Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Papa’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and father-figures! Hope you had a chillaxing day, doing absolutely NOTHING! We appreciate all that y’all do for us. Thank you, thank you!

My family and I are celebrating with my dad. My sister and I cooked steaks, seasoned with garlic pepper, and rack of lamb, marinated with teriyaki sauce. We’re using the Instant Pot air fryer combo we got my dad for Father’s Day last year. It has all kinds of cool features: air fry, bake, broil, and roast. We’re using ALL the features. So exciting!

I made a Greek yogurt sauce to complement the meats. Yum! That’s my favorite part about eating red meat, which I’m so excited to eat because I don’t have very often anymore. Red meat is a delightful treat. I was introduced to this delicious pairing when I went to Turkey in the summer of 2010 for a world conference.

The yogurt sauce is similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce. It’s very simple to make. I add my own simple touches to it to make it my own. I used plain Greek yogurt and seasoned it with garlic pepper, minced dried garlic, and dried dill. Voilà! All done! The sauce is so good, I can eat it by itself. Uh huh! You heard right!

Now, gotta have them veggies! We made green beans and brussel sprouts, cooked with garlic balsamic olive oil, onions,and garlic. Scrumptious! Now, that’s how you get people to eat their vegetables, haha!

We also had Portuguese sausage, the best sausage there is, in my opinion (I’m not a huge sausage fan) and shrimp tempura. The tempura was already pre-made, thanks to Costco. My dad cooked oysters in a buttery garlic sauce. Oh my! I was in heaven! I love oysters. We don’t eat it all the time. Whenever we do, I savor every bite! It’s a wonderful treat!

For dessert, my dad requested a haupia pie, which my sister bought. Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut dessert.

Time to grind all the delicious foods! Ciao!

Have a great week. Happy belated Juneteenth, now a federal holiday (yay!), and Happy Summer!

FS x

Week Five of AAPI Heritage Month: Nepalese Food

We’re closing in on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It’s been a wonderful month highlighting the culture I’m so proud to be apart of. I’ve learned about so many different resources, books, and movies that highlight the AAPI people. RepresentASIAN!!! I’m so happy that President Biden signed a bill to combat hate crimes against the AAPI population (the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act).

I’d like to also mention again that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the pandemic, especially this year, taking care of my mental health has become so important. Moreover, realizing that the little things we often take for granted are what we should be treasuring every single day. Things such as: socialization, companionship, and hugs. Those are part of the human make-up, we so desperately need.

Mental health should be openly spoken about and not looked upon as a negative stigma. Often times, people feel judged and criticized once they talk about mental health. That’s not right. My dream is that mental health would be openly discussed amongst people, freely and in a healthy, positive way. There are various support groups through mental health organizations, where people can meet and safe safe to discuss their experiences, but we need that same love and support from society.

This week’s AAPI cuisine feature is Nepalese food. I had two close friends (siblings) in graduate school who were from Nepal. While they resided here on O’ahu, they frequently invited me over to their home and made home-cooked Nepalese vegetarian food. They were so proud of their culture and country. And they were great cooks! They even taught my family and our friends how to eat with our hands. I guess they don’t really use utensils in Nepal. It was a bit strange, as I’m not used to eating with my hands, but it was an interesting experience. Likewise, my friends learned about the local culture here and were exposed to a variety of different ethnic foods. They often liked eating at Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimukī. I love that place. They became friendly with the staff. I’d always have a grand time hanging out with them. They brought so much joy and a sense of calmness whenever in our presence.

If you haven’t had Nepalese food, it’s very similar to Indian food. They are neighboring countries after all. That got me thinking, what’s the difference between the two cuisines? They seem so similar- and they are. I found this article that explains the difference: https://kitchenappliancehq.com/what-is-the-difference-between-indian-and-nepalese-food/. One thing Jeff Campbell states is that Nepalese food does not contain cream like Indian food does. That’s very true! A lot of Indian dishes have creamy textures. Next time I’m dining out at a combined Nepalese/Indian restaurant, I’ll be able to tell the difference.

Have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer!

Cheers!

FS x

Week One of Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Thai Cuisine

Happy belated May/Lei Day, and Happy AAPI Heritage Month! So grateful to have this entire month dedicated to us!

