The Final August Birthday Chapter: Dad

      033

My dad shares his birthday, August 29th, with Michael Jackson, just in case you didn’t know. He always reminds me, so I thought I’d remind you too. LOL. My dad is so special to me and I’m so glad I could cook for him for his birthday. We had such an amazing eight weeks of summer hikes throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and other local places that I wanted to share some of the amazing photos he took of me and my yoga practice. Being outside and in nature is a really important part of my self-care practice and being able to share those experiences with my dad was even more amazing.
I just want to thank my dad for always showing up for me no matter what and for being so strong and stable in so many ways for our family. There is truly no one on earth like my dad and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. Our hikes have been put on hold for now, but I’m sure we’ll get back out there again and explore more spaces yet to be determined. I love you dad! For dinner, I made some truly Fujitaki staples, which I’m sure if you’ve seen my blog before, have appeared multiple times. But the great thing about those dishes is that they never get old, no matter how many times we’ve eaten them. Now that’s tradition.

004006023027010016
Menu
Wontons
Spam Musubi
Inari
Roasted Sugar Snap Peas, Red Onions and Wild Mushrooms
Roasted Broccoli
Tuna Sashimi
Salmon Sashimi
Japanese Rice
Fried Tofu Vegetable Curry
Roasted Pork Loin with Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce
Spicy Scallion Soy Shrimp
Bean Sprouts with Mixed Vegetables

Bachan Beef Bowl with Komoboko and Nori

cheers

unrivaledkitch

A Birthday Celebration to Remember… the perfect way to start my 29th year!

       053 071
It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, and though, by kids’ yoga standards, we are referring to the season as fall already, it won’t be fall until 9/22, so I’m sticking with summer for the moment. I had to write about my beautiful birthday celebration on August 20th with my family, because it was truly one of the most special and meaningful birthdays of my life. I am moving through a lot of transition and the stability I have from my family and friends really allows me to be fully present, vulnerable and honest about what I desire in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am without the amazing support of so many individuals and for my birthday, I felt as if I was celebrating everyone who cares about me and supports me. I taught 3 kids’ yoga classes on my birthday and they really sealed the deal with me about knowing that this is what I’ve been put on the earth to do. I absolutely love kids’ yoga and my ability to share this practice with others is truly something that has transformed my life.
My kids’ yoga company, Little Heroes Yoga, is coming alive and I’m working hard to stay accountable and honest about my intentions for serving the community I grew up in and the families throughout the San Fernando Valley.  This month I launched my first set of Little Heroes Yoga Kids’ Yoga Classes at Two Hearts Yoga. It’s a huge accomplishment and dream of mine and I hope to continue to expand and grow its offerings to further serve children of all ages. Nourishing our minds, bodies, and spirits has so much to do with what we do with our bodies as well as what we put into our bodies. Unrivaledkitch will always be an amazing place for me to share my culinary adventures and I’m so glad I’ve been able to write in this blog and learn from these experiences. I’ll always be a chef, but teaching yoga is a very loud calling for me and I’m listening.

052
So, for my birthday, Brandon cooked an amazing feast for me and my family. Having a chef boyfriend has a thousand and one benefits, even when you are a chef too, and we celebrated after I taught my classes, which was just perfect. He made all my favorite things and my family’s favorites too. My sister made me a birthday hat and my nieces decorated the house. It was so special and I’m so glad we could all be together.

046
009014024038043
Menu
Grilled Spicy Lobster
Fillet Mignon with Veal Demi
Chicken Katsu
Parmesan Grilled Asparagus
Creamed Spinach
Purple Basil and Heirloom Tomato Burrata Caprese with Fig Vin Cotto
Au Gratin Potatoes
Sauteed Green Beans with Soy Sauce
Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Amaya’s First Birthday Party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym For All Kids

