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    At the end of May 2022, Reid and I decided to take one last trip together to Oregon before baby arrives. WHY OREGON? Since we are both from Hawaii, we wanted a change of scenery, weather, and I didn't want to travel too far at this time because I was already in my third trimester of pregnancy. Also, I went to the University of Portland for college many years ago and was excited to share some of my experiences and favorite places with Reid. SUGGESTIONS FOR PREGNANT TRAVELERS WHEN FLYING: Wear comfortable clothes on the airplane. If you can purchase EXTRA COMFORT seats... or even FIRST CLASS for your flight, do it! (Reid purchased extra comfort seats for us both ways, and I am very thankful that he did! The extra space was much needed for my pregnant body...) Bring an extra small pillow for your back and blanket. I used an extra blanket to place under my feet. Most airlines don't provide any extra blankets or pillows anymore... or you have to purchase them. Wear compression socks throughout the whole flight and try to prop up your feet throughout the flight (as best as you can). Here are the ones I wore and really LOVED! Physix Gear Compression Socks: Get up every hour on the airplane and stretch your legs. Stay hydrated throughout the flight. MATERNITY CLOTHES THAT I BROUGHT WITH ME: Liu and Qu Womens Maternity Tops Signature by Love Strauss and Co Jeans Physix Gear Compression Socks WHERE WE STAYED: Reid and I stayed at the Embassy Suites by the Portland Airport. We enjoyed the free breakfast and free parking! We arrived at the hotel on a Friday night and was able to take the free shuttle to the hotel that evening. Reid decided to rent a car from the next day (which saved us money!) and on that morning, we took the free shuttle back to the airport to pick up our car. We also saved money at the end of our trip as well by returning our car the night before we were flying home! We enjoyed our experience at this hotel and would recommend it to those spending time in Portland! SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PLACES THAT WE VISITED: Portland Japanese Garden: The Portland Japanese Garden is conveniently located in the hills of Portland right above the International Rose Test Garden. Admission for adults is $18.95 so if you do go, make sure you are able to take your time to enjoy the sights and scenery. The overall landscape is quite beautiful and there are so many picturesque photo opportunities. Honestly, I wished I dressed a little nicer on this day for that reason... Also, the Umami Cafe available for patrons which serves green tea and Japanese sweets. We did not make reservations ahead of time and when we went to ask for a table, we were told that there was a two hour wait. Next time I would make sure to reserve a table in advance, which can be done online. At 32/33 weeks pregnant, I had to take extra precautions while walking around the garden. The paths are paved but there was also some points where the walkway was uneven, uphill, or at a decline, so make sure to wear shoes. It also rained a little so I made sure to walk slow to avoid slipping or falling. Overall, this is a beautiful garden that brought me back to past trips to Japan... a place a can't wait to return to. 2. PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET: The Portland Saturday Market brings back so many fond memories of my days in college with friends and family... rummaging through so many unique, eclectic, and colorful booths. This was my first time back in over 10 years and it was nice to return. The overall market felt smaller than before, which I am assuming are due to effects of the pandemic and the riots that took place over the last two years. However, it was still nice to see so many small businesses and creative artists sharing and selling their work. Reid thoroughly enjoyed the beer stand that was available from (Migration Brewing: and I enjoyed a very nostalgic elephant ear (similar to a churro or malasada) which was delicious. We also purchased a beautiful photo of the waterfront area covered in cherry blossom trees that will remind us of our baby moon trip to Portland! Here's more information about the Portland Saturday Market if you are in the area! 3. LATOURELL FALLS/GETTING TO MULTNOMAH FALLS Reid and I really enjoyed the drive to Multnomah Falls which is about a 40 minute drive east of Portland. This is a beautiful and scenic drive into the mountains and during the summer months, the luscious Douglas fir trees and oak trees are the main landscape view. On our way to Multnomah Falls, we stopped at The Vista House. The Vista House was built in 1918 as a rest stop for travelers traveling down the Columbia River Valley. This stop has a quaint coffee stand and clean bathrooms (which is important... especially when pregnant!). We also got to read about the history of the Vista House and learn a little bit more about the valley. After stopping there, we made a stop at Latourell Falls which is a small waterfall on the way to Multnomah Falls. After a short 5 minute walk uphill, a beautiful and picturesque waterfall appears. This is a great photo spot as well! After getting back on the road, we drove another 15 minutes or so... very excited to see Multnomah Falls. We started to see signs about needing a permit to continue forward. At some point, we reached a park ranger who mentioned that in order for us to have kept going on the road that we were driving on, we needed to have applied for a permit to see Multnomah Falls. The permit itself is $2 but on the day that we went, they were booked until 4 PM! They only allow 70 cars in per hour because traffic in the area has been too high. Disappointed, we turned around and unfortunately did not get to see Multnomah Falls on this trip. We will definitely make it a point to return. 4. TILLAMOOK CREAMERY About an hour and a half west of Portland is Tillamook Creamery. I would definitely recommend coming here if planning on taking a drive to the Oregon Coast. Tillamook Creamery is an educational and enjoyable spot to learn about how the company creates their cheese and they have a full food menu and ice cream bar available! Reid and I generally like to purchase Tillamook cheeses and ice cream so visiting the creamery gave both of us a better appreciation for the amount of time and resources that go into creating the cheese we eat! After taking a self-guided tour of a step by step process on how they make their cheese and eating a free sample of cheddar cheese, Reid and I snacked on some orange and vanilla ice cream and fried cheese curds. It was a lot of dairy all at once, which for those who are lactose, it can be a lot. (Make sure to bring your lactaid!). But it was DELICIOUS! 5. DRIVING THE OREGON COAST/CANNON BEACH A famous beach that many tourists and natives flock to every year is Cannon Beach, located about 80 miles northwest of Portland. It's a beautiful beach with a stunning coastline and a front seat view of the famous Haystack Rock (featured in many films, which include The Goonies, Twilight, Point Break, and Free Willy). We didn't spend much time in this town, but we enjoyed the scenic elements and the ocean breeze. 6. BROADWAY IN PORTLAND/PERFORMANCES AT KELLER AUDITORIUM For all the theater and artsy buffs out there, I encourage you to watch a show at Keller Auditorium. It's a double balcony 3000 seat theater with a beautiful lobby and full service cafe. I remember as a college student seeing many shows in that space and loving the overall venue and ambiance that it provided. If we have time when traveling, I always like to to see what shows or performances are in town. On our last night in Portland, we decided to see the musical, Pretty Woman. I bought these tickets about a month in advance to make sure we would be able to get seats. Since I wasn't very familiar with this show, I bought some of the cheapest tickets located in the second balcony. The show itself was okay (this is not a theatrical review) so to keep it brief, it was very similar to the movie with less than enjoyable music. On the bright side, the performers were amazing and we got to see Adam Pascal (original Roger in Rent) perform live. However, it's hard for the show to shine when the music is less than average. I did enjoy having the opportunity to visit the theater again and to see live theater. (At the time that I am writing this blog post, masks were required for all patrons.) 7. PORTLAND AERIAL TRAM Reid and I really enjoyed going on the Portland Aerial Tram for the first time which offers a beautiful view of the city. This short 5 minute tram ride is mainly for the Oregan Heath and Science University students and staff to travel between campuses. However, this tram is also open to the public for a small fee of $5.65 per person (a reasonable price for a nice view!). Some of our FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Spielman Bagels: 2314 NW LOVEJOY ST. PORTLAND,OR 97210 2. Life of Pie (PIZZA): 1765 NW 23rd Avenue Portland, OR 97210 3. Ken's Artisan Bakery (Napolean Pizza): 304 SE 28th Avenue, Portland OR 4. Hawthorne Asylum (Food Trucks): 1080 SE Madison St, Portland, OR 97214 SHOPPING! Every time I go to Oregon, I always try and hit Woodburn Outlets which is about 35-40 minutes outside of Portland. It is hands down my FAVORITE outlet mall because it has good stores and really good deals. Not to mention, Oregon does not charge sales tax which makes everything just a little bit cheaper. On this last trip to Woodburn, Reid and I found really good deals at the NIKE outlet, Disney Store, Carters, Ann Taylor, and The Loft to name a few. They have so many good stores that the deals are just hard to find anywhere else. If you want to watch our babymoon adventure part one, click here! Overall, Reid and I had a really nice trip! This was a great to culminate our time with just the two of us. Now moving forward, life will surely be different. I am ready to start new adventures, traveling with our little one, and creating new memories! For day to day updates, please follow me on instagram ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Local Hawaiian Banana Bread, My Grandma's Recipe