I’ve included some links to learn more about the AAPI legacy:

Each week during the month of May, we’ll highlight on a dish of Asian or Pacific Islander cuisine. I’m excited to share about the various dishes I love throughout this month.

This week, our featured dish is Thai cuisine. It’s one of my favorite Asian foods. I love this new restaurant in Kaimukī called Red Elephant Thai Cuisine. Their food is excellent. The server shared that the food is considered to be authentic to the food cooked and eaten in Thailand.

Over the weekend, my friends and I had a marvelous dinner at Red Elephant. We sat in their outdoor section of the restaurant, which is featured in the picture collage. Their outdoor atmosphere is beautiful and tranquil both in the daytime and nighttime. I love sitting out there. We were entertained by a talented pianist while enjoying our dinner. Everything about that night was spectacular. We laughed and enjoyed each others’ company. The food was delicious. It was a wonderful reunion.

Prior to dinner, we attended our late friend’s celebration of life service. I had shared in a prior blog post that one of my girlfriends unexpectedly passed a couple months ago. It was shocking to all who knew her… The service was a lovely tribute to remember and honor her life. There were lots of tears and laughter, and reminiscing about the fabulous person she was to those who had known her. She will be dearly missed. I hope she is resting in love, happiness, and peace, and watching over us. My main takeaway from this experience is to live life to the fullest. Be the best version of yourself; be kind and loving to those around you, and have faith in everything you do.

I have so many favorite Thai dishes from Red Elephant, and overall. I didn’t present them all. The dishes featured in the collage are: yellow curry with sticky rice, tom yum (hot and sour lemongrass) soup, and green papaya salad. These photos were taken when I dined there with my sister.

This weekend, my friends and I ate: red curry with sticky rice, tom yum soup, spring rolls, and pad see lew (stir fry with noodles). We loved all these dishes. Yum!

The go-to dish I must order at any Thai restaurant is the tom yum soup. It is a breath of fresh air. I love the spiciness and sourness. The broth is so tasty. I always get excited when I see tom yum soup packets and flavored snacks at the store.

Check out Red Elephant Thai Cuisine:

3196 Wai’alae Ave.
Honolulu, 96816
808-732-5461
https://www.redelephantthaicuisine.com/

Peace,

FS x

Hearty and satisfying. It’s mmm, mmm, good!

Annyeong haseyo! “Hello” in Korean.

We’re approaching the end of April and heading into May. We’re inching closer and closer to mid-year. A lot has occurred this year and sometimes it feels like a continuation of last year. However, I continue looking forward and focusing on the light that’s ahead. Focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative. Things are improving whilst in this pandemic. “April showers bring May flowers.”

This week’s featured dish is one my favorite Korean dishes, soft tofu stew, or kimchi soondubu jjigae. I HEART this soup/stew. I love tofu, especially soft tofu. And the tofu in this soup/stew is extremely soft. It hits the spot every time. Oh, and that soup base- it’s so good! It’s the fish-base that makes the broth so tasty.

One of my favorite things about Korean food is dining at all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Korean BBQ restaurants. Cooking your meal amongst great company is the best! And eating the yummy food with others is simply fabulous. Korean BBQ always makes me excited. I love the meats- the kalbi and beef tongue are my faves. I look forward to the side dishes, such as the various types of kimchi, and finally, that tofu stew. Mmm, mmm! It’s a hearty and satisfying meal, every.single.time!

I found this recipe: https://www.koreanbapsang.com/kimchi-soondubu-jjigae-soft-tofu-stew-kimchi/. Looks simple and delish to make at home.

Make the most of April. May is coming. More sunshine and flowers to look forward to.

Jal Itsuh (“Be well”),

FS x

Local Kine Grindz

This week, we’re exploring the local grinds on the island of Maui, one of my favorite islands away from home. Maui holds a special place in my heart because my mom was from there. I have lovely memories staying at my maternal grandparents’ house in Wailuku and visiting with relatives whenever I’d visit. As a child, we got our second dog from Maui. His name was Charlie. Boy, was he a menace. But he was a good watch dog. Always protecting us and our family home.

