.wordpress.com/

  56. So sweet of you — thanks again! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting as I used to- really busy with my art work!

  57. Hi, I don’t know if you participate in blog awards, but I’ve nominated you for the lovely blog award. I love your site 🙂

  58. Hi!
    I’m new around here 😛
    I just want to thank you, because you were the first person to like something on my blog!
    So thanks ^^)


  59. Thanks for liking my blog posts at https://dineinmykitchen.wordpress.com. You have nice blog.

  60. It’s interesting to read your bio- I totally relate to everything you have just said here. I’m looking forward to reading through your blog and upcoming posts!!

  61. Sarah Beth

    LOVE your illustrations! definitely something i’ve thought about…with the art degree…and now with kids….the whole publishing thing sounds like a major haul though…Anyway, looking forward to keeping up with you and your picky eaters!!! ;)))

  62. Pingback: Christmas chocolate crackle cookies - prettyeasylife.com

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