some home cookin’ VII

some home cookin’ VII

I haven’t made a post like this since January. That’s a really long time! My attention has been drawn elsewhere from travel to career to life in between. I recently made some yummy things and I’m happy to share these pieces of moments with you. It gives me happiness and calmness when I can make good food for fun and not for chore.

Recently, I’ve been getting into yellow squash a lot and kind of wish I knew about them a lot earlier. They are so easy to make and so delicious! Unfortunately, I don’t have photographs from any dishes with them. I usually photograph when I think to. I’ve also been baking more and you’ll notice that from below.

I hope you’re having a great day so far :) Hover over the photograph if you’d like to read some caption notes.

strawberry crumb pie thingy – had some strawberries in fridge and didn’t want to eat it alone – also, it’s really easy to make! Last time I made this, it was wayyy too sweet, this time it’s not sweet enough. I’ll figure it out someday :)
basil pesto – no one told me this was so easy to make!?! simple ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I used this sauce with some potato gnocchi (frozen) and it was so yummy.
beef goulash – ground beef, yellow peppers, diced cherry tomatoes, macaroni pasta – reallly tasty! easy execution, but time-wise can take a little longer than usual for me. I had to use up some macaroni pasta and wanted something different.
Loved the bursting color combination – prep pic for goulash
peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – taste is good, I lessened the sugar. Texture is not my favorite. Too dense, but luckily still chewy.

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.” Maya Angelou
.org spotlight: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine |reducing food waste|sustainability

.org spotlight: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine |reducing food waste|sustainability

I always wondered what happens with the excess food prepared in restaurants and sold in supermarkets. A long time ago, there was a bakery I liked in the city that reduced their pastry prices by half after dinnertime knowing that a lot of it would end up as waste by the end of the night (unfortunately, they stopped doing this a few years ago). I thought it was genius and awesome for everyone involved. I also know that some supermarkets will donate some portion of their unsold fresh food to local food shelters, but unfortunately, I think there is still a lot that still gets thrown out.

Recently, I came upon this non-profit organization that focuses on exactly this: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. According to their website, 40% of the food in the United States become waste and one in seven people do not have access to food. That is quite a statistic! But I think they are changing that. Since their inception in 2013, they’ve saved 1,280,377 pounds of food and served 1,066,981 meals.

I believe they are based in New York, but they have a presence in multiple locations (Florida, Georgia, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and more) around the U.S. Please check them out and especially if you’re a restaurant owner or would like to volunteer. I think it’s a great way to be a part of a solution to a huge problem we all are affected by (according to the EPA website linked below, 95% of the food waste end up in landfills). Hopefully they can expand into more states in the future.

Below are a couple links I found on how to lessen food waste at home:

10 Easy Ways to Cut Food Waste | Parents (YouTube video)

Reducing Food Wasted At Home | EPA website

Speaking of which, in order to salvage my soon to be expired Goldfish cheese snacks, I made them into crumbs for my breaded chicken sandwiches (which were yummy, by the way). I am also currently on a baking kick since I’d like to use up my chocolate chips before they expire in two weeks. My next batch will be chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from this recipe. I hope they’re tasty!


sweet memories

cherry memories

when i was a child, my mom loved feeding us kids fruit. she’d slice up oranges, taught us to eat pineapples, showed that some fruit had seeds, some needed skins peeled. she gave us cherries in the summer. it was so delicious. i am so grateful for it all. the sweetness, the taste itself. it’s summer again. and i’m enjoying the deliciousness mother earth provides us. each new day there are little pieces of things to be grateful for. pieces of fruit to remind us of our childhood, gratitude for seeds of nutrition, health and nature. the beauty of all our senses.

pineapple bun

pineapple bun

very delicious. one of my favorites at a Chinese bakery. Must try, for sure.

best described as crunchy sweet topping, soft dough with sweet custard filling.


sometimes dad would get my family some of these pastries after he got off work. i remember what a special treat it was. as the tables have turned, i sometimes get my family these pastries when i get off work. i am so appreciative of these little cute connections to warm memories i live for.

bánh mì & fried chicken & chinatown oahu, hawaii memories

bánh mì & fried chicken & chinatown oahu, hawaii memories

music: m83 – un nouveau soleil

currently feeling a bit uninspired, but i miss writing here so much. if you’re in this mood, i think listening to good music and seeing delicious food photographs can somehow fix this. i’m not positive, but it’s kinda working for me a little (hey, i’m here, right?) looking through my hawaii photographs, i remember this tasty bánh mì i had at this restaurant called the pig & the lady. i don’t know where the name came from, but it sticks with you, right? when we decided to eat here, we knew we had to cater to the hours it was open. after circling the streets of chinatown a couple of times….


the chinatown isn’t as large/complex as others i’ve been to. to be fair though, i didn’t explore it as much as i had wanted to, so maybe there were things i should’ve made a point to see.


a farmer’s market of sorts, i assume. open markets welcoming people on this semi-sunny day. it was humid.


we found a spot and walked on by. check out the cute little things at the waiting bar area. whimsical and cute.

some of the most delicious food i’ve ever eaten… no exaggeration.


Laotian fried chicken


obligatory shot – bánh mì and pho


just in case you wanted to see it in this angle. we dipped the sandwich in the soup and it was phenomenal. messy, but who cares?

some walking around the area and into markets. it reminded me of walking through the markets of taiwan a little. taiwan has much more and a lot more people, but the raw, honesty vibe of what selling and buying is was there.


for some reason, we noticed more than a couple of police cars around. i hope everything was okay.


can’t say how excited we were to see a cat. it was so cute. the first and only cat i saw in oahu hawaii.

mango fried rice

mango fried rice

The heat is certainly rising nowadays and my first thoughts are usually something foodish like smoothies or mangoes, pineapples, oranges, these kinds of things. I’ve never cooked with mango before and was intrigued because one of my favorite dishes I order at Thai restaurants is mango fried rice. There’s something so irresistible about the sweetness of the fruit and the saltiness from everything else. The one I made definitely doesn’t taste like the one I order, BUT, it was still good, I think. As I was cutting up the mango, green onions and tomato, I loved the colors that came of it.

And then I kept adding more ingredients, like scrambled eggs and frozen carrots, peas, chickpeas, onions. Put in some dashes of seasonings, and sauces like soy sauce and hoisin sauce.

This experience made me less afraid to cook with more mangos and try other recipes :) Let me know if you want me to write how I made this.

green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something regarding sustainability; although, it’s something I think about all the time. For a few updates, I would say I’ve improved on being eco-friendly with gift giving and recycling. It’s becoming more second nature for me to give gifts that are either experience (gift certificates, museum passes) or something that is handmade or fair trade. I have also cut down giving cards, as well. Since there are many more stores now that are jumping onto being more green, sustainable gifts are easier to get. With recycling, I make sure to check on the material if it’s recyclable before throwing packaging away. I’ve always had this in mind, but I think it’s become much easier for me now.

A few suggestions:

  • Check out your local grocery stores. They may be able to recycle your extra plastic bags.
  • Look into what your local recycling center will take. They may recycle more items than what you currently think.
  • Electronic stores may also have recycle stations for old cell phones, ink cartridges, computer parts and light bulbs.
  • Remember that donating to goodwill or thrift stores or to friends/family members are options if you have an item you want to dispose of. Please don’t put in the trash if you have other options. (I’ve received and given items (including food) to friends/family and they’re always appreciative as I am since it’s a win-win for everyone.)

I also recently researched a company I heard of for a while called Terracycle. I was always frustrated about how chip bags, pens and teeth cleaning products weren’t recyclable. Luckily, they do! They recycle all sorts of things, too, and partner with brand name companies to make sure the packaging goes back into use. I also like that for every item you recycle, they give some monetary donation to a charity of your choice. I’m not sure of specifics, but if you look into their website, it seems like a good way for organizations and schools to jump on (and obviously individuals, too.) So save those snack bags and inkless pens and get recycling!

Another thing to think about is to look into your pantry. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but really go through the cans & boxes of food you have and the fridge because before you know it, time will fly and the food you were planning on using may need to be thrown out. To save the food (and carbon emissions from landfills), buy what you can realistically use before it expires. This is an area in which I have improved greatly, but would like to be better at as well.

A few suggestions:

  • Donate the food if you know you can’t get to it. Give to friends/family or shelter or other community organization that accepts.
  • If you need to use up a particular item, I like to search online for easy recipes. You’d be surprised of the cool dishes or snacks you’re able to make.
  • Meal plan (I loosely do this and I’m more better at for some weeks than others, but it does reduce food waste).
  • Check the expiration dates before you buy the food item and make sure it’s something you really can use within that time.
  • Buying bulk may save money, but be realistic with portions and cravings. Is it something you will be happy to eat again and again for future months?
some home cookin’ VI

some home cookin’ VI

Been cooking a lot more lately. Can you tell this is because of the colder season? (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish) I usually cook udon noodles in a soup, but it’s really good in a stir-fry, too. Also, I was afraid of cooking eggplant.. there’s something about it. The eggplant parm came out good though. Maybe I’ll try some other eggplant dish someday.

