Nineteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Chicken and Waffles

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! The week has flown by so quickly! It’s been super busy. I’m looking forward to relaxing during the next holiday weekend, and welcoming in 2021.

We’re onto the 19th fact that 2020 has taught and reminded me. Let’s get to it!

19. Listen to your gut and body.

This has been a constant mantra for me. Trust my gut. It knows best. Most times, when I listen to my gut, I tend to be right about certain situations. I feel like it’s a way God’s connecting with me; speaking to me, guiding me, protecting me…

I live with my body and my body lives with me. I need to listen and take care of her too. If I’m in pain or am exhausted, I listen. My body is trying to tell me something. I’ve had history of overworking my body countless times and that results in negative consequences, like sickness, pain, weakness, and exhaustion. We’ve only got one body. It’s important to give him or her TLC, tender-loving-care.

I was first introduced to chicken and waffles (see featured image) when I was in college in Southern California. My resident assistants took my dormmates and I to Roscoe’s in LA at the end of my first semester. I dined there again years later with friends. That place is bomb! I wanted to make my own chicken and waffles at home. I love the strawberry Eggo waffles. It’s my number one favorite. I had baked chicken thighs. Seasoned it with garlic pepper. It was very basic and simple. I served the dish with some good ol’ green beans, tossed with olive oil and garlic pepper. Yum!

Last post for 2020 tomorrow. See you here.

FS x

Sixteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Brick Oven Pizza

It’s sweet 16.

16. Recognizing that everyone deals with crises differently.

We’ve gone through an ordeal of crises in 2020. I came to understand that everyone has dealt with the tribulations differently this year, including myself. While I was feeling motivated and optimistic, others around me were feeling stressed and depressed. As a compassionate person and licensed social worker, it’s in my nature to empathize and imagine myself in other people’s shoes to understand how the certain situations and multiple factors affect their emotions. Things like: familial discord, financial struggles, loss of vocation, lack of socialization and personal interaction, loneliness, and uncertainty of the future… This year’s circumstances immensely attested to our emotional and mental health. But we will rise from this. We always do. We are resilient. We come out better and stronger.

Overtime, I’ve experienced going through the spectrum of emotions this year. I started off feeling positive and driven, but those emotions slowly turned into frustration and despair. I had to practice a lot of self-talk, self-motivation, and self-love to get myself through the year.

I was searching the internet and came across a colorful wheel of emotions. This pretty much explains the entire year, and then some…

Last Christmas, my colleagues and I went to our boss’s house to make pizzas in her man-made brick oven (see featured image). It was a beautiful oven. The pizzas we made were delicious. I made a pesto base with spinach, vegan cheese, onions, and garlic. It was scrumptious. Yum!

Wishing you all the best last week of 2020. Let’s go out with a BANG!

FS x

Seven of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Holly Cookies

Happy Aloha FriYAY! It’s one week before Christmas! Spending this weekend baking and finishing up my Christmas shopping and wrappings. It’s crunch time! There’s so much to do! I’m pumped! I’m determined! Let’s do this!

The seventh thing that the year has taught and reminded me is:

7. To be loving, understanding, patient, and kinder to ourselves.

We need to take good care of ourselves. After all, we’re living with ourselves for life. We do everything with me, myself, and I. It’s important to love ourselves. If we can cherish our family, friends, and acquaintances, why can’t we reciprocate treating ourselves that same way?

I had experienced many moments of frustration with myself and with the world this year. All that has occurred in the world had affected me in both positive and negative ways. I recall the first couple months of quarantining went well. I was pumped and motivated. I had created a to-do list of tasks to accomplish while we were abiding by our state-at-home order.

That “honeymoon” period came and went. By the third month of the pandemic, this “new” lifestyle became tiring and mentally exhausting. There were moments of anguish, anger, and irritation. I had wanted to return to my regular life. Then I asked myself, “what was ‘normal’ now?”

It’s been a constant reminder to be more loving, understanding, patient, and kinder to myself. Give myself more grace. Forgive myself for mistakes. Not being so hard on myself, especially when goals and tasks haven’t been met. To create a happier me, I’ve reminded myself countless times to set smaller and reasonable goals and to do what I can. And if there are days where I don’t feel like doing things, that’s ok. It’s ok to veg and be lazy. Literally, when I tell people I’m taking it day by day and one step at a time, I truly mean that. This is the new way of maneuvering through life. We had to undergo a lot of changes this year. It’s been an adjustment.

I love holly cookies (see featured image)! They’re so yummy and cute. And, they’re super easy to make. No baking required. Yay! Perfect to make during the holidays, or anytime, really.

Guide to making these wonderful cookies: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/9498/holly-christmas-cookies/

Ingredients needed:

  • Marshmallows
  • Green food coloring
  • Corn flakes
  • Red candies
  • Powered sugar
  • Butter (softened)
  • Vanilla extract

It’s the weekend, All! Have a great and safe one.

