TJ’s snack hack

Trader Joe’s easy flatbread snack


TJ’s garlic naan

creme fraiche

thin sliced red onions


fresh basil


thinly slice red onion

place on naan bread

Put in toaster oven on setting 5.

Remove naan from toaster and dollop creme fraiche and place a piece of prosciutto on top. Throw on a few pieces of basil. That is it!

So delicious.

5 minute snack!

sun day meal plan

I am making it a point to try and keep my Sundays free so I can cook dinner for my little family.

round one:

astellar deviled eggs

round two:

astellar butter + spinach lettuce + watermelon + cucumber + avocado + lemon herb vinaigrette.

round three:

astellar turkey meatballs + polenta + spinach + pan sauce jus.

this is me.


Hello! My name is Michele Kitagawa and I am the owner of astellar production. I am taking this moment to reintroduce myself to the world.

I was born 10 days early in October on my brother’s 4th birthday. I made an early entrance. Makes sense now. I didn’t want share my birthday with Halloween, I wanted to share it with my brother. It truly teaches you about sharing and compromise instantly when you and your siblings are born on the same day.

My mother is a Peruvian (French, Spanish) red head with green eyes and freckles and my father is Japanese Canadian. My brother is married to a beautiful and caring Italian Aussie and have two kids that I adore. My husband is from Iceland and when we all get together we form the united nations.

My mother, Maria, is an amazing cook. She is well known for her Peruvian cuisine, however, her asian food repertoire is unmatched. I grew up in the kitchen helping her out. Prepping things. Washing things. Setting the table. I could use a fork and knife at a very young age. Manners were very important in our home. Every night we always said Please and Thank you for the supper and asked to be excused before clearing our dishes. (Manners are IMPORTANT)

Around 5 years old, I used to help my dad get ready in the morning. Pick out his tie for his suit and stand in front of the mirror with him mimicking everything he did. He was old school and had a brush for his shaving cream. He would let me do this too. SO there we were in the morning staring at the mirror with our shaving cream beards. I can still remember the smell of the shaving cream.

I digress. I went to art school in San Francisco and was amongst some of the top filmmakers and artists. I studied fashion design and merchandising so when I met my film friends and they asked me to do wardrobe or build a set, it wasn’t too far off from what I was doing. A natural career progression if you will. I loved it. And miss it.

I worked on countless hip hop videos building sets or dressing the artists.

I refound my passion for food after I broke into the film business and worked in the art department. At the time there simply was just not enough jobs art jobs to be sustainable. Not to mention I kept getting hired for computer desk jobs, which I am not suited for. I wanted to feed people. I am now feeding my coworkers and happy to flex my creativity and try new recipes on them.

I have been feeding the film business for over a decade now. It has brought me to the most breathtaking locations. I usually take time off to go back and explore the places we shoot at.

Alas, it is officially time for me to start making how to videos and work on my cookbook. 💗

grazing boards

Summer fruit has arrived! I got to work at Goalline production studio last week and was super inspired to create these boards for the commercial cast and crew.

The waves are calling

We work in the film and music industry. The hours are long and sometimes relentless. I often get asked what we do to decompress. If we only have 24 hours, we typically head to the coast. During the week, it is chill and virtually no tourists/people. The weather is pleasant if it is sunny or overcast. Our dog, Clyde, could care less if it is cold or hot, either way he is always down for an ocean dip.

Yesterday we both had a day off that fell on a Tuesday. I looked up the weather in Tomales Bay and it looked so nice. What did I forget? Our favorite spot, The Marshall Store, is closed on Tuesday! Doh! Alas, our other favorite Tomales spot, Nick’s Cove, was open and had the most epic sunny deck for us. What luck!

The water and sky was so blue. Not a cloud in the sky.

We had yummy oysters, fish tacos, asparagus with black garlic aioli and bacon (so good I ordered another plate), and a kale caesar. So delicious.

After lunch we headed towards Stinson and had the beach to ourselves. Dog heaven. Another midweek perk!

We enjoyed a nice early sunset beach hang with poodle ocean dips before heading to Bolinas to watch the Warriors crush the Pelicans.

With that big WIN, I’d say we had a perfect Northern California day!💓

summer preview salad

I got the first round of heirloom tomatoes this week at the farmer’s market. Although they are not quite there yet, still fun to see some pop of color back in the market.

Here is astellar heirloom tomato + avocado + olive oil + maldon sea salt + cracked pepper + balsamic vinegar + basil from my herb garden.

on location in Placerville, California

Some days I have to wake up in the middle of the night to deliver breakfast in the dark. It is very very trying at times. But, then the sun comes up, and the surprise reveal of the beautiful breathtaking location makes up for all the mileage and utter exhaustion. I usually always come back to wherever we land for vacation. I probably would have never discovered half of the spots unless my job brought me to them.

%d bloggers like this: