Recipe: Mixed Eggplant Bucatini

A trip to the mainland means a trip to Trader Joes. Especially if you’re from Hawaii! Another TikTok recipe, I saved this and decided to give it a try! Easy easy recipe. 4 ingredients!

That’s basically it! Cook up your pasta according to your preference (doesn’t have to be bucatini, choose what you like!) – save the pasta water. Heat up the eggplant with tomatoes and onions and jar of eggplace garlic spread with sweet red peppers on the stove top. Add maybe 1/2 C of your hot pasta water to make the mixture more “saucy” – do it to your liking. Throw in the cooked pasta and mix it up! Top with shredded parmesan cheese (whatever cheese you like).

Looks good ah? My own notes, not enough salt. It’s a bit sweet for my taste. Perhaps you can salt your pasta water (I didn’t) or add salt when you’re making it to your taste. I ate it with hot chili oil so it tasted great for me. I’m glad I bought two servings worth, I can still make another batch!

Mixed Plate Friday

Get this. I was in a mood but still always follow the rules. So I’m driving up Piikoi to go onto the freeway right? And you folks know, the right and left lane people always be trying to cut us rule followers. I don’t let them cut because why should I have to wait forever to get on the freeway while you folks just cut last minute? It is so maddening! Anyway, earlier this morning it happened. This stupid jeep was on the left trying to cut me, we were bumper to bumper at the red light. I was not going to let him in. But he kept moving forward and steering his car like he was just gonna cut anyway.

Well guess what. No. I didn’t let that happen. And as the light turned green and I went gas em, his passenger, some white lady busts out her phone and points it at me out of the window. Yeah! Like she’s trying for record me for not letting them in??? Girl are you crazy. I hope you enjoyed the view of me pissed off in my big black sunglasses I got from my eye surgery. It was obviously a rental car (dumb tourist). I was hopping mad but I ain’t going to engage with them. I just drove off. How rude right??? I almost like her post the video and me find it to tell everyone exactly what happened.

Spicy & Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl | $12.99

Before the pandemic, Aja used to fill up the cold case with sushi and bibimkooksoo. Still no bibimkooksoo but I did try this poke bowl the other week! Pretty good! Pretty good portion for $12.99 even if it’s a lot of rice.

Homemade Bahn Mi Toast

Haha I’m calling it toast because I didn’t have any french bread. But I just toasted up one slice of bread, shredded Sam’s Club chicken with mayo, made my own carrot/daikon pickle, fresh cilantro and some homemade pickled jalapenos too! It was delicious! The boys loved it too, all three of them! Hard to find dishes that all three enjoy.

Homemade Tuna Pasta Salad

Did I post this before? I just made my own pasta salad one day and used cottage cheese as a base for the dressing to make it healthier. I just needed the wetness of the cottage cheese to make a dressing and for me it works. I added fresh dill too to make it even more flavorful. I forget the recipe already, if you want it, let me know and I can try to type one up and post. I enjoy this dish!

Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Let me start this post off with a funny and TMI question. And if you’re not a woman, please feel free to browse past this paragraph. How do you put on your bras?? I’ve been having really bad shoulder problems (rotation issue) and when I could no longer put on my bra like before, I took action and got a referral to PT. That’s when I started talking to other women that I found out…it’s hard for a lot of people to put on their bras that way? I thread my arms through and reach my arms to my back to put on the clasp. I learned that a few of you clasp it up front, then turn the bra to the back and then put on the straps? How many of you do this?? Just genuinely curious.

Anyway, so yes. I have now completed 2 weeks of PT. Two more to go and I gotta say, this week really showed me how effective it has been. I haven’t realized how my shoulders have really been holding me back and making me feel miserable. I mean, when I sit still, my shoulders don’t ache but movement is super inhibited by the pain. I feel like I got a burst of energy back this week and I know my shoulders are so much better and looser than before. So right now, I can’t speak highly enough about PT and its benefits. If you have body aches that are bothering you, please consider doing PT if that’s an option. You’re worth it!