    Since I was little, I have fond memories of my mom and dad making banana bread during every holiday season. My parents would tag team the process with my dad mashing the bananas and flouring all the pans and my mom mixing all the ingredients together. They would bake batches and batches of this delicious recipe and give to friends and family members as part of their holiday gifts. This special banana bread was a treat that I would wait for all year. This recipe has a deep amount of sweetness, moistness, and flavor brought out by the banana and the unique ingredient of crushed pineapple. It wasn't until later that I realized that this recipe was actually given to my mom by my grandmother, who also used to make this recipe for her family and friends. Please enjoy this recipe passed down from my grandmother. Also, you can follow along with this video: Grandma's Big Island Banana Bread Recipe Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Banana Bread/Muffin Ingredients 3 eggs 2 C. sugar (I only use 1 1/2 C.) 1 C. Oil 2 C. bananas (5-6 mashed bananas) 3 C. sifted flour 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp baking soda 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple Beat eggs until foamy. Add wet ingredients: Oil, sugar, bananas, crushed pineapple, vanilla, and stir. Then add all the dry ingredients: Flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda Butter and flour bread or muffin pans: Pour into bread loaf pans or muffin pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (if put into bread pans) and/or 20-25 min if you are making muffins. Cool for 10 min before removing from the pan. And enjoy! For day to day updates, please follow me on instagram ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • 35 WEEKS PREGNANT, My Pregnancy Journey... So Far

    Currently as I am writing this, I am in the final weeks of my pregnancy. Aches and pains in my back, shortness of breath when I move or walk, and swollen feet (if I stand too long on hard surfaces) are some of the few side effects that I currently am feeling. I find it strange not being able to comfortably bend down to put on or tie my shoe and the warm feeling of my belly on my thighs when I sit is new and quite interesting to say the least. Nevertheless despite how uncomfortable pregnancy can be on my physical body, I am growing another human inside. Knowing that pregnancy is such a short time in a women's life, it is something that I want to cherish and remember. At 18 weeks, my baby girl started kicking inside of me. The movements were very subtle and random little motions that felt almost like gas bubbles. I wasn't sure at first if these were kicks, but as the weeks went by, these little kicks got stronger and more frequent. Every time I felt a kick, it reassured me that my baby girl was active and growing. By now, her kicks and movement are frequent and quite strong which can be almost uncomfortable. I feel her stretching and shifting in my belly. At times, I'll see a random bulge right by my navel. I'll gently use my hand to soften it down and then she'll adjust positions. Feeling her move (even though it can be uncomfortable) is my favorite part of pregnancy. I love the deep connection and bond that I can have with my baby when she kicks. I'm able to let her know that I'm there by rubbing my belly and having her hear my voice. Recently, I find myself constantly having my hand on my belly to make sure she's comfortable and safe. FIRST TRIMESTER: I realize that throughout my pregnancy journey, I've felt very different emotions at every stage. During the first trimester, I felt so much fear and anxiety because I knew how delicate the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be. My husband and I got pregnant through IVF ( you can watch our whole story here: My IVF Journey ) so we just wanted to make sure that we were on track to having a healthy baby. Right before this IVF transfer, we experienced two failed IVF cycles which included a miscarriage so feeling fearful was real. Since I got pregnant through IVF, the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy was quite quiet and lonely. My doctor recommended that I don't do any exercise, lifting, twisting, or any major movement that would put my body under stress. I basically went to work, came home, and rested throughout this time. I also was taking hormone shots (you can see the bruises on my belly) and needed to get two intralipid infusions to assist in helping to make our little embryo stick and grow in my uterus. Besides fear, the only other emotion that I remember feeling at this time was fatigue. Reid basically needed to do all the cooking and household responsibilities because I either couldn't do much physically or was too tired to do anything. SECOND TRIMESTER: By the second trimester, my energy level was starting to rise and I was feeling more like myself again. The only difference was that now, I had a growing belly. We started telling friends and family our good news and I finally started to believe that we were going to have a baby. One of my favorite memories during this time was going to the Fetal Diagnostic Center to see our baby growing inside of me. Hearing her heartbeat and watching her on the screen move and wiggle brought such a relief to both Reid and I every time. Seeing this 3D image almost brought tears to my eyes because I knew that my body was growing a human inside. I very much enjoyed the second trimester, as most other women do. Overall, my appetite grew immensely and I started to really crave fresh tropical fruits... and randomly request a delicious hamburger from time to time. The weirdest thing that I started doing during this time which I'm still doing to this day, is buying a whole pineapple (weekly) and eating the whole thing throughout my week. (Reid does not like pineapple) Up until this point, I've probably eaten about 15-20 pineapples throughout my pregnancy! During this time, I slowly added short walks as exercise to my routine again which helped brighten my overall mood. As the weeks went by, I was able to take longer walks and even throw in some yoga stretches! Sleeping during the second trimester wasn't too challenging. I was debating on purchasing a pregnancy pillow but decided against it after much thought because I didn't know what I would do with it after pregnancy was done. Instead, I began using a body pillow which we already owned. I would prop it between my legs while sleeping and that seemed to give me enough comfort to get a full nights rest. This photo to my right was taken at 20 weeks. At this point, I started buying maternity clothes since my belly was starting to grow. Some of the most basic and comfortable shirts that I found were from Amazon (maternity shirts) and I still use them to this day. One of the challenges that I had to work through was watching my body change right before my eyes. After seeing myself for the last 36 years somewhat have the same build and for the last 20 years be around a similar weight, I felt as if I was starting to lose my self-confidence seeing the drastic physical changes that I was going through. I was worried that I was gaining too much weight at my stage of pregnancy and would often ask Reid if I looked okay. He was always gracious and encouraging but having these changes occur so quickly made me feel so uneasy about myself. "Am I supposed to get this big? Are my hips supposed to get wider? Why do I feel like my thighs have gotten bigger?" These are all questions that I constantly asked myself throughout the second trimester. Of course I expected these physical changes and obviously should have felt grateful for these changes because meant that my baby was growing but it was still hard to wrap my head around it all. On many occasions, I also felt guilty feeling this way because I knew that we worked so hard at getting pregnant and that there are still so many other women out there trying every day to get pregnant. However, everything changed when I felt those first few kicks from my baby. I finally decided to embrace my belly and show my body love and grace for what it was able to do. Her kicks helped to reassure me that everything was going to be okay and that whatever my body had to go through during that time was worth it for her growth and development. Personally, I feel like this was my first lesson into motherhood: Accept the changes that will have to occur for the health and wellbeing for my future children. Since then, my body has only gotten bigger and I am just grateful and amazed by this beautiful process so far. THIRD TRIMESTER: So far, the third trimester has been the most physically taxing on my body. According to the doctors and all my pregnancy apps, she is fully developed now and spending the rest of the time in my uterus gaining weight and putting on fat. Supposedly, she is expected to gain about 1/2 a pound per week till she is full term. I am slowly noticing that my tummy's shape is changing a little by becoming more oval and less round. A random stranger also told me the other day that it looks like my belly is "low" which supposedly means that she is getting ready to make her appearance in the world. I am hoping that she makes it to full term and we deliver mid July. This trimester has brought on a new range of emotions for me knowing that I will be a mother soon. I have so much anticipation as to what motherhood will look like for me and how she will respond to myself and Reid and her parents. I've been watching so many videos on YouTube about giving birth, raising new borns, and becoming new parents that I don't know if it's making me more or less confident and filled with more or less questions. At this stage, I feel like we are so close yet so far from parenthood. Also, we have been slowly starting to put together her nursery. The physical process of us spending time in there and adding the basic elements like her crib and dresser also helps me to process that we will soon be entering parenthood. I've washed her newborn and 0-3 months clothes so far and have organized her little toys and books that friends and family have given. Check out some of the items that we will be using for our baby girl here: Essentials for baby We also started to put together my hospital bag which is exciting because I know that at this stage, giving birth can happen quite soon. Here are some of the postpartum and nursing items that I will be taking with me to the hospital: Hospital Bag Items All in all, this journey of pregnancy has been one that I am truly grateful for. I've learned so much about myself and am excited to welcome our baby girl in a couple weeks. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading this blog post. I will continue to provide updates and stories about our journey through parenthood as time progresses. Here's to a new chapter! For day to day updates, please follow me on instagram ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Unique and Savory Okinawan Soba

    Okinawan soba is one of the most unique and tasty noodle soups that I've ever tried. Today, Reid and I make a savory homemade pork broth, shoyu pork, and shoyu egg to pair with the chewy and thick soba noodles. While we started to boil the pork bones for the broth, a familiar smell came to me that reminded me of my grandmother. Even though Okinawan soba isn't one of the dishes that she frequently made, the unique smell of boiled pork bones is something that I will never forget. Okinawan Soba dates back to the mid 1500's when the Chinese dignitaries presented it at the 49-day memorial service for the king of Ryukyu Islands, Sho Shin. However, since this is a common but unproven story, there is evidence that that flour was introduced to Okinawa by chefs from present-day Fujian Province, China, while accompanying a Chinese ambassador in 1534. In 1974, after Okinawa was reverted back to the Japanese Administration after being under the US control, the Japanese Fairtrade Commission officially recognized Okinawa soba as distinct from soba on mainland Japan.( Okinawan soba noodles are made out of 100% wheat flour unlike Japanese soba noodles which are made out of buckwheat. Click here to make Okinawan Soba with our family! Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Start by making the pork broth! Boil pork belly and pork bones for 1 hour. Drain and wash off brown scum. Reboil the pork belly until soft and take out. Reboil the pork bones for 4-6 more hours. The longer, the better. After you take the pork belly out, cut into thick slices. After boiling the bones for 4-6 hours, strain the liquid. Add in bonito flakes and bring to a boil. Strain the liquid and add in ginger, salt, shoyu, mirin, and sake. Adjust the broth to your liking. Shoyu Pork On low heat, add in shoyu, sugar, mirin, and sake. Add in pieces of pork belly and cook on medium. Flip and cook on both sides. In a bowl, add 1 part shoyu and 1 part mirin. Soak boiled eggs in the sauce for 2-4 hours. Boil Okinawan soba noodles and prepare toppings (fishcake and green onion) And serve! Please enjoy this recipe! Okinawan Soba Recipe: (Serves 4) 2 pkg Okinawan Soba (Sun Noodle Brand) 1 block Kamaboko (Fish cake) 1 stalk green onion Pork Broth 2 lb pork bones 1 lb pork belly 4-5 pieces of ginger (1/2 inch) 3/4 C. Bonito flakes ( 2 tsp salt 2 tsp shoyu ( 2 T. mirin ( 1 tsp sake Shoyu Pork 1/4 C. shoyu ( 2 T. sugar 2 T. mirin ( 2 T. sake Shoyu Egg 1 part mirin 1 part shoyu Okinawan Soba Toppings: Green onion Kamaboko Shoyu Pork Shoyu Egg Pickled Ginger ( ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Date Night in Hawaii, Dinner and a Show

    The Waikiki nightlife is full of live music, bustling hotels, creative street performers, and crowded with people. Most weekends, Reid and I try to avoid the area overall. However, once in awhile we enjoy "playing tourist" and go on a date to Waikiki! One of our favorite "go-to" restaurants in Waikiki is Chibo Teppanyaki and Okonomiyaki. Chibo's is a quaint and intimate hibachi-style restaurant located on Beachwalk Ave. They have a small outdoor seating area, full bar, happy hour menu, and an array of delicious Japanese appetizers and foods that will satisfy any palate. We enjoy the crispy gyoza, kimchee pork, seared ahi, sausage, mixed green salad, and my absolute favorite is the okonomiyaki. If you love okonomiyaki, you will enjoy this restaurant and want to go back for more. Each time we return, I order a mochi-cheese and pork okonomiyaki. It is the best! I would highly recommend Chibo's to anyone that enjoys Japanese Teppanyaki-Style/Okonomiyaki flavors. You won't regret it! 280 Beach Walk Avenue, Suite L-106 Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 After dinner, Reid and I went to The Blue Note for the very first time to watch the artist Kawehi, perform. The Blue Note is a jazz club and restaurant located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on Kalakaua Avenue. This was the first time that we've heard live music since the pandemic started so we were both very excited. We both felt very safe as each party was social distanced from each other and there was plexiglass put up between each of the areas. Once we got seated, we were able to take off our masks, order drinks and dessert (there is a $10 per person minimum), and wait for the show to begin. The overall ambiance at the Blue Note gives off a modern nightclub feel with a classy calmness. Kawehi did an awesome performance with her eclectic style using her keyboard, loop pedal, beatboxing, and vocals. Her music is so creative as she sang both original songs and covers. For Reid, this performance hit closer to home because he's known Kawehi since college so it was extra special for him! Overall, we had a wonderful "Date Night" in Waikiki eating and listening to music. We can't wait to go back to The Blue Note in a couple months (we have tickets to another show!). Hopefully this gave you some ideas of things to do in Waikiki for "Date Night" or with your friends or family! Have fun and stay safe. 2335 Kalakaua Avenue Honolulu, HI 96815

