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

Eighteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Strawberry/Banana Non-Dairy Ice Cream Pie

Let the New Year festivities begin! We’re nearing the end of the top 20 lessons the year has bestowed upon me. It’s been wonderful sharing this each day with you all.

18. The importance of gratitude, and both positive and negative reflection.

Gratitude is everything to me. There’s so much to be grateful for, even for the things we often overlook and take for granted, like: access to food, shelter, transportation, clean water, education, and work. It’s a daily reminder and practice that I exercise thankfulness and gratitude in all areas of my life. It’s what keeps me going.

I want to extend my thanks to all of you supporters who like and read my posts here and on my social media platforms. I am forever grateful and am so appreciative. I want to continue providing inspiration, fun facts, and sharing my love for food.

It’s been ingrained in my brain to focus on the positive. Yet, our minds tend to dwell on the negative. It’s seems easier to think adversely about something. I’ve heard it said that people can quickly name pessimistic qualities about themselves compared to confident remarks. Nonetheless, I think negative reflection is just as important as pondering on the positive.

This year, I welcomed both the positive and negative views that came to mind. I allowed time to process the negative thinking and ponder about how to move forward with the thoughts. We’re all given choices in life. It’s what we do with them and how we act upon them that matters in the end. I try my best not to let pessimistic thoughts consume me. The mind can be very powerful. Thus, I try to focus on optimistic thinking. Hope, encouragement, happiness, and cheerfulness always triumphs.

I love making non-dairy ice cream no-bake pies. They’re simple and quick, and oh-so-good! Earlier this year, I made a strawberry/banana non-dairy ice cream pie. It was really refreshing! Strawberries and bananas are my ultimate favorite fruits.

Ingredients:

  • Baked pie crust of your choice- I used graham.
  • Non-dairy ice cream of your choice- I used strawberry/banana flavor, made with bananas. Yum!
  • Heavy whipping cream (to make my own whipped cream) or cool whip
  • (Optional) Fresh fruits of your choice- I used strawberries and bananas to match the ice cream flavor.

Happy evening!

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

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

Fifteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Air Fry Chicken

Hope you all had a peaceful and splendid Christmas. Now, onto preparing for 2021. I’m spending this weekend doing deep cleaning for the new year. It’s a cultural tradition I like to upkeep. Cleaning out the old to welcome the new.

I’ve got five more facts of 2020 lessons. The 15th thing the year has taught and reminded me is:

15. Appreciation of essential items: toilet paper, paper towels, gloves, masks, soaps, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing sprays, and hand sanitizers.

This year we were in desperate need of these in-demand essential items aforementioned that we easily overlook and take for granted. I have such an appreciation for these treasured items. I won’t ever take them for granted again. Across our nation, it was difficult to find TP, paper towels, gloves, masks, soap, sanitizing wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizers for months at the beginning of the pandemic. People would wipe them off the shelves and hoard as much as they could. Stores had to soon implement limitations on how many each household could buy so that there would be enough for others. Now, TP, paper towels, masks, and hand sanitizers are easily accessible again. Yay! However, I still am having a hard time finding gloves, sanitizing wipes, and sprays. Those items are constantly sold-out or not available.

This year, we’ve been very conscientious about germs and bacteria. I’ve always been health-conscious and practice good-hygiene, but since the pandemic, it’s been heightened to a greater extent. I’m constantly washing my hands, cleaning high-touched surfaces, and now, I sanitize groceries and other items that I buy from the store, that are delivered to me, or bought online.

This summer, I hunted high and low for an air fryer (see featured image). Seemed like purchasing an air fryer was on a lot of people’s minds, as it was hard to find. They were sold out in most of the department stores. After a lot of inquiring and driving, I was finally able to get one. I had made fried chicken (see featured image). It wasn’t like the deep fried chicken I envisioned from KFC or Popeye’s. Let’s just say using an air fryer to fry chicken makes it more healthier. The chicken was good. It looked dry, but it taste dry. The texture and the taste reminded me BBQing chicken on the grill. I can’t wait to utilize make more dishes with my air fryer.

Until tomorrow.

FS x

Fourteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Dalgona Coffee

Merry Christmas! Wishing you all a safe, joyous, and peaceful holiday weekend. One week until 2021! Let the countdown for the new year begin.

Sharing the 14th fact the year has taught and reminded me:

14. Pending election results can cause a lot of stress and anxiety; hence, stress eating.

This year was an election year in the US. With all that’s happened in 2020, this election was also something to talk about- and stress about ,too. I’ve never been more in-tuned and involved during an election year than this year. It was another event that will go down in history. It was very nerve-wracking watching the presidential election results that felt like an eternity to finalize. I felt like I was constantly stress eating during that extremely long wait.