Several years ago, I got to try the famous Sam Sato’s in Wailuku. It’s a small, family-owned business. The restaurant gets pretty crowded, but the wait is worth it. They’re known for their dried noodles. This week’s featured image has a variety of popular dishes from Sam Sato’s: dried noodles, saimin (similar to ramen), cheeseburger, and BBQ beef stick. Can I say, ahhh-mazing? Loved all the food. It was so yummy. It hit the spot.

These days when I visit Maui, I like to play tourist. My favorite places to visit are:

  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
    • It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, full of zen and nature.
  • Maui Ocean Center
    • I always love going to an aquarium.
  • MauiWine
    • Mmm, wine! Can you say wino? MauiWine is not too far from the lavender farm.
  • Sightseeing in Lāhainā/Front Street
    • I love Lāhainā and walking through Front Street. I love seeing the largest Banyan tree in the U.S.
  • Tasaka Guri Guri
    • My childhood favorite snack. This is a must have every time I visit. Guri guri is a dessert that’s between an ice cream and sherbet. Tasaka’s has two flavors: strawberry and pineapple. Both are quenching, but my favorite is the strawberry. Strawberry, all the way!
  • Whaler’s Village
    • A beautiful shopping mall in Lāhainā, with yummy restaurants, like Leilani’s on the Beach. Have a meal and a drink while watching the sunset fronting the beach.

My friend and her family recently visited Maui and told me about her visit to the goat farm. She shared how fun it was. That’s on my travel list the next time I’m in town again. Surfing Goat Dairy|Maui Goat Farm. I LOVE goat cheese and can’t wait to try them fresh. Yum!

Next time you’re in Maui, visit all these cool places, including Sam Sato’s:

1750 Wili Pa Loop
Wailuku, 96793
808-244-7124

Travel safely! Wear your mask!

FS x

Lunar New Year Celebrations & Good Luck Wishes Continue…

Happy Sunday! As previously stated last week, today’s ethnic food feature is a popular dish eaten to celebrate the Lunar New Year (LNY). LNY or Chinese New Year (CNY) is celebration across 15 days. Yea!

This week, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to Singapore. I’ve been to the country twice. This year marks 10 years since my first trip to Singapore. Time truly flies. Feels like I was there yesterday. Singapore is a beautiful country- and clean. Smaller than O’ahu, believe it or not, but is more populated by an additional three million people. I can’t fathom the thought of Singapore having more people than O’ahu. O’ahu is pretty crowded with about one million of us residing here. The two times I traveled to Singapore, I hardly saw any people while I was out in public. Although, I traveled to the country before and during the Lunar New Year, respectively. So, maybe a lot of citizens took a holiday and traveled out-of-country.

I learned that during this huge holiday celebration, this is the one and only time families get together and celebrate. It’s a BIG deal! It’s the once-a-year party/reunion everyone looks forward to. I’ve been to one celebration in 2011 with a friend’s family. It was wonderful to be in another country, experiencing a holiday that is so important to them. Their Chinatown was beautifully decorated and multiple festivities were occurring. A much different feel from how LNY is celebrated in Hawai’i, even though we have a huge Asian population in our state.

One of the popular dishes that is eaten during the LNY celebration is yusheng (see featured image). It’s a must-have. All the restaurants offer this on their menu. Yusheng is a mixed salad that includes ingredients symbolizing good luck, that are neatly organized on the plate. Everyone participates and mixes the salad. It’s been said that the higher you toss the salad, the greater the good luck. I was fortunate to experience eating this delicious salad twice, in 2011 and 2015. It was truly memorable.

I found a website that lists all the ingredients needed to make this salad- and its meanings of why it represents good luck. Very fascinating. I love what individual foods represent for different cultures. In many ways, this is what brings people together. Moreover, this is how we learn about and from one another. Through culture, through food, through history, and through story-telling. It’s so wonderful.

Yusheng ingredients:

  1. Raw fish
    • Abundance and prosperity.
  2. Pomelo, which is a very big grapefruit
    • Good luck. Optional to add.
  3. Pepper and cinnamon powder
    • A wish for prosperity. Optional to add.
  4. Oil
    • Drizzled onto salad in a circular motion. This is to symbolize that money is coming in from all directions.
  5. Carrots
    • Good luck.
  6. Green radish
    • Eternal youth. Optional, but recommended to add if serving salad to elders.
  7. White radish
    • Brings good business opportunities.
  8. Crushed peanuts
    • Hopes that your household will be filled with valuable possessions.
  9. Sesame seeds
    • Hopes for your business to flourish in the coming year.
  10. Golden crackers
    • Great wealth.
  11. Plum Sauce
    • Poured all over the dish instead of just one spot for the desired stronger ties with loved ones.

Happy celebrating! Have a wonderful Year of the Ox!

FS x

References:

Giant Singapore (2021). Yusheng ingredients you need to use for luck & prosperity. Retrieved from: https://giant.sg/yusheng-ingredients-you-need-to-use-for-luck-prosperity/

Meditating on Escargot

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend! We’re midway through the first month of the year, and what a month it’s been so far! I hope you’re taking care of yourselves. Brighter days are coming. There is a glistening light at the end of what seems like a very long and dark tunnel.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to apprehend the practice of meditation. I have to admit, meditating is plain hard. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to really master this exercise and reap the benefits from it. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near understanding this. I’m still in the very beginning stages. Maybe even in the pre-beginning period. One day soon, I’ll get there…

I found this article on the web and I hope it’ll help with becoming proficient in meditation and mindfulness. https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/

I’ve enjoyed the following apps that have meditation features:

  • Calm
  • Insight Timer (there’s a lot of free features on this app)

Onto this week’s cuisine: French. I loved dining at these three restaurants that have now all closed: Café Miro, Le Bistro, and Le Guignol. So sad that these places closed, but happy to know there’s still some French places remaining on O’ahu that I’ll one day try.

My favorite dish I always order at a French place is escargot (featured imaged)- cooked land snails. Sounds gross (I’m not a fan of snails in general), but it’s so delicious, especially when cooked in garlic butter and pesto. Yum! Our family friend’s relative once gave us a bag of escargots. Not sure where he had gotten them from. Nonetheless, we were so thankful and excited! My dad cooked them with some garlic and butter, and oooh, lala, it was onolicious! Tasted like fine dining restaurant quality! It was a special treat for us. Once in a lifetime.

Wishing you a great week ahead. Be safe and stay healthy.

FS x

Bruschetta Memories

Happy Sunday! I have to admit, it was a very long first full week of 2021, despite being so busy. Felt like the weekend was so far from reach. Now it’s the weekend and surprisingly, it actually felt long. We need “longer” weekends. They always tend to zoom by. Before we know it, it’s Monday morning again. We need our days off to fully recharge and refresh our mind, body, and spirit for the new week ahead.

On Friday, my coworkers and I serendipitously received the first dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine. We weren’t planning to get inoculated until later this week. I’m glad we had an opportunity to get it a week earlier, especially on a Friday, so that we’d have the weekend to recuperate. It’s interesting how the medication effects everyone differently. I instantly felt my injected arm feel heavy and sore within five minutes after being immunized. The pain soon moved to the side of my neck. By bedtime, the injected area was throbbing. On Saturday, I still felt pain in my arm and neck, as well as a pounding headache, and flushed face. It’s unknown if I had a fever. When I was finally able to take my temperature, it was normal, though, I still felt flushed. Today, my arm is slightly sore. The headache pain is dull. Briefly felt flushed, but again, had a normal temperature. I’m now experiencing nausea, but it’s tolerable. Though, I’m considering taking a rest after submitting this post. I’m monitoring the symptoms, recording them as they come, and will report them to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

I’ve taken so many digital photos over the last 18 years. I received my first digi camera in 2003. As I was browsing through my photos, to choose an Italian dish to blog about, I was taken down memory lane. I love to reminisce about the past and the adventures I’ve encountered and experienced. When I view the pictures, I’m reliving that particular moment. It’s a pleasant feeling.

In 2013, a friend and I were invited to a card-making party and the host had made bruschettas (featured image). I loved how she made the tomatoes in the shape of roses. So dainty and cute. Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer dish that involves bread. There are many variations to creating this lovely dish. There’s no right or wrong way of making this appetizer. In the featured image, this bruschetta is made with mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil. Simple and delicious! …And that card-making party was so much fun! That evening, we made a bunch of cute greeting cards for various occasions: birthday, thank you, and every day cards.

As you might’ve guessed, this week’s ethnic post is about Italian cuisine. Usually, pasta is my go-to dish whenever I dine at an Italian restaurant. My eyes immediately find the pasta section of the menu, every time. But now that I incorporate dietary preferences to my nutrition intake, I don’t eat as much [white] pasta as before. Because of this, it’s sometimes difficult ordering pasta at a restaurant because they don’t always have whole-wheat and gluten-free pasta. Therefore, it’s easier to make my own pasta dishes at home. I have access to the kinds of pasta that would comply with my diet. In addition to eating whole-wheat pasta, I also found brown rice pasta and love it. I’m amazed to see all the different kinds of pasta on the shelves at the grocery stores: chickpeas, edamame, red lentil, and corn. I haven’t tried any of the non-grain pastas yet. They look very interesting. I’m curious to see how they’ll taste. One day, I’ll get around to making dishes with those pastas. I’ll let ya know.

Have a productive new week, All. Until next time.

Peace,

FS x

Twenty of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded + Sashimi

Happy NYE! It’s the final day of 2020. We made it! We survived this incredibly tumultuous year. We conquered!

I wish everyone a safe celebration tonight and a fresh start to 2021 tomorrow. We’re so privileged to have a new beginning every year. In fact, everyday, we’re able to start anew. We learn from our past and move forward to live a better life, and to do better.

Here is the final lesson 2020 has taught and reminded me.

20. It is ok to feel frustrated, sad, annoyed, and angry.

We’re human. We feel and go through all kinds of emotions. Allow those feelings to come and go. Recognize them and reflect on how you will overcome and change those reactions into more optimistic feelings overtime. That’s how we overcome and grow.

I allowed myself to feel all the emotions that came my way- pleasant, unpleasant, and the in-between. Recognition and reflection helped me get through the dark and grey moments. My support system and positive self-encouragement helped me rejoice during the brighter days.

It’s been a blessing reflecting upon the year and recognizing what 2020 has taught me. I’ve enjoyed sharing my life’s lessons here.

Sashimi (featured image)! One of the local and Japanese New Years staples. It’s bite-size pieces of raw fish, usually dipped in shoyu, or soy sauce, and wasabi. Every year, we have ahi (tuna) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Yum! Hamachi is my ultimate favorite fish. I love how oily the fish is. It’s so tasty. This year, I also bought chu toro ahi, which is the belly area of the fish. Yea! Get that in my belly!! Can’t wait to dive into the sashimi tonight.

I’m ready for 2021. Bring on the new challenges and changes. I’m ready. I’m stronger and more resilient than ever before. I see a lot of good change coming in the new year, not only for myself, but for this world.

Please be safe in celebrating tonight. Catch me here for more blog posts in the new year! Looking forward to it!

Cheers! Happy New Year!

FS x

Four of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Kaleidoscope Bagel

I had the idea of creating this inspirational list to remind myself that I’m human and that I encounter good days and not-so-good days. I have various feelings that come and go. And during this year where I had a lot of time to sit and reflect, creating this list helped me normalize my thoughts and feelings, as well as provided me with motivation and inspiration. I hope it does the same for you, too. The fourth thing that 2020 has taught and reminded me is:

4. Appreciation, even for the small things.

I’m very appreciative of you, my supporters. Thank you!

Throughout this year, appreciation became a high point in my life. Taking time each day to appreciate all the good in my life, even the simplest and littlest things, has become important. Since 2018, during the entire month of November, I partake in a #thankfulchallenge where I share one thing I’m thankful for from the 1st through the 30th on my social media platforms. It’s quite fun! I enjoy creating the posts and sharing them with everyone. There really is a lot to be thankful for. I try to think of 30 new things I’m grateful for every November. I’ve also realized that sometimes the negatives events that happens in our lives can be a blessing in disguise. They’ve made me come to appreciate them, too.

There’s a new cafe that opened this year, called Conversations. It’s a cute place that has some simple grinds and the most creative drinks. They also sell the cutest knick-knacks. One of their yummiest dishes is the kaleidoscope bagel (see featured image). It’s too pretty to eat. I love how creative the bagel looks, with colored cream cheese, sprinkles, edible flowers, and fruits. It’s really good. They also make kaleidoscope toast.

Conversations
1805 Liliha St.
Honolulu, 96817
808-551-6645

We’re almost halfway through the week, and the month. Ten more days until Christmas!

See you here tomorrow.

Night!

FS