black bean, corn, tri-color penne pasta with turkey meatballs, shredded cheese and tomato sauce
stir-fried udon noodles with broccoli, fish balls, bok choy, fried tofu pieces, in a sauce with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce, sesame oil
Spicy tri-color penne pasta with marinated sauteed shrimp with green onions and parmesan cheese (looks rather plain but it was super delicious)
eggplant parm, my first time cooking this dish. it’s tasty! There were more eggplant hiding under the sauce.
some home cookin’ V

some home cookin’ V

Yay! Another home cookin’ post. Feel free to check out post one, two, three, and four of this home cooking posting series. As always, I hope you are all well and smiling :) (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish)

rice vermicelli noodles, fried tofu, fish balls, bok choy


Fried rice with shrimp and bok choy – scrambled eggs, peas, chopped green onions, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, some hoisin sauce, some soy sauce, some sriracha, boy choy and shrimp
Ricotta pie. My first ever pie. I hope to make many more. This one wasn’t my favorite, but my love liked it. He said it has a subtle sweet taste. This is made with chocolate chips.
lemon & orange bars

lemon & orange bars

This is a sneak peak to the next some home cookin’ post. I checked my archives and I haven’t posted one since August (the post’s here in case you’re interested). Whoa.. too long! I’ll feature this in the next one. I’m slowly getting back to it and it’s fun. I made these lemon bars for a birthday gathering and I like them… so much so, I tried it with freshly squeezed orange juice as opposed to lemon juice. Not as defined in terms of taste & reallllly sweet, but I still love that shortbread cookie crust. It’s simple to make and inspires me to try out other desserts. I went a little overboard with powdered sugar, but it’s fitting with snow this winter! I’m giving some to my family as a little treat!

*not sure why the photograph doesn’t stay when you click on it. sorry for inconvenience!

peaceful cooking

peaceful cooking

stir-fried bok choy with pan-fried firm tofu in spicy sauce with green onions, served with brown rice.

I made this the other day and while cooking, I became aware of how peaceful the whole process was. This isn’t a new thing. I truly enjoy cooking and baking (although, honestly, not all the time. Especially if I’m in a weird cooking slump.) A time before I lived in my apartment, I wasn’t too excited about cooking. Yes, I cooked and baked, but I didn’t see the joy in it. The value wasn’t there for me. It was either to get it over with to go on to do homework or go out or it was just to feed my hangry attitude (“hangry” = hungry and angry, irritable) after work.


I’m sure chefs know this feeling. It’s this zen-like time in which I focus on what I’m doing and nothing else. I don’t care what time it is. I don’t care about the other thoughts that usually whirl in my mind. Perhaps this is mindfulness or some form of meditation (blogger friend Lu said it’s like “flow” or “the zone”–yes, a name!). It’s the same feeling I get when I finish an art piece, but it’s much calmer. It’s fulfilling in a different way. It all comes in full circle, I suppose, because during this whole process of cooking, everything else seems in place. The tofu finished cooking as I was done chopping up the bok choy or the green onions fit just right… everything feels in harmony. This is most likely why I get antsy when I don’t feel inspired to cook or to cook something new because I just love this feeling. I love cooking. It’s the cleaning afterwards I have problems with :)

fried lasagna squares with meaty tomato sauce

fried lasagna squares with meaty tomato sauce


Yes, finally, a post about food (more for me than anyone else really). I have been so uninspired lately in making anything new, so I’ve been waiting for something to spark my interest again. Needless to say, I’m happy to have made this (you can tell with all the stars in the photograph.)

I was scrolling through a blog called Youth Food – Meals Under Pressure Cooker from blogger friend Chris and saw an image of this food item  called “lasagna fritta.” I have never had one nor heard of it before, but I was intrigued. Long story short, my love and I decided it would be the next cooking adventure for us. Since I have never tasted or seen a lasagna fritta in real life, I didn’t feel comfortable calling what we made that name, so hopefully lasagna squares works, too.img_6448

Feel free to check out some snapshots of this adventure. The ones in which I cut the cooked squares in half don’t look so great, but the food was really delicious! The meaty sauce really matched well with the flavorful squares. We made 8, so we had plenty for leftovers.


There was a good amount of croutons we had to use up soon, so we used that as our breadcrumb mixture. For our sauce, we cooked up some frozen turkey meatballs with a can of tomato sauce. To give it some flavor, my love put in a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil and honey (not sure on measurements, we just decided along the way/winged it).

It was a long process, but we think it was worth it. We may pick a less busy day to do it next time though!

Maybe I’m a on a roll, but I’m hoping to use up the ricotta cheese I have left and make a pie next. We shall see, I suppose :)

food photography highlights

food photography highlights

Food = nourishment, home, family, love, creativity, spontaneity… I’m missing my food posts around here (been uninspired to cook new dishes as of late). Let’s solve that, shall we? Here are some highlights of some food photography I’ve taken. I snuck some in of ones I didn’t post here, but had in my archive. Enjoy.