This year made me realize how important it is to do research on elective officials before casting my vote. I’ve lost trust in the government. It’s full of bureaucratic and undisclosed corruption. With a new president on the way for 2021, I hope they can restore trust back in the American people. I want to have faith and hope again that the government will truly make American wonderful and united again.

During Father’s Day weekend, I came across a popular Korean coffee drink called dalgona (see featured image) on The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. This drink became popular to make during the quarantine. It’s so simple to make. However, my version was super strong and rich! I think I may’ve used too much instant coffee.

The ingredients for dalgona Coffee, or whipped coffee:

  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Boiling water
  • Instant coffee

Mele Kalikimaka!

Be safe!

FS x

Thirteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Me + Fruit/Veggie Smoothie

Merry Christmas Eve!! Let’s start the holiday celebration! Please be safe. The thirteenth thing that 2020 has taught and reminded me is:

13. To continually advocate and fight for social justice and equality.

The song, “Fight Song,” by Rachel Platten, immediately comes to mind. This year revealed how divided the US is and how our nation is in desperate need of change towards unification. It breaks my heart that while we should be uniting as one, we are tearing each other apart. We’ve got some ways to go towards fighting for social justice and equality in this world. I believe it can be achieved one day soon if we all work together, with an open mind and heart. My hope and prayer is that with the new government inaugurated in the new year, our nation will be led to move in the right direction- towards more peace, harmony, laughter, and love. My wish is that we come together as one, supporting, encouraging, and loving one another. Treating one another as our equal; with fairness. Practicing non-judgment and non-discrimination. Prayers for our nation and rest of the world for deep healing.

This summer, I was on a roll with making various smoothies. The featured image has broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, and papaya. I added chia seeds, almond milk, and honey. It was the first time I added vegetables to my smoothies. It was very refreshing.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas Eve. Be safe; wear your mask and keep your distance.

FS x

Twelve of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Red Wine

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! It’s been a very hectic week. Looking forward to some downtime and a long weekend ahead.

The twelfth fact that the year has taught and reminded me is:

12. To be grateful for the advanced and instant technology we have to communicate with one another today.

Technology has come a long way over the last few decades. It has advanced greatly and quickly in the last 10 years. Thinking about the first generation iPhone that launched in 2008 seems like ages ago. That device is considered “old school” in 2020. We wouldn’t even have the patience to operate that phone today. Every year, the speed of our gadgets and the internet gets faster and faster. Instant speed can’t come fast enough. Much thanks to the tech geniuses who constantly perfect our technology devices.

During this challenging year, I’ve relied much more on technology to communicate with others. I am truly so thankful for the wonderful access to these God-sent devices, apps, programs, and services. Without them, life would be less entertaining and communication would be much slower. I still enjoy “snail mail” letters. However, we live in a techology fast-pace world, where it’s so hard to imagine life without these grand, advanced gadgets. They make life easier to navigate in a lot of situations.

I find it amazing that drinking red wine offers so many health benefits. On the flip side, I’ve learned that too much consumption of wine can cause cancer and cognitive impairment due to too much alcohol consumption. Everything in moderation…

I love a good Pinot Noir or Shiraz. I also love the Stella Rosa red wines- the original Rosso, Black, and Red. They have a sweetness and carbonation, which makes the wine so yummy.

Cheers! Will be back tomorrow on Christmas Eve.

Happy Wednesday!

FS x

Eleven of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Ground Turkey Gyros

Happy Tuesday! How’s everyone doing as we draw nearer to Christmas Day? I hope the hustle and bustle has come to an ease and y’all can relax and unwind the remainder of this week.

The eleventh thing the year has taught and reminded me is:

11. The privilege to work remotely from home.

I have been so blessed to work from home during our stay-at-home orders and throughout the pandemic, even prior to COVID. My company provides us with a laptop, WiFi hot spot, and mobile phone. We use a cloud-based electronic system and can basically work from anywhere. I’m so grateful for that. I’m also so very thankful that I’m considered an “essential worker” and am able to aid my seniors during this crazy year, even if I don’t meet with them in-person. They need services and the connection more than ever. Thank goodness for the telephone, fax, email, and postal mail. We all need to lean on one another. We’re in this together.

I love Greek food, especially tzatziki sauce. I made my own ground turkey gyros (pronounced “yee-row”) with tzatziki sauce earlier this year (see featured image). It was amazingly yummy. I love ground turkey. It was a very simple and quick dish. I seasoned the ground turkey with garlic salt and garlic pepper. The tzatziki sauce was made with Greek plain yogurt, dried dill, garlic flakes, and pepper. Yum! There ya have it!

Good night, All! Until tomorrow.

FS x