020 108
A first birthday in my family is nothing to be trifled with. For Amaya’s big day, we had to do something that would keep everyone relatively cool, since August in the San Fernando Valley can get up to 100 degrees or higher. My family has taken Maleeya and Amaya to this amazing play space for a little while now, it’s called We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and they have so many fun things to play with that allow children of all abilities to come together and be in a very safe and loving super fun space. So my sister decided that we would have Amaya’s Snow White inspired First Birthday at We Rock the Spectrum.
027 025 024
 
The decorations were beautiful and the atmosphere was so fun. Between food, jumping on trampolines, zip lining and swinging, the kids enjoyed cake and sang happy birthday to my sweet little leo for her big party. I took some time to make a few apple inspired desserts: little Rice Krispies red apples with graham cracker stems and little green leaves and of course, red candied apples as well as a few caramel ones too. The food was inspired by kids’ favorites so it naturally lent way to finger foods.
112001 013 003  009 
Everyone enjoyed themselves on this beautiful day celebrating this lovely little lady who I can’t believe is already one-year-old! Happy Birthday Amaya, Auntie loves you! I’m so glad I could be with you on your special day.
 
Menu
 
Hot Dog Cornbread Muffins with
 
Turkey Dog Croissants
 
7 Dwarf Layered Bean Dip
 
Fruit Platter and Veggie Platter with Purple Basil
 
Spinach Pinwheels with Hummus and Mortadella
 
Turkey Pinwheels with Cheese
 
Ham Pinwheels with Hummus
 
Mac n Cheese Bites
 
Mac n Cheese with Peas and Carrots  
 
Rice Krispies Treats Red Apples with Graham Cracker Stems
 
Red Candied Apples
 
Caramel Apples

007photo 3

097

cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Summer Time Birthday Celebrations and Mammoth

 

IMG_4601080   019 039

It’s September. I can hardly believe it. August was so amazingly wonderful, full of gratitude, celebration, family and friends—I miss it already. I was able to go on eight weeks of outdoor hikes with my dad, a family vacation to Mammoth Lakes and to really jumpstart my kids’ yoga business, Little Heroes Yoga, as well as participate in an amazing business course about kids’ yoga called TBoKY The Biz of Kids Yoga by Jodi Komitor. I’m so grateful to have had a wonderful summer, probably one of the best ones of my life. And I’m equally grateful to have a really fantastic fall full of kids’ yoga fun lined up.

IMG_4602
But I wanted to highlight some of the amazing food adventures that I had in August. First of the series will be Amaya and Grandma’s birthday celebration dinner in Mammoth. I spent a total of seven beautiful days in the Eastern Sierras this year. I could have stayed for an entire month, but that’s another story. I truly am home when I go to Mammoth; the fresh air, beautiful scenery and just slowed-down pace of everything, makes it the perfect vacation for me. I’ve been going to Mammoth for my whole life and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
It’s so great to see the next generation of little fisherwomen come up to the Sierras with us. We really caught a ton of fish this year. I caught two pretty good sized ones and a bunch of little ones the whole time we were there. We went to a couple of new lakes: Little Virginia and Big Virginia and Upper and Lower Twin in Bridgeport, and even saw a quick hail storm.
Now, back to Amaya and Grandma’s birthday dinner. Well, the two of them have back to back birthdays and kick off our month of celebration. My sister said she’ll never have to get my mom another birthday present, mom’s present just came a day late. My mom’s birthday is August 14th and Amaya, my youngest niece, was born August 15th. My sister, brother-in-law, Maleeya and Amaya came up to Mammoth to celebrate my mom’s birthday and Amaya’s first birthday, which made it extra special for my mom and dad.

 

We had an amazing time celebrating. I barbequed for Amaya’s birthday and we all enjoyed this fun home-cooked meal.

125

IMG_4583

IMG_4584130IMG_4585

BBQ Tri Tip

Boiled Fingerling Potatoes

Chopped Salad

Grilled Nectarines

Baked Beans

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Birthday cake and big smiles all around. Thank you for sharing with us.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Andy’s Going Away Party

Taco Bar Spread

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I cooked for his dad’s going away party. He’ll be out of state for work for some time so we decided it would be nice to get his friends together and enjoy company while he was still in town. Being in the military is a difficult profession and I can’t imagine what our country would be without the help of so many men and women all over the world who sacrifice so much for our safety.