Okay, here’s another recipe that I found online. I needed another way to eat broccoli, getting tired of the two ways I eat it. Well, I’ve always liked balsamic veggies in the restaurants so I gave this a try. It was great! I love it. I also decided to add zucchini and green beans to the party. Thank god for our farmers market at work, I really hope they continue to come during the summer time.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables


Broccoli (I buy the ready to use bags from Sam’s Club or Costco)
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bunch of green beans, cleaned with the ends cut off, chopped

Balsamic Marinade
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried basil
freshly cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, dried basil, and pepper. Set the marinade aside.

Lay out vegetables onto a baking sheet (single layer if able), drizzle marinade all over the vegetables.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, give the vegetables a good stir, then return them to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and have browned on the edges. Don’t be alarmed if the marinade blackens on the baking sheet, that part will not be scooped up with the vegetables.

Recipe Credit: Budget Bytes

Recipe: Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

I eat broccoli all the time and after a while, I get tired of the same old roasted broccoli. I saw this recipe on TikTok and wanted to try it because I always love how the vegetables are made in Chinese restaurants but I never made them myself before. I love this, it’s super savory and flavorful and chock full of garlic. I adjusted this recipe for my own needs since I buy the big bag of broccoli from Sam’s/Costco. I also probably add way more garlic.

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce


2-3 lb Broccoli (I get the ready to use bags from Costco/Sam’s Club)

2 T neutral oil

2 t salt (for boiling broccoli)

3 T minced garlic (I used a whole head of garlic lol)

6 T oyster sauce

3 T shaoxing wine

¾ C Water

Cornstarch slurry: 3 t + 3 t water


Steam the broccoli to your liking. I boil it in a big pot of salted water for about 2-3 minutes, I don’t want the broccoli too soft. Drain broccoli from water and set aside.

Heat up oil and garlic until fragrant in a pan, no need to brown the garlic. Add the oyster sauce, shaoxing wine and water and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch slurry and stir immediately, take pan off the heat. Pour the sauce over the steamed broccoli, mix and serve!

Recipe: Cheese Stuffed Italian Sausage Pasta

I already have to start this post with an apology for that abysmal photograph. Honestly, I thought this dish was just okay. Perhaps if I got the spicy italian sausage next time, I would like it better. I saw it on Tik Tok (duh) and it was so easy that I couldn’t resist making it. It’s not much of a recipe honestly.

I bought a pack of italian sausages (mild) that came in a pack of five. You cut a slit lengthwise (don’t cut all the way through) and then stick mozzarella string cheese into each sausage and then form it around the cheese to make the sausage whole again.

Place the sausages on a wire rack onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 450° for ten minutes.

Prepare your pasta of your choice. Heat up pasta sauce (whatever kind you like!) and place the sausages into the sauce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes after baking. The sausages should maintain their shape in the sauce! Slice up the sausages and serve over pasta with the sauce. Voila!

Recipe: Easy Beef Bulgogi Meatballs

Super short post – another TikTok recipe! Super easy and I used Halm’s Hawaiian BBQ Bar-B-Que for the seasoning which made it even easier!!! The meatballs are good, a little sweet for my taste but that’s what happens when I use the pre-made sauce but well, that’s what makes this easy right?

Easy Beef Bulgogi Meatballs (adapted from Two Plaid Aprons)

2 pounds ground beef
1.5 cups Halm’s Hawaiian BBQ Bar-B-Que sauce
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2-3 stalks green onion thinly sliced (plus more for garnish)
1/2 teaspooon cracked black pepper
Toasted sesame seed optional for garnish

Make and assemble the meatballs:
In a mixing bowl, add the ground beef, 1 cup of the Hawaiian BBQ Bar-B-Que sauce, finely chopped onion, breadcrumbs, green onion, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.

Using a 1 inch cookie scoop or a tablespoon (I used a heaping T), portion mixture into 1 inch meatballs. You should get about 40 meatballs. Then, round out the meatballs by rolling each between your palms.

Preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare a sheet pan lined with foil.
Arrange the meatballs on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, generously brush each meatball with the remaining 1/2 cup of Hawaiian BBQ Bar-B-Que sauce. Return the meatballs into the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the meatball is cooked through with the internal temperature registering 160°F and the the sauce on the outside is sticky.

Mixed Plate Friday

You folks ever make a soup that called for pasta? I’m sure you have. I don’t like my pasta to get too gummy so I actually cook up the pasta al dente separately…then when I finish the soup, I put it into my container to cool it down. I then dump my pasta on top (in this case, a chickpea pasta) and store it like this. As I scoop out servings to eat, I mix it with the pasta to heat up. It works perfectly and the pasta maintains it’s texture!

Just a quick pic of a lazy Sunday breakfast. Toasted everything bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers and homemade jalapenos and red onions. Delicious!

Tots Flight | $16.95
From top, left to right: spicy cheese & bacon tots, bbq chicken tots, and parmesan truffle tots.

Spicy Cheese & Bacon Tots: crispy tots, Paul’s signature Wahl Sauce, pickled red onion, bacon, spicy cheese sauce, Parmesan cheese
BBQ Chicken Tots: crispy tots drizzled with BBQ sauce, topped with BBQ chicken & roasted corn, jalapeno & red onion salsa
Parmesan Truffle Tots: crispy tots tossed with Parmesan cheese, truffle oil and chopped parsley, served with Chef Paul’s truffle aioli

Have you folks Wahlburgers at Ala Moana yet? We’ve gotten take out twice from here and I hate to admit it but they make some pretty dang good burgers and fries. Here is a small preview of their tots flight. I love tater tots. LOL, I think the spicy cheese and truffle ones were good, I would pass on the BBQ chicken ones!

Mixed Plate Friday

Vietnamese Sandwich | $10.99
nguoi (pork belly), cha lua (pork bologna), pate, house mayonnaise, cucumber, sweet onion, pickled carrot/daikon, cilantro, soy sauce

I think…I THINK I FOUND MY FAVORITE BANH MI place. Sorry for the caps. What a name for a place huh? It’s called No Name BBQ Sandwich. I highly suggest calling your order in first, they make it fresh and it’s a tiny little place run by a cute little couple so it takes a bit of time.

I was so hungry, I wanted to open it in the car to take a quick bite. Oh how fast does a quick bite turn into THE ENTIRE SANDWICH IN MY BELLY. The bread was so light and crunchy and warm…and I…I just couldn’t resist. It was the perfect sandwich and oh my gosh, they give SO MUCH CILANTRO. IT’S A DREAM COME TRUE. Anyway, I hope you folks will give them a try. No lemongrass chicken here but who cares, try something else, live a little. Trust me.

Udon Salad

An oldie but goodie, I brushed off the cobwebs to make this dish recently. I just love how it looks pre-mixed. Got to use my fancy carrying case too! Super easy recipe, check out my old post here. Refreshing, can’t go wrong!

Carry Along Shrimp

My coworkers talk about this recipe all the time, you can find it at the Electric Kitchen, here. This is my first time cooking it and trying it. Great dish! We threw it in the airfryer for about 10 minutes at 400°F. I think it tastes great, howw would I tweak it? I think I would add a bit less sugar. Delicious though!

Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Christmas Tree

How’s this recipe for timeliness? Happy New Year everyone! Super late greeting, I apologize. I really was meaning to post about Japan right after my trip but life just caught up with me. The holidays hit like a ton of bricks and then I had a whole bunch of annual doctor visits earlier this month so I’ve been pre-occupied. I hope you folks have been doing well! I’ll try to get back to a regular posting schedule again. Hopefully you folks are still interested in Japan content, I mean the visit was only last month but feels like eons ago.

So the recipe! Yeah, I got it off Tiktok. Hahaha who would’ve thunk. But isn’t it so cute! Our division had a little holiday tea so I made it to share. It’s cute and it’s one of those “tear and share” dishes. It’s also super easy to make…I just buy the ready made pizza crust and spinach artichoke dip from Sam’s Club. You can do it!

