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

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

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

Seventeen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Comfort Food Made With Love

Happy Monday and last week of 2020! We’re in the home stretch! Let’s make the best of our remaining days of the year. I want to end the year strong! Let’s show 2020 what we’re made of!

The 17th fact that the year has taught and reminded me was:

17. Every day is a blessing and gift.

Despite the year we’ve had, I did my best to see the light and optimism in the cards we’ve were dealt with. It was a tough and challenging year, but I was reminded that every day is a blessing and gift. It’s all about perspective and how you view things. I strongly believe that even with chaos amongst us, we can still see and experience positivity in and from it. I was constantly reminded of how much I have been blessed with. The fact that I get to wake up to start afresh every day is awesome. I have an opportunity to make better choices, be more loving to others, and make a difference. Life is a precious gift.

Last fall, I visited a dear friend in the Midwest. We made dinner together one night (see featured image). It was so special and yummy. My gf made her mom’s Swedish meatballs, which I never had before, and mashed potatoes. Double yum!! I had made Indian chicken curry. We also made rice and green beans. It was a delicious treat we, her family included, enjoyed very much. It was simply lovely.

Y’all know about my passion for cooking and food. Cooking with others brings joy and love in my life. We know that food connects people together. So does cooking. I always feel closer with whom I cook with. It creates a special bond I can’t quite explain. Overall, it’s lovely and cheery.

Wishing all of you a wonderful week. Until tomorrow. Peace!

FS x

Ten of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Poke

Happy Christmas week! Here is the tenth fact that this year has taught and reminded me.

10. Recognizing the importance of essential and frontline workers (i.e., grocery store workers, postal workers, sanitation engineers, MDs, nurses, social workers, paramedics, teachers, military, etc.).

Since the pandemic began, the spotlight has been heavily focused on the essential and frontline workers. I have the utmost respect for them, as they’re sacrificing their lives while they continue to service us in our communities. Much thank you to all of you– for all the hard work you put into this world to keep it and us going. You will always be appreciated. These people are our true superheroes. They are resilient and strong!

Last summer, my friends and I went camping and BBQ’d some ‘ono food (see featured image). It was so fun! We created such wonderful memories together. Can’t wait until the day we can do this again. We ate some of our local staples- ahi (tuna), tako (octopus), and crab poke. Poke means to “slice” or “cut” in Hawaiian. It was so good! The chicken we BBQ’d was excellent, too! Being outdoors, in the woods, across the ocean, eating yummy food with friends made the experience so merry and refreshing.

Take care and Happy Monday!

FS x

Six of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Sushi

Today, as I blog, I’m listening to a webinar on how people’s mental health have been affected during this pandemic. There’s a panel of MDs, including a couple psychiatrists, talking about how children’s mental health are affected due to the lack of social support. They also discuss how the pandemic affects parents and other adults, too. All in all, this has affected all of us universally. This leads to the sixth fact of what 2020 has taught and reminded me today.

6. Social connection is vital for our mind, body, and spirit.

We’re social beings. Socialization is part of our genetic make-up. Doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert. We all need connection in some way, shape, or form. This year, we’ve gotten inventive with connecting in safer ways. So thankful for all the ways we’re able to connect with one another.

I’ve gone through periods of feeling lonely during the course of this pandemic. The feeling of loneliness is not pleasant. Overtime, it can mess with your mental and emotional health. Spending time in your own thoughts day-in-and-day-out is not always the healthiest. I’ve learned over the course of this year how essential connecting with others is. I can’t live without it. My family, friends… They’re important. My support system has always been loving, supportive, and encouraging. That’s been a blessing and what’s keeping me sane and as grounded as possible.

Today’s 2020 lesson fact makes me reflect on the new Shawn Mendes’ song, Call My Friends. Hearing the words of this song made me think about my friends and how I cherish my relationships with them. Love y’all!

It’s been forever since I had sushi (featured image). A few weeks ago, I ordered a nigiri set from Kozo Sushi and it was oh-so-good! Nigiri sushi is basically when a raw piece of fish, or egg, is placed on top of the vingear rice. It’s my fave type of sushi to eat. I especially love ebi (shrimp), tako (squid), and hamachi (yellowtail) nigiri. I don’t eat white rice very often. But when I do, it’s like heaven! White rice definitely pairs well with sushi. Hands down! I’ve tried eating sushi made with brown rice, but it doesn’t taste the same.

Visit the Kozo Sushi at Koko Marina Shopping Center:

Kozo Sushi
7191 Kalanianaole Hwy.
Honolulu, 96825
808-396-8881

Yay to FriYAY tomorrow! We’re almost at the end of the week. Hang in there! The weekend is coming again!

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

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

Hello, I’m baaaack!

Howdy All! I’m back. I apologize for being MIA for so long. I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I also hope that everyone has been hanging in there and taking good care of themselves, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We’ve all endured a wild and challenging year. We’ve made it to the final month of 2020. The year is almost over. Everyone is eager for this year to end and for 2021 to begin. Let’s finish this last month with a bang!

During the week of Thanksgiving, I created my first ever talk-through video on how to make fresh cranberry-blueberry sauce with red wine sauce. It was quite exciting to make.

You can view the entire video on my Foodnista Soul’s Facebook and Instagram: http://www.facebook.com/foodnista.soul and http://www.instagram.com/foodnista.soul.

I’ll be back to post more soon.

Have a blessed holiday season. Remember to take it one day at a time. Breathe!

FS x

Vday at Merriman’s

I hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Mine was wonderful!!!! I’m excited to share the delicious food we had on this Day of Love and Hearts!!!

It was an exciting Vday. I got to try Merriman’s at Ward Village with my gal pal. This is sister restaurants of Monkeypod Kitchen and Moku Kitchen. They also have a Merriman’s on every major island: O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawaii Island. How cool is that?!

We were stoked to try the food. We went all-out! Take a look…

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This Maui onion soup was unbelievable! So good! I can’t even tell you. I’m normally not a fan on onion soup, but this was excellent!

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Tako country bread- escargot style. Oh man! This was so good! It felt like I was eating real escargot, but it was tako- aka octopus. The bread that came with this dish was to-die-for!

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I’m a sucker for trying kimchi wherever I go. This was super tasty!

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I had to try the Keahole lobster pot pie. Excellent! It felt like I was eating a chowder. Sprinkling that lemon juice make it much more tangy!

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This is the Waialua chocolate purse. Wow! Doesn’t that “purse” look like paper? It’s edible! There’s a rich, rich, rich chocolate cake inside. Wow!

We enjoyed ourselves and would definitely return to try more food. I’m excited!

Merriman’s opens for both lunch and dinner. Be sure to also check out their sister restaurants. I’ve been to both and the food is awesome!

Merriman’s
Ward Village
1108 Auahi St.
Honolulu, 96814
https://www.merrimanshawaii.com/