So for this event we had two chefs and one kitchen. Brandon and I have worked together in some kitchen during various times for the last 7 years professionally, at home, or at someone else’s home/event. You can currently visit Brandon at Blush Restaurant and/or Blind Tiger in Santa Barbara, where he is the Executive Chef.

Though most of my time is spent cooking for my family and teaching yoga, it’s nice to prepare a large meal for wonderful people. We decided to have a massive taco fiesta. Our first go with the barbeque ended up not too successful because the grill wasn’t in working order, so we went for the simple charcoal grill that I’m used to and I grilled the food while Brandon cooked inside. I think overall it was a great team effort. Safe travels, Andy!

Menu

Carne Asada

Grilled Chicken

Chopped Seasoned Pork

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Zucchini

Spanish Bay Shrimp

Mixed Vegetable Sofritas

Chorizo Bean Dip

Guacamole

Salsa with Green Chiles and Garlic

Tortillas and Toppings

Dessert

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie Recipe

Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate pudding in Oreo crust with marshmallows and chocolate dusted roasted almonds

1 Oreo Crust

½ cup cocoa dusted roasted almonds

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place cold heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Whip with a hand mixer till thick whipped cream forms, no powdered sugar necessary. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.

1 small box Hersheys white chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

1 small box Hersheys dark chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

Pour 1/2 of the white chocolate pudding into the bottom of the Oreo crust. Top with ½ cup of marshmallows and pour ½ the dark chocolate pudding on top. Mix the remaining pudding together and fold in the whipped cream till smooth. Top pie with the mixture and smooth into a mound. Top with the remaining marshmallows and cocoa dusted almonds. Refrigerate for one hour or more.


Cheers,

Unrivaledkitch

 

Veggies, salsa and Guacamole Mexican Inspired Catering Taco Bar Ingredients Chicken, Sofritas and Shrimp for Tacos Carne Asada and Grilled Chopped Pork

Happy 3rd Birthday Maleeya from a month ago

185002018

 

April flew by (actually, May is flying by too…the whole year). I can’t believe it, but it was a really great month full of really fun and exciting happenings for our family. Maleeya turned 3 on April 8th and we had a really fun birthday party for her at the park. About 50 people attended and I made probably the closest amount of food for the size party, without there being a week’s worth of leftovers. We had a really sweet Minnie Mouse theme and Maleeya dressed the part in her Minnie Mouse dress and awesome party hat and crafts made by my sister. We are really getting into this birthday party hosting with all the crafts, food and fun. To my surprise—well, not really—I did some kids’ entertainment: yoga, freeze dance, three-legged races, jump rope hopping, parachute and giant balloons. The kids had a great time and so did everyone else.  We are so blessed and I couldn’t be more grateful for another amazing birthday celebration! Happy 3rd birthday Maleeya, Auntie loves you!
Menu
Kale Salad with Raisins, Cranberries and Walnuts

Macaroni Salad with Mixed Vegetables and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Diced Egg, Celery, Green Onion and Pickles

Roasted Turkey or Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Vegan Vegetable Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, and Herb and Garlic Olive Oil

Italian Cold Cut Sandwiches: Capicola, Mortadella, Salami, Ham, Provolone Cheese, Red Peppers, and Pepperoncini

Minnie Mouse Mixed Fruit Platters

Veggie Platter and Dip

Meat and Cheese Platters

 

Cheers,

Unrivaledkitch

007 011  021 024 026 034 037 038 041 043 044 051 052 058 079 116  191

Torung Restaurant Hollywood,CA

Veggie rice noodles
On an evening after a great Core Strength Vinyasa Class with my good friend Thea, we decided to venture out to have a delicious dinner after all that core-tastic action and catch up before her adventures in New York City, where she’s attending the yoga journal conference and her advanced teacher training. If you’re looking for an awesome, body positive, strong and compassionate yoga practice, I highly recommend checking Thea out at her yoga studio: Hazel Blue Studios. I’ll be teaching Curvy yoga today at Hazel Blue Studios while Thea is away. Join us for the body positive yoga revolution!

