Trader Joe’s

You can find a lot of organic grocery items in the very reasonable prices here.  The quality of food is high here.  This wonderful grocery shop started in California.  There are now several branch stores in the Midwest.    They offer many items under their own brand name.  They are really tasty.  I especially like their frozen Tamales, frozen pizzas and organic blueberry jams.  Their high fiber cereals are excellent.  They also have good variety of granola.




Street food is popular in Asia.  Japanese street food has many varieties.  Yusho restaurant has some creative Japanese style street food dishes that are done perfectly on the hot grill.  Chef Matthias crafts dishes in an art form.  Each dish is uniquely presented.  Besides grilled items, Yusho offers noodles on Sundays.

You also would not want to miss meeting the sake master Tim there.  Tim is very knowledgeable on sake varieties.  He is friendly and very enthusiastic on sake.  He is a certified sake sommelier.  He continues to study sake.


Seafood Salad

Seafood Salad

I love this new seafood salad at Takashi restaurant.  Chef Takashi’s restaurant is located five miles northwest of downtown Chicago.  It features French American cuisine with Japanese influences.   Every dish is perfectly prepared and is extremely tasty.   The presentation of each dish is unbelievable beautiful and eye pleasing.  The menu changes often.  It follows seasonal ingredients.

When I am there, I like to order the tasting menu.  It provides the best samples of Chef Takashi’s current signature dishes.  I highly recommend the tasting menu for the first time visitors.

From Asparagus to Zucchini

This is the resource I go to when I have questions with any kind of vegetables.  Although there aren’t any pretty pictures, the book offers storage and cooking tips on each vegetable.  You can get to know the vegetables by reading the small write-up on each vegetable.  There are some simple and useful recipes included.  The indexes and table of contents are very well arranged and can be easily used by the beginner cooks.

Conform To The Four Seasons

The Chinese people believe that human and nature are closely related.   In particular, sleeping schedules and eating varieties should be different in each season.  The Chinese theory recommends the following.

  • One should go to bed late at night and wake up early in the morning in spring and summer.
  • One should go to bed early at night and wake up early in the morning in fall. 
  • One should go to bed early at night and wake up late in the morning in winter.
  • One should consume more sour food in spring.
  • One should consume more astringent and bitter food in summer.
  • One should consume more spicy food in fall.
  • One should consume more salty food in winter.

When you make these small changes, your daily life will feel more balanced.  You will feel more energetic.

The Winchester

This is a unique neighborhood community strong place.  The menu offers seasonal ingredients from local farms and changes often.  The dishes are well prepared and healthy with lots of vegetables.  The hours are great.  It is one of the few restaurants that opens late in Grand Rapids.   I especially love their fried chicken and salmon sandwiches.  Their fish tacos dish is also amazing.  The prices are very reasonable for the high quality prepared food.  They also have good wine and beer selections.  Overall it is a great place to hang out when you want to relax, to meet with friends or to just grab a bite with some drinks.

Shea Lips

I love the Quench! Shea Lips line from Abbey Brown Soap Artisan in Chicago.  It is very moisture, and it makes my lips soft for a long time.   It is the must-have for the hash Midwest weather.  I use the Shea Lips year-round.  All their products are handcrafted with natural ingredients.  They also offer some intriguing classes.


I first discovered quinoa at the Chestnut restaurant in Brooklyn.   The waitress was eager to explain the okra quinoa dish and gave me some history of this tasty grain.   Later I had this very delicious quinoa hashbrowns in the Public restaurant in Soho New York.  The taste of the quinoa hashbrowns was unreal. It was not oily and in perfect crunchiness. This healthy grain contains high good protein.  You can cook it easily less than 30 minutes and use it in place of rice or potatoes.  Quinoa can be cooked in different ways.  The texture is pleasing to your taste bud. My friend Sandy also has this easy quinoa salad recipe which provides a way to cook quinoa early before the meals.   This is especially helpful when preparing for a picnic or a party.

1 c. quinoa
1 c. diced red pepper
1 c. edamame (frozen is fine)
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 c. dried tart cherries, or cranberries

Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
pinch sugar
salt & pepper

Top with toasted pepitas.


Drinking water is important.  It is time to stop buying water from the plastic bottles.  I believe every tiny action from each individual counts.  It is our responsibility to care for the Earth.  Lifefactory offers eco-friendly glass bottles in different and fun color for everyone from babies to adults.  The design is modern, and the silicone sleeves make the glass bottles easy to be carried.  I especially love the 22 oz water bottle for adults.  It comes handy when I am out about.  If you have young children, the non-toxic nipples for the baby bottles and teethers are also the crucial choices.  All of the lifefactory products are BPA-free.

Green Envee

If you are looking for the environmental safe skincare products, Green Envee is the place.  I met Tim in November 2012, and I was drawn to his story.  I felt his commitment to the safe skincare products.  I agree with his company’s philosophy behind the products.  The Children’s Care line from Green Envee is amazing.  I especially like the body lotions for myself.  The scent is light, and the lotion is silky.  My skin loves it.