Like my perfectly shaped triangle? This recipe only requires one pizza crust. You cut the first triangle out of the rectangular dough and place it on the side to become the top layer of this dish. Then the remaining two triangles are used to form a big triangle to be the bottom of the tree.

Spread that artichoke dip on the bottom layer. I think the urge is to put plenty (I know I wanted to) but realize you will have to be able to twist the “branches” so too much filling won’t do. Just do a nice sized thin layer.

You always hear that shredding your own cheese is better. Tastes better, blah blah blah. Yeah, I did that this time. I was kind of mad because I don’t have a good tool to do it. It was also like 4 in the morning. Anyway, place a layer of cheese on top! I won’t judge if you buy pre-shredded.

Top layer of the dough on top! You can see why this one is the top layer right? First it’s a nicer shape and second, this isn’t the one I had to merge together so there’s no seam.

This is where a pizza cutter would come in super handy. I don’t have one. So I used a small knife, just make cuts like I did here!

Then you twist! I did two twists for each branch. I do wonder if I made it again would I add maybe diced sun dried tomatoes? Top the tree off with a yellow star (yellow bell pepper)? It’s up to you!

Christmas Tree Appetizer

Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust (13.8 oz tube)
1.5 to 2 C of Spinach Artichoke Dip (I used Member’s Mark brand)
3/4 C Shredded Cheese (I used Colby Jack, use as much cheese as you want)
2 T Butter, melted

Baking Sheet, lined


  1. Lay out pizza dough (it will be a rectangular shape). Cut a triangle out of the rectangular dough and place it on the side to become the top layer of this dish. Then the remaining two triangles are used to form a big triangle to be the bottom of the tree, make it a similar size to the top layer triangle.
  2. Spread artichoke dip on the bottom layer. I think the urge is to put plenty (I know I wanted to) but realize you will have to be able to twist the “branches” so too much filling won’t do. Just do a nice sized thin layer.
  3. Spread shredded cheese on artichoke dip layer.
  4. Place the top triangle layer on top. Use a pizza cutter or small knife and cut one inch slats, don’t cut all the way through. Please refer to pictures above for visual.
  5. Then you twist! I did two twists for each branch. I do wonder if I made it again would I add maybe diced sun dried tomatoes? Top the tree off with a yellow star (yellow bell pepper)? It’s up to you!
  6. Brush melted butter on top and place in pre-heated 400°F oven and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Note: I would do all of this directly on the baking sheet. This tree is huge and would be hard to transfer from place to place pre-baking.

A present for staying to the end. I made two that morning and here is the koge one. Hahaha

Recipe: Cowboy Butter

What is cowboy butter you ask? I don’t know. I saw this video on TikTok and it’s just been on my mind. It’s just a sauce you can serve up with your main protein. I bet it would work well with any protein! I served it up with rib eye steak. How was your thanksgiving? We don’t really do turkey, we’ve never been a huge fan of turkey anyhow. So yeah, I bought a few sides from Sam’s Club and a thing of rib eye steaks. I bought a thing of spinach and made it Korean style (just garlic, sesame oil and salt). It was a pretty easy meal to make and was enjoyed by all! A lot!

From clockwise from top right: spinach banchan, twice-baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rib eye steaks, cowboy butter!!

Yeah, the steak is still super pink inside. That’s how okay? SO GOOD. I only salt and peppered the steak and pan fried it for about 2 minutes on each side.

Cowboy Butter


12 T Butter

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 T dijon mustard

1 t cayenne

2 t paprika

8-10 garlic cloves, minced

2 T Chives, minced

2 t thyme, minced

2 tsp chili flakes

4 T fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat pan over low heat and melt butter, lemon juice, dijon mustard, cayenne, paprika, lemon zest, garlic and whisk together. Melting and cooking slowly over low heat (this is to help the butter keep mostly thick and not turning quickly to fat) – about 5 minutes.

Add chives, thyme, chili flakes and parsley and cook together for about 3-5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to your tastes. Serve up as a side sauce to some great grilled steaks!