Back to the food, I haven’t food blogged in a while and I realized something delicious was missing from my life. With my new and improved cellular upgrade, I’m now with a camera more often, so I can capture my culinary adventures and hopefully have some more.
 
Baby Corn and mushrromOn this occasion we went to Torung in Hollywood. A cash only and very cheap, yet delicious, establishment that serves Thai and other Asian-inspired dishes. Thea has been coming to Torung for a very long time and we decided on a plethora of dishes to try. After looking over the menu and getting the rundown of everything, we decided on mushroom and baby corn with jasmine rice, veggie spring rolls, and vegetable rice noodles. Everything was extremely tasty and came out very quickly. The spring rolls were refreshing and the sauce was sweet and sticky. Noodles were seasoned well and the corn and mushroom sauce was salty and luscious. The restaurant is cozy, but not overly dramatic. It doesn’t have very fancy anything, which is why and how they can keep costs down. Thea mentioned that they also feed the local homeless, which I think is amazing. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Torung. 

5657 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Spring Rolls and Baby corn and mushroom Cheers,
unrivaledkitch

New Year’s Traditions Oshogatsu and Osechi-Ryori 2014

DSC09879

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you enjoyed some time for reflection, tradition, family and friends during the holidays and carry that hopeful good cheer throughout the year. The first of the year is a special time for my family. We share in the traditions of Japanese New Year or Oshogatsu and since I’ve been little, we’ve had a family gathering eating traditional and some non-traditional foods together as we celebrate the New Year, over food, fun and togetherness.

DSC09882 DSC09884

These traditions are very important to me. They remind me of my childhood, especially of the times when I used to stay with my Bachan from Christmas until New Year’s. Bachan would spend days preparing different dishes, allowing things to simmer and pickle, while cutting vegetables into different shapes and making food I’d only see on New Year’s Day. Though some of the dishes on the table today are not the same as the ones we had when I was little, I try to incorporate some of those traditional dishes into the Jūbako Japanese stackable decorative dishes and we have a large spread of food and invite friends and family over.

 

Here are my last three years of Osechi-Ryori: 2011, 2012, 2013, and my 2014 addition.

 

Menu

 

Beef and Chicken Teriyaki with homemade teriyaki sauce

Chicken Yakitori with peanut sauce

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (mom’s contribution)

Pork & Shrimp Wontons (mom & dad’s contribution)

Bachan Jello (mom’s contribution)

Inari

Grilled Salmon

Grilled Sake and Mirin Shrimp

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)

Ozoni (New Year Japanese soup) (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shiitake Mushroom, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

Twice cooked Artichokes with soysauce mayo

 

I hope each of you had a blessed and beautiful holiday season and have a peaceful, joyful and thankful new year!

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Thanksgiving 2013

 

After a week of working hard, teaching yoga and witnessing the effects of the holidays on children in my classes, it was really interesting to see the shift in their attention and mood, as well as in their parents’ or caretaker’s moods. When the holidays come up, energy is either very low or extremely high and temperament can be extremely unpredictable. It’s been a good beginning of the holiday season, as I remember to carry a heightened sense of awareness, a commitment to staying with change and constantly reminding myself to embrace the present moment in my teaching, practice, and life.

 

I am so grateful that I was able to take time to cook a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Sometimes we don’t really get to all spend very much time together but it’s always nice to share the holidays with my family because they mean so much to me. I took on the cooking. We had our traditional spread of dishes and mom and dad took care of some of the other big items so my oven didn’t have too much wait time between sides. Granny, Maleeya and my sister did an amazing job with decorations and clean up. It’s always a team effort with everyone and I’m so grateful for my awesome family. My brother and sister-in-law brought a delicious pumpkin pie for all of us to share.