FS x

Three of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Cookies

Happy Monday! It’s day three and I’ll be sharing the third thing that this year has taught and reminded me. Plus, we’ll be talking about some yummy holiday cookies.

3. To keep on persevering, even through the challenging times.

The word, perseverance, has been the central theme of my life these days. It’s not always easy to be tenacious, especially during tough times. We often feel like giving up; throwing in the towel, and just say “forget it.” I know I’ve felt that way many times. But at the end of the day, I keep reminding myself to persist and endure, no matter how hard the fight is. I’m a fighter and I don’t give up! I’m a conqueror!

The new Taylor Swift album, folklore, has been powerful. Her lyrics have a deeper meaning than ever before. One song in particular, “this is me trying,” immediately resonated with me as soon as I heard it. I thought about many people across the globe who are trying their best every single day. I think as long as we’re trying and doing the best we can in life, that shows courage, fortitude, and stamina as an individual.

Ok, let’s talk cookies. Over the last few holidays, I’ve been trying to perfect a butter cookie recipe that my late grand auntie used to make when I was growing up. She didn’t write the recipe down; only the ingredient list that was actually created by my grandfather. It took multiple tries to get the cookies down-packed. I felt like I was doing a science experiment project. Eventually, I was able to make the cookies my own, which was my ultimate goal. Baking is not like cooking. It’s very important that baking recipes are followed to the T. Too much of this or too little of that, will turn your baking dish upside down.

Until tomorrow… Keep persevering.

FS x

Two of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Cornbread

Happy Sunday! We are 12 days away from Christmas Day. The days are flying by! Though, we are celebrating the holidays differently this year, I’ve never been more busier than this holiday season. I’m doing more baking and slowly expanding Foodnista Soul…, just to name a few…

I spent a lot of time this year thinking and reflecting upon myself, my family and friends, my life, my goals, my actions, thoughts, and emotions during our stay-at-home orders. There were many things- good, bad, and ugly, that were revealed to me during these periods of isolation. I think a lot of us can relate and say that we had a lot of time on our hands to sit, reflect, and even dwell in and on our own thoughts way more frequently than usual.

For the next 20 days, I am thrilled to share 20 things the year has taught and reminded me. My hopes in sharing these revelations would be to instill optimism, inspiration, realization, and knowing you’re not alone if you’ve felt like this, too. Plus, let’s talk about one dish each day. Food, for me, has always brought happiness, comfort, and togetherness. Cooking and baking, especially for me, brings joy and happiness. I also love trying new foods in my community, though, it’s been a little challenging to do that this year with a lot of restaurants closing, not fully operating at 100%, and the anxiety of being out in public places amidst the pandemic. 2020 lesson number two is…

2. To believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand why.

I’m sure we’re all wondering why this year turned out the way it did- with all the distressing events that happened and are still happening amongst us. I envisioned 2020 to be a start to a brand new decade, full of clarity, vision, and new beginnings and opportunities. But that wasn’t necessarily the case for many of us. There’s a reason behind why 2020 was the year it was. It doesn’t make sense to the human mind. It’s confusing, frustrating, anxiety-provoking. Nevertheless, I know that there’s a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. The light is coming. Soon.

Life is mysterious and complex. Life is challenging sometimes, and “not always fair.” When good and not-so-good things happen in our lives, we don’t always understand the meanings behind them. At least for me, I sometimes find that to be the case. Over the span of several years, I began to look at life, including mine, differently. I began to instill the notion that everything happens in life for a reason- wonderful things, not-so-great things, and terrible things… We may not always understand why, especially when things turn south. Sometimes we’re meant to learn something from the event. Sometimes it’s meant to show us something that may or may not have an influence in our lives in the future. Whatever those reasons may be, I find it important to keep the faith, no matter what, and to keep moving forward. It wouldn’t do good, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, to always dwell in the negatives. Something great always arises from disappointments. Another door is opening; another opportunity is coming. A better one.

During the week of Thanksgiving, I was craving cornbread. I wanted to try making cornbread with creamed corn. Well, the recipe I followed, didn’t produce a yummy dish. The cornbread was very dry. It was not very appetizing. I still wanted to satisfy my craving of eating some good cornbread, so I tried again over the Thanksgiving weekend. I found a different recipe and omitted cream corn from the ingredient list. I also added almond flour to the dish. It was the first time I’ve ever used almond flour. I’ve been eyeing it for quite some time. It is a healthier alternative to white flour. Well, this second attempt at baking cornbread was a success (featured image)! It was a lot more moist, and it tasted great with the almond flour. Therefore, I was inspired to now use almond flour in future baking recipes. One of my goals when in the kitchen is about utilizing healthier ingredients in my cooking.

Have a wonderful new week. Until next time.

FS x

Quinoa is amazing!

I’m excited to say that I made a dish with quinoa in it, and it was so yummy! Quinoa has been my new addiction- like literally! I’ve always enjoyed quinoa, and now, I enjoy incorporating it into my dishes.

I made a quinoa enchilada casserole dish. It was easy and quick to make. See below for the details.

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Ingredients: (I altered the original recipe)

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 trays of ground turkey breast
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar of green chile cooking sauce
  • 2 cans of southwest corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Taco cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook ground turkey breast meat thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili pepper
  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  4. Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses and chips. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted, about 15 minutes.

Inspired by: quinoa enchilada casserole recipe

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Whoo hoo! Adios for now!

Hard core balsamic vinegar!

Boy, oh boy! Balsamic vinegar is where it’s at! It’s potent, but oh-so-good, and healthy for ya. Did you know it’s made from grapes?! I had no idea! Where was I? Haha! Makes me think of wine.

I was inspired by our Easter luncheon to make a dish with balsamic vinegar. I also learned how healthy it is for you. Time to use this ingredient much more often.

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I made a honey-balsamic chicken dish, courtesy of AllRecipes.

It was a very simple dish. I, of course, added onions and garlic to my dish. My must-haves!

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I baked the chicken for an hour and 10 minutes at 375 degrees. It was really good! Best to marinate the night before- not required, though.

I also made a spinach, quinoa, and strawberry salad with homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Oh, to-die-for!

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Ingredients for the dressing. I measured 1/3 c oil and vinegar and 2 tsp. sugar. The garlic powder and pepper are bonuses! Hehe!

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Beautiful salad; beautiful colors. You can cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove. I cooked it in the rice cooker- one cup of quinoa and measured two cups of water, as instructed, but the quinoa came out a bit mushy. Next time, I’ll put 1.5 cups of water instead. Can’t always trust the instructions. That’s why I always cook by taste, rather than following a recipe to-the-tee. I use recipes as a guide.

Happy Friday and upcoming weekend! Relax and unwind…

 

Yee haw! We going country!

The other weekend, I made a country hamburger dish. It was fairly simple; only required several ingredients.

Here is the recipe: https://www.copymethat.com/r/ItaR9ec/country-hamburger-skillet-dinner/

I used hash browns instead of what the recipe called for, which was Yukon potatoes. It turned out pretty good!

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Of course I had to add onions and garlic to the dish! Those are must-have ingredients.

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Let’s get cooking!

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I first placed the hash browns onto a 9×13″ pan. You can pan-fry them first to get them golden brown. Then, layered the cooked hamburger before baking at 350°.

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After baking it for about an hour, I sprinkled cheese and put it back in the oven for five minutes, so it could melt. Garished some chives for some extra taste!

Bon appétit! Have a great weekend.

It’s a chick pasta dish!

Happy Hump Day! I’m so glad to be cooking weekly again. It’s been a while, as life got busy. Happy and excited to be sharing my homemade dishes with y’all again! Thank you all for your support, Readers!!

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I used these roasted garlic chicken sausages to make a hearty pasta bolognese dish.

This dish was very simple to make. I mainly base everything on taste. I don’t really follow recipes, to the tee. I may use them as a guide to make my dish, but I don’t always rely on them.

I boiled large sea shell pasta. The ingredients used for this bolognese dish were: roasted garlic chicken sausage, broccoli, onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. I always season my dishes with Himalayan pink salt and pepper. Got to have that pepper!

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Bam! It was very light! Sauce blended well with the pasta and ingredients.

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Next, onto the chicken dish. I made an Italian-Parmesan chicken bake.

Seasoned the chicken with Italian seasoning, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, Italian dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Yum! Another simple dish!

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Yea! So, so good!

I placed the raw chicken (I used boneless thighs) in a baking pan, drizzled olive oil, and sprinkled the pepper and Italian seasoning on both sides. I then added onions and garlic, and poured the Italian dressing on top. Baked at 350º for about 60 minutes. Before serving, I sprinkled the Parmesan cheese.

There you have it! Easy, huh?

Happy cooking!

 

Orzo bake!!!!

A couple weekends ago, I made a random dish with orzo pasta. I’ve never had orzo before and was curious to make this Greek Chicken Orzo Casserole dish by Betty Crocker. However, I, of course, changed the recipe, a tad bit. Ok, maybe by a lot! It turned out really delicious! I couldn’t stop eating it!!!!

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BAM! Another success!

I altered the recipe:

  • 1 package (16 oz) uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach
  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled- I used two 8 oz feta cheese containers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup Progresso™ reduced sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)- I used Swanson’s reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut in 1-inch pieces (about 11 tenders) I used ground chicken and turkey
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning I used authentic balsamic vinegar from ITALY!!! That was some thick vinegar!
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel- I zested the lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions

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I need to find this the next time I am in Italy!

Happy new week!

FS