  • Wise Words From Grandpa

    Lifestyle Blog At almost every family get together, our family has this tradition of standing around in a circle, thanking everyone for coming (usually get-togethers are at my parents house so they are the ones to do that) and depending on the occasion, having different relatives share their gratitude or thoughts. I do believe that this "tradition" started with my grandparents and how they grew up. Both grandma and grandpa on my mom's side grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii in a small plantation village called Papaaloa. Grandma owned her own business as a barber and grandpa worked at the sugar mill for many years until retirement. They raised four kids, attended Buddhist temple services regularly and kept their family and its values at the heart of it all. My mom used to share stories with me of the board games they would play at night, the camping trips that they would go on, and the rivers they would swim in (yikes). And through her upbringing, she learned how important her family was. At every gathering grandpa would always say, "Be kind to one another and stay together." Those words are so simple, yet bare so much truth. Of course no family is perfect and every family has their challenges, but their example has kept our family close and supportive of one another. All around us we see broken examples of families and people, and I believe that if we just live by simple words as these, life could be better for everyone. Is it possible to live in a world where people get along, treat each other nicer, and families stay together? I believe it is. So the next time we have a big gathering with our family and we stand in a circle, I will think of grandpa and his famous words... "Be kind to one another and stay together." Love you Grandpa. Cari

  • Summer Eats: Plan a Shabu Shabu, Hot Pot Dinner Date Night At Home Experience

    Shabu Shabu is a perfect dish to prepare for date night or a night in with family because people come together, sit around a pot of boiling water and cook a plate of thinly sliced meats and cut veggies. These foods are slowly dipped into the pot and eaten with ponzu or other soy based sauces. The experience as a whole brings a sense of "togetherness" since each person is eating from the same pot. It was first introduced in Osaka Japan during the 20th century. The term Shabu Shabu is an onomonopia which literally means the sound “swish swish”. Since the meat is so thinly sliced it would only be in the water for a short time and would sound like swish swish. My husband Reid and I bought our first hot pot (one of the best kitchen purchases we made) at the beginning of our relationship (about 5 years ago) and have enjoyed eating this dish together as a dating couple and now a married couple. For us, part of the fun was and still is going to the Japanese markets to pick out different foods that we wanted to cook for dinner that night. We loved adding meats, seafood (sometimes we would splurge and add crab!) and personally for me, I love eating a lot of vegetables. Many times we also loved adding mochi because it adds another level of texture to this dish. To this day, there's always a feeling of excitement for both of us when we decide to have "shabu shabu" night with each other or with our family. For Fathers Day 2021, we had a large family shabu shabu gathering. A bunch of my family members also own shabu shabu pots so we brought them all together to create this experience. Hopefully this video along with this blog will give you ideas on how to add shabu shabu into your life (if you don't do this already!). Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Here are some ideas and tips to plan your own shabu shabu/hot pot experience at home! Prepare your pot/Purchase a hot pot - There are so many ways to do this. If you have a portable butane gas stove at home, you can always just use that and place a pot of water on top of that. Here is the hot pot that we own: We like this one because you just have to plug it in. (It's still very good and we've had it for about 5 years... probably using it at least once every couple months) Since we generally want to place the pot in the middle of the table, we also have an extension cord that we use with this pot. 2. Get your ingredients: Here are some of the ingredients that I would suggest- Chinese cabbage, bok choy, green onions, enoki mushrooms, carrots, arabiki sausage noodles, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, tofu. Here is what I bought for Reid and I: green onion, bok choy, choy sum, carrots, enoki mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, pork belly, sirloin beef, tofu, arabiki sausage, and yakisoba noodles (already cooked). Having the noodles precooked makes it much easier when making shabu shabu. If you are able to go to an Asian/Japanese market, make sure to buy your meats as thin as possible. At Don Quijote here in Hawaii, they sell meats ready to make for shabu shabu which makes this very convenient. If you cannot find thinly sliced meats, you can always cut your own. 3. Prepare the area and the plates: Having a nice presentation for the food is part of the experience. Personally, I really enjoy displaying all the foods on plates before we start. Don't forget to cook rice! We don't own any big platter type of trays so I place everything on plates. But if you do own bigger platters/trays, this would be a great time to use them! 4. After everything is prepared, get your sauce! Reid and I suggest that you use our favorite ponzu sauce: We didn't have this sauce that night, but we also enjoy this goma (sesame sauce) too! 5. Add water and 1 piece Dashi Konbu to the Pot- Dashi konbu is generally for soup bases. Here is one similar to the one we bought: 6. Two bowls each! Make sure to have one bowl for your rice and one bowl for your sauce and cooked meats and veggies! (And yes, we mainly eat brown rice... but Japanese white rice is always the best tasting!) Brown rice that we buy: 7. Dig in and enjoy! Start by adding cabbage, green onions, and some of the basic veggies to help add more flavor to the boiling water. The meats should be added in slowly as you will be eating them. As you take out the cooked food from the hot pot, dip into the ponzu sauce and eat with a side of rice. *Leftover tip: If you prepared too much food and have leftovers at the end of the meal, I would suggest cooking all the meat at least and keeping it in a container. When you are ready to eat again, just bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove, cook the leftover veggies that are still raw (or the cooked ones) and add in the meat to warm it up. I hope this gave you a fun idea for your next date night or gathering! Thank you so much for reading this. Till the next one, Cari ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Menchi Katsu Burger Bought & Homemade Recipe

    My husband Reid and I were craving burgers the other day... but we didn't want just any burger, we wanted to try a Menchi burger. A Menchi burger is a ground beef (sometimes pork) patty that is coated in flour, egg, and panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and fried in oil. Before we made it, Reid and I decided to try a Menchi burger from Coco Bloom Kitchen. This quaint take-out eatery is located in Kaimuki on Oahu. They have delicious salads, sandwiches, burgers, and desserts. Coco Bloom Kitchen prides themselves on using organic ingredients free of pesticides, additives, and preservatives. We ordered a Bloom Chopped Salad ($13), a Menchi Katsu Burger ($12.00), Pork Katsu Sando ($10.50), and a Strawberry Sando ($8.00). Everything that we tried was delicious and we would definitely recommend this eatery to anyone in the area! After we tried their delicious burger, we decided to make it at home! We had a lot of fun making this recipe, and honestly it came out great! We hope you try this at home if you want to enjoy an Asian inspired burger! Check out our experience in real time! Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Cabbage topping for the hamburger: Add 1 T. dijon mustard to a pan with oil. Keep on low heat. Add red cabbage to the pan and simmer on low. After the cabbage softens a little, add 1/3 C. of apple cider vinegar. Add salt to taste. After the cabbage simmers for about 5 minutes, set aside and cool. Now let's make the Menchi Katsu burger: Mix together in a bowl 2 lb. of hamburger, 1 lb. of pork, 4 T. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/3 C. panko, 1 egg, salt and pepper. Mix together. Form into patties. Coat in flour, egg and panko. And fry. Oil should be around 345 degrees. Fry for approximately 8 minutes. When they are done frying, let the patties cool. Now let's put the burger together! On a brioche bun, add a Menchi Katsu burger, red cabbage, and katsu sauce. Here is the one that we enjoy: And enjoy! Menchi Katsu Recipe: 2 lb hamburger 1 lb pork 4 T. Worcestershire 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1/3 C. panko 1 egg salt and pepper to taste Cabbage topping: 1/2 head of red cabbage 1/3 C. apple cider vinegar 1 T. dijon mustard salt to taste As always, thank you so much for all your support! Till the next one, Cari

  • The Ultimate Local Tofu Salad, Perfect For Summer!

    The other day I was craving a cool, healthy, and delicious tofu salad. After looking through different recipes, and picking out the best ingredients, I came up with the best recipe! This dish is great for a simple lunch at home, to bring for a potluck with family and friends, or as a healthy side dish for dinner! Please enjoy and let me know what you think! If you want to see how we made it at home, please click here! Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Prepare all the veggies and tofu. Cut tofu, tomato, and cucumber in cubes. Blanche bean sprouts and watercress for 5-10 sec in boiling water. Cut onion into thin slices. Chop romaine lettuce and green onions. Prepare the sauce: Mince garlic and grate ginger. Mix shoyu, salad oil, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk together. Put the salad together. Start with the romaine lettuce, add the watercress, then the bean sprouts, cucumber, salmon, onion, tofu, tomato, and green onion. Then enjoy your delicious salad! Tofu Salad Recipe: 1 block tofu 1 tomato 1 cucumber 1 pkg bean sprouts 1 sweet onion 1 can salmon green onions (garnish) 1 bunch of watercress 1 head romaine lettuce Sauce 2 cloves garlic 1/2 C. shoyu ( 1/2 C. salad oil (we used olive oil) 2 T. sesame oil Ginger (to taste) 1 T. sugar ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Summer Noodle Recipes: Soba and Somen Salad

    Cold noodle dishes are one of the most satisfying ways to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner during the summer. It's refreshing, sweet, and great for both individual or family sized meals! Read along as I share two of my favorite cold noodle dishes. One dish uses Japanese soba noodles (buckwheat) and the other dish uses somen noodles. Something unique and special about the somen dish is that I was able to find grandma's somen sauce recipe in a pile of her old recipes and papers...and since grandma used to make this, I know it will be delicious! If you want to watch the full process, click here: Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Generally we like to by the Hakubaku brand of soba because it has zero sodium. Boil soba noodles. Soba noodles boil fast so check to see if they are soft after 3-5 minutes. Mix together: shoyu, miso, lime juice, mirin, sugar. (optional ginger- or you can use as a topping) Customize to your liking.... if you feel like it's too sweet, add a little more shoyu, if you feel like it's too salty, add more sugar. Strain noodles, run under cold water and add to bowl. If the noodles are still hot, make sure to let them cool before adding toppings and sauce. Blanche carrots for 1 minute. (if you enjoy eating them soft) Gather ingredients that will be mixed into the noodles: Soba sauce, fresh spinach (you can also blanche these if you prefer to eat them cooked), edamame, and carrots. Mix together slowly and gently. And serve! Miso Soba Salad Recipe: 1 pkg of soba ( 2 carrots, cut into thin strips 1 pkg edamae 6 tablespoons soy sauce Juice from one lime 4 tablespoons white or light miso 2 tablespoon mirin 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste 1 pkg spinach (to taste) 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (you can add this on at the end if you prefer) Grandma's Somen Salad recipe: We use the same brand of soba as somen mainly because this brand has very low or no sodium. Boil somen noodles Mix together: water, dashi packet, shoyu, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Prepare and cut the toppings into strips. Cut tofu into cubes. Beat eggs and fry in a pan. Eggs should be thin. Cut egg into strips: Once all the toppings are ready, add to the noodles in layers: Pour sauce over noodles and enjoy! Somen Sauce Recipe: 1 pkg somen noodles ( 2 c. water 1 pkg dashi-This isn't the one we used, but this is an alternative. This one also does not have msg ( 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. shoyu Somen toppings include: Egg kamaboko green onion tofu cucumber nori flakes-similar to what we used ( ***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

  • Things to Know Before Visiting Hawaii's Sea Life Park

    A couple weeks ago the family and I decided to visit Hawaii's Sea Life Park. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember visiting Sea Life Park during elementary school field trips with my classes, walking around in single file lines, seeing all the sea animals and watching the shows. There might have been a handful of times that we went as a family, but I don't have a strong recollection of those memories. Taking a trip to the park in July of 2021 was almost like a new experience because as adults now, I can appreciate and have a deeper understanding for the information presented to me and what I am able to learn. Also, for many of my younger nieces and nephew, this was their first time visiting Sea Life Park so it was great to experience to see it through their eyes as well. I did some research before heading out to Sea Life Park and I was pleased to find out the different ways Sea Life Park is participating in conservation efforts for some of the animals on the property. Sea Life Park is home to the only active breeding colony of green sea turtles within the United States. So far, they’ve released over 16,000 baby sea turtles and because of conservation efforts like these, the Hawaiian Green Sea turtles are one of the few species of sea turtles in the world to see their numbers rise. I also learned that every Hawaiian green sea turtle that’s been released throughout the state of Hawaii in various programs and resorts come from sea life park. Going to the park made me appreciate seeing these turtles in person knowing that they are helping the overall Hawaiian Sea Turtle population. If you want to see our full family adventure and our overall thoughts and reactions to the park as a whole, please click here! Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Short Tripod: Iphone Telepod: Here is some general information to know before visiting Sea Life Park: Sea Life Park is located on the east side of Oahu in Waimanalo along the coastline. Currently, Sea Life park is open from Friday Through Tuesday. General Day Pass Ticket prices range from $25-40 dollars, but if you buy them online they are 10% off. If you are military or Kamaaina, they offer a 40% discount. They also offer annual passes, and tickets to their dinner and show luau experience. 5 TIPS BEFORE VISITING 1. Buy Your Tickets Online: Buying your tickets online helps the process of entering the park go quite smoothly. Our family all bought tickets ahead of time and when we got there, they checked our name off a list, gave us wrist bands, and we walked right in. Not to mention that buying tickets online saves you 10% if you are NOT Kamaaina. We bought the regular day passes (Kamaaina rate) 2. Get There When The Park Opens: Currently the park opens at 10 am and closes at 3 pm. Remember that parking is $5 and they take both cash and credit card. The Sea Lion show and the Dolphin show both happen twice a day however if you are there when the park opens, you are able to space out your show times a little more and save your seats! All shows have open general seating. We got there late and had to watch both the Dolphin and Sea Lion show back to back. By the time we got to the Sea Lion show, all the good seats were filled and we were stuck sitting on the bottom/front which has limited viewing of the overall show. 3. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time: Depending on your budget, think about how you want to plan on eating that day. If you have time in the morning before the park opens, I would suggest you pack a breakfast or purchase breakfast in Hawaii Kai (on the way to Sea Life Park) and have morning picnic. It's such a scenic view that it would be a great way to start the morning. My husband and I picked up breakfast at located at the Koko Marina Shopping Center and had a nice scenic picnic at Sandy Beach. We were all able to bring in our own bottled waters into Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park doesn't allow you to bring in your own food so if you do not want to spend money on food, pack a lunch cooler and leave in your car. You can leave to eat your lunch and return back to the park when you are done. If you are planning on eating in the park, the food options are pretty well rounded. Since we are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, not every food station at the park is open yet. But overall, they had a good variety and the quality was good. 4. Figure Out What You Want to Learn Before Going: After spending some time on the website before going, I learned that Sea Life Park has a lot of hands on experiences that you can add on to your trip there. You can participate in dolphin, reef, and sea lion excursions (for an added cost of course) and attend a luau dinner experiences. We didn't participate in any of these options, but understand that there is a lot more that Sea Life Park offers, than just walking around for a day. Personally, just learning about the different conservation efforts that Sea Life Park is a part of with the sea turtles, the Hawaiian monk seal, and the bird wildlife made me appreciate the overall experience even more. I felt more prepared to learn and have a better understanding of the whole experience. 5. Have Fun and Don't Compare This Experience to Something Like SeaWorld... Because It's Not. Sea Life Park is on the smaller side and generally you would be able to finish experiencing the whole park (if you are ONLY doing the day pass) within a couple hours. It's a great place to experience the animals with your family and/or friends and just learn a little bit more about the world around you. Our family really enjoyed the dolphin show and would probably go back again for that alone. Overall, the kids and adults had a great time, the food was good, and we all needed a good nap after. For more information on Sea Life Park, visit: 41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7 Waimanalo, HI 96795 USA 808-259-2500

  • Summer Eats-How to Plan And Execute The Best Yakiniku (Korean Barbeque) Family Experience

    Summertime is perfect for outdoor dining and family picnics! A creative way to share food and fun with the family is to plan "Yakiniku Night." As a family living in Hawaii, my husband and I planned two of these dinners with our family of 9 adults, 3 kids and a baby. Everyone (including the kids) loved the experience! What is Yakiniku? Yakiniku means "grilled meat" and originated as a Japanese style of cooking during the Meiji period of Japan. However, it became known as a Korean style of cooking during the Korean War and to this day, people eat both Japanese and Korean style of yakiniku. Today, people know yakiniku to be a shared experience of grilling small pieces of meat and vegetables right at the table and eating these foods with dipping sauces, rice, and other side picked vegetables. There are many popular yakiniku restaurants here in Hawaii, on the mainland, and all throughout Japan and Korea. The smokey experience provides a fun and loose atmosphere for socialization, good food, and lots of beer and wine. Both Japanese and Korean yakiniku are delicious but personally even though I am Japanese (haha) I enjoy Korean yakiniku a little bit more. With Korean yakiniku, I enjoy the flavors, and the "banchan" (Korean side dishes- for example kimchee, seaweed, etc) a little bit more. Here's a video that I made last year when we did yakiniku night for the first time. Enjoy! This video also included us making seaweed soup and pork kimchee which could give you other ideas to include for Yakiniku night. Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links) Camera: Mic: Iphone Mount: Iphone Telepod: Short Tripod: How to Create Korean Yakiniku Night: (These pictures and directions are from the second time we planned Yakiniku night so it is different that the YouTube video). Visit Your Local Asian Market/Korean Grocery Store- When my husband and I have Yakiniku night, we visit Palama Market in Honolulu. They have 3 main supermarket locations (Honolulu, Kalihi, and Aiea) and 3 express locations (Aloha Tower, King Street, and Nimitz). Our personal favorite is the one located in Honolulu because it is the biggest and has the most selection. 2. What Food To Buy: The great thing about creating Yakiniku night is that it all depends on what you prefer to eat. If you prefer mainly grilled teriyaki flavored meat, buy that. Or if you prefer mainly vegetables, buy that. We enjoy a variety of things and at Palama Market, they have most foods that you would want for Yakiniku readily available. Start with the banchan (Side dishes) There is such a huge variety of dishes to get... my personal favorite are the cooked choy sum, sesame spinach, pickled seaweed, fishcake, sliced radish, and of course, the kimchee. This brand of kimchee is one of my husband's favorites! It's fresh and so delicious! It's just enough spice for me (a mild- medium spice level) and for my husband as well (medium-hot spice level) After picking your veggies, pick out your meats: Generally, we try to get a variety of meats since we have all ages eating (baby to 98). So we decided to get a pork belly, boneless short rib, beef brisket, and marinated chicken. My sister and brother in law were also going to Costco on the same day so they bought the bulgogi (translated as "fire-meat"). Bulgogi is thin slices of beef that is already marinated in a teriyaki-style of sauce. We were well stocked with meat. Lastly, my mom also wanted to grill other veggies which is really delicious for Yakiniku. She cut up eggplant, onion, mushroom, cabbage, and pumpkin. Personally I am not a huge meat eater so these veggies were some of my favorites of the night! 3. Prepare your grill This aluminum grill pan has been working well for us. Since it is rounded, the oil seeps down and doesn't stay on the meat of veggies. We just spray with cooking oil before we start. (Amazon affiliate link) 4. Prepare the table: We had two cooking areas so we made 2 trays of meat and veggies. If your party is less than 6, you probably only need one grill. I also put all the banchan in small dishes around the table for everyone. Make sure to designate one or two people to cook. If there are small children around, keep them away from the grill. 5. Prepare the sauces: We had three four different sauce options: 1) Sesame oil (Sesame oil, salt and pepper) 2) Gochujan (Red chili paste and water) 3) Store bought yakiniku sauce 4) Homemade yakiniku sauce. We got this delicious sauce from: 6. Prepare the drinks: Spicy food always goes well with alcholic drinks for some reason. Drinks of choice for yakiniku night are beer, chum churum (Korean clear spirit) and a bottle of good wine. 6. Don't forget to make rice! 7. Grill, eat, and enjoy! Remember that this dish is all about your personal preference and you can customize it to whatever you want to eat! Make sure to have extra butane canisters ready (just in case you run out of gas) Our family loves to change it up and eat meals like this! It felt like we were at a Korean Yakiniku restaurant but in the comfort of our own backyard. Enjoy!

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