My kitchen is a place for me to be completely in tune with what ingredients, ideas and delicious dishes that are produced and I love that. Though I’m not cooking as much as I used to, Thanksgiving was a nice reminder of what I can still do in there. Dinner was ready in no time at all and all of us were able to sit down and eat without too much excess running around. It was Amaya’s first Thanksgiving and Maleeya had a great time feasting on pumpkin pie and everything else we normally save for special occasions. It’s so wonderful to have my little nieces here with us to celebrate our family traditions and make new ones for them to share in.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with their families and friends. I am so grateful for everyone that has shared their time and love with me on Thanksgiving and to all of you! May the season of gratitude carry you into the rest of the holiday season and throughout the New Year!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Menu

Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Herbs

Granny’s Stuffing

Roasted Zucchini and Cauliflower Gratin

Roasted Asparagus

Sausage and Spinach Sautéed Kale

Candied Spiced Yams with Roasted Marshmallows

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Roasted Apple, Pineapple and Golden Raisin Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Candied Yam Bread Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream

Mom and Dad’s Contributions

Honey Ham

Green Bean Casserole

Pumpkin Muffins

Bachan Jello

Spinach Dip

Granny’s Deviled Eggs

Auntie Linh and Uncle Kyle’s Homemade Pumpkin Pie

IMG_4127 IMG_4128 IMG_4129 IMG_4135 IMG_4140 IMG_4141 IMG_4143 IMG_4146IMG_4147cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Turning 30 a month later, Brandon’s Birthday!

This blog was to memorable not to post but it is a month late. Oh well better late than never!

007 015 023 026 029 044 050 057 069 075

We’ve celebrated birthdays all month long and just about everywhere this summer, which always keeps me busy and on my toes thinking of new ideas and different dishes to make. Having my dad’s birthday at the end of August and Brandon’s birthday on September 7, I’ve been keeping pretty busy in the kitchen. I’m so grateful that my yoga practice and teaching have been taking a great amount of my time and with the start of the new school year (I teach primarily children’s yoga with some senior and adult classes as well), it’s been a really great transition period for my life. I’m glad I can still find time for fantastic meals with my loved ones, because it’s just so important to me to always keep us all at the table together, enjoying delicious and freshly prepared meals.

Brandon’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year, which, for a chef, is the busiest day of the week, but when he could finally muster up a day off, we got together with my family for a Japanese-style sushi and rice bowl dinner. I thought of this awesome little party idea because I wanted everyone to be a little interactive with their food. I didn’t want Brandon to have to cook at all since he cooks practically every day, but I wanted him to be able to put together some sushi, have a beef bowl, and enjoy and relax with a fun dinner. So I drew up this idea at the Japanese market, Mitsuwa, in Venice. There are some really amazing things at that store; all the Japanese ingredients I need to pull off a perfect meal, which is sometimes difficult to find in the valley.

I chose different ingredients that we could all enjoy and make into little sushi rolls with small pieces of nori and ingredients such as salmon and tuna sashimi, imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, umeboshi, ginger and wasabi. I cooked thinly sliced beef in sake, mirin and soy sauce with sliced nori, kamaboko and thinly sliced egg to create my Bachan’s signature beef bowl and made beef and pork wontons with bamboo shoots, scallions and shiitake mushrooms, as well as tonkatsu (panko breaded and fried pork cutlet) and chicken katsu to enjoy. I scooped large bowls of hot Japanese rice for everyone and we made our own concoctions and combinations to enjoy. I love interactive family style food!

I always find that making these dishes connects me with my Japanese heritage and keeps these wonderful traditions that I learned from my Bachan, in our family. Japanese food takes amazing ingredients and lets them shine all on their own with little effort, but lots of care—I love that. I’m so glad I could share these traditions that are so dear to me on such a momentous day: Brandon’s 30th birthday! I’m very grateful that I could make such a special meal for you and to cook for you because you are always so busy cooking for everyone else. Happy Birthday, Brandon, I love you!

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch