Even though it’s technically the first day of autumn, the weather still feels like summer in these parts! I’ve been on a smoothie kick, but not for breakfast: dessert!


Berry Breeze

1/2 Lime (squeeze for juice)
1 orange (peeled)
3 heaping scoops of Strawberry Honey Greek Yogurt
1 cup Frozen mixed berries (Cherries, blackberries, blueberries)
1/2 cup Applesauce


My “Strawberries Wild”

3 ripe bananas (frozen or 2 fresh works)
1 cup mixed berries (Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Cranberry Juice (Pineapple Juice is great too!)


Continue Reading

Love-Hate: Milk

Picture 5

I was about 5 when I started getting sick a lot– The doctor determined that it was an allergy to dairy, (not to be confused with a Lactose intolerance). My parents used to give me one glass of milk with dinner every night and a lot started to change since we found out that dairy was not so good for my sinuses. I went through getting my calcium through other foods- ingesting calcium tablets, vitamins, avoiding milk altogether, to being really excited a few years back when dairy substitutes, like Soy Milk started appearing on the market. I tried them all, different flavors, original, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate, low fat. I’d even ventured to try the dairy substitutes in other countries.

However, being Japanese I was aware of articles about soy being very bad for men and women, especially if it wasn’t taken in moderation. Soy was in my diet, not just from the “milk” but edamame, soy sauce, tofu, miso and other products. There are hormones in the soy beans, aka estrogen which could eventually cause cancer. That and 94% of soy produced in the US being GMO. So, that was out. Just when I had found a pretty good milk-like substance for my cereal and other baking needs. I had already tried many rice milk alternatives only to be turned off by the chalky texture, and overly sweetened versions I found in the local supermarket. My taste buds unfortunately could not be fooled by this.

Not only was I allergic to milk, but studies showed that milk was harmful to all humans, for a few reasons. But hey, let’s not forget that the market has now been inundated with dairy free products and I have tried most of them! Almond Cheese. Almond Yogurt. Soy Cheese. Soy Ice Cream. Coconut Ice Cream. Almond Dream Ice Cream. Although nothing comes close to replacing real cheese, a careful reading of the ingredients on these items can be very disappointing. Many of the DAIRY FREE cheeses still contained CASEIN. Casein is the major protein in milk. It is a common additive because it works as a food binder. Molecularly, Casein is very similar to gluten, and may trigger an allergy type response in the body, even in those who are not technically allergic to milk. These cows milk products also raise cholesterol in comparison to soy products which is obviously not healthy either, but its even more strange when the cows protein is still in the substitute product.

Welcome Almond milk! My latest find a few years ago, because my mom discovered that it tasted better than soy, and was actually better for you. Almond milk has less calories, less sugar, less fat, MORE Vitamin D, A, E, and Calcium. What is important is getting -organic- unsweetened Almond milk. Nuts are pretty heavily treated with pesticides which is why organic is the way to go. BUT WAIT: The almond milk trend does have one downfall. A carcinogen hiding in many dairy substitutes: a binding agent extracted from Pacific kelp. Kelp which is now radiated and in our food.

Last but not least: the Coconut Craze! Coconuts and coconut oil in general has been hot on the health scene this year with recipes for lotions to smoothies exploding on Pinterest. Thankfully I do enjoy coconut, but with many foods utilizing coconut oil, I find that I taste an overall noticeable coco-nutty flavor, rather than just say the item itself, ie: a coconut chocolate chip cookie vs. just the cookie. I don’t see much way around this, but I also believe moderation is key as it is with all items.

*Tip* Many dairy free milk brands use natural/artificial flavors and starches to simulate the taste and consistency of “traditional milk.” Be sure to shop for products with minimal ingredients. Something I always do is look for items with the short ingredients list, and [natural] ingredients that I recognize!

Picture 7

Continue Reading

Portland Biz

First up: Anzen (little Japanese market). Stepped in to grab a bite to hold me over yet they didn’t seem to have anything sushi or Japonaise like. Ended up with a turkey sandwich :-X Then across the street of course is the Portland Convention Center which we went to for the trade show! No pics allowed, but here are some anyways.




Few hours there then we were off to lunch at Yen Ha (Vietnamese cuisine). We attempted to go many Mondays ago and arrived to early, when they were still closed. This time we got what we came for: Fried taro cubes, Salt & Pepper Calamari, and #36 which he was surprised that I knew to order that because it is “the best thing on the menu”. A spicy beef noodle dish, consisting of blood cubes and bone and veggies. They were all new to me and I came away loving the taro/calamari preparations! Being from Hawaii the Taro was familiar, just never had it served like Poutine.

Hong’s Inc (Equip & Supplies), it felt more like a freezer and we had to run around to stay warm. Also, made a new friend (Gryce/Bryce/Rice?!?!) the family dog/Hong’s should-be mascot!


Vietnamese grocery store #1 for last minute random supplies. Then Hong Phat  (Newer Vietnamese grocery store #2) for a few snacks.


Avocado Bubble Tea, Sop Som slushy and Pandem waffle with coconut inside (again more first timers)!! Didn’t care for the avocado… but the rest were quite tasty.

Annnnnnnd finally, spent a couple hours at Nordstrom Rack. Typical experience there, no need to elaborate. Productive day to say the least, can’t wait to do it again!


Continue Reading


February always seems to end so abruptly … and THEN

it’s my b-day! 



Tried Ethiopian food and it was definitely an experience. The plate that the waiter brought out was huge… I felt like it took up 2/3 of the table.  Half of the plate was a vegetable sampler, and the other half beef, with one fish sample, and lettuce/queso in the middle. Nine heaps of steaming spicy (<—-no need for me to add anything) goodness. The fun part was eating with your hands (which I enjoy anyways)  and ripping the starch (a thicker airy crepe like substance) and scooping up chunks of beef in berbere sauce! It did not take long before I was feeling stuffed although we’d hardly made a dent in the food. Before boxing up the rest, he asked if we wanted to take it home (duh- enthusiastic YES) and told me to look up fir fir. The basic idea that I got was taking all of the contents of the leftovers mixing and reheating it (in a nonstick pan). Genius! After returning with the chocolate cake, our awesome waiter made a joke about getting the staff to sing to me. As soon as I was relieved that was not going to happen





HAH. And the restaurant joined in. Thanks Mister. Wonderful experience made worth it with great service. Next time I’ve got to try the Honey Wine.. they had sold out the previous night, and I had decided to try some on a whim, being denied just made me want it that much more!

The last pic is of the fir fir I made today, just as instructed. It tasted amazing and not at all like something from the previous night that had been refrigerated. I added my own veggies and crushed thai chili pepper for even more heat– was definitely satisfying.


Continue Reading

San Francisco (Day Dos)

IMG_4424 IMG_4478 IMG_4583 IMG_4589 IMG_4596 IMG_4628


3 different (all crazy) Asians on a mission.
Get through the mall without shopping.
Stay away from Nordstrom. [FAIL]
Eat/Document it all.
Workaholics comedy show in North Beach. (No Blake…[FAIL])
Going out. Eventually.

Merry Half-Xmas!

Continue Reading