My Friend Friday Guest today is one of my dear friends, Sumiko Monson!! If you talk to anyone about this dear friend, they will all tell you that “Sumiko, is the sweetest! I love her!” She has the most sweet, pure heart and is a great example of Christ-like service. She and her family have been dear friends of ours for about 17 years and we LOVE the Monson family!! Sumiko is such an amazing little chef and each time we eat a meal in her home, we come away lifted up in spirit and our bellies are full with the most delicious Japanese food. She is seriously a gem!

Just look at this awesome family! Sumiko is sharing with us today a couple of recipes that are some of our favs!  Here’s Sumiko…….

My name is Sumiko Monson.  I grew up in Japan and moved to Hawaii to attend Brigham Young University Hawaii, and met my husband while working at the Polynesian cultural center where we worked as Japanese tour guides.  He is a blessing from Heavenly Father and I love him dearly!!  We lived in Oahu and Maui for 16 years and Tokyo for 4 years before moving to St. George, Utah.  For the first 18 years of my life, I lived to play sports, namely basketball, tennis, track and swimming.  But marathon is whole another level of intense dedication and endurance.  I have much respect for Peggy and her fellow runners!

My husband and I have 5 grown children and the first 3 are married to amazing spouses, the other two are in college.  We have 7 precious grandchildren who melt our hearts.  Going on vacation with them is my favorite thing to do.

I first met Peggy in our church nursery room where her Caden and my Casey attended 15 plus years ago.  And when she told me that her husband served his LDS mission in Japan, they took special place in my heart J.  She is a super lady who can do anything and everything but is still humble and sweet.  I am blessed to have her as my friend!

The Chicken Katsu and Butter Mochi recipes I posted here are my children’s all time favorites!  They are Japanese influenced and very popular in Hawaii.

Chicken Katsu

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts-slice in half horizontally

½ cup flour

2 eggs, beaten, mix with half an egg shell water

2 cups panko

salad oil for frying

Pat chicken with paper towel. Dredge thin sliced chicken in flour, dip in eggs, and coat with panko. In electric skillet, heat oil to 375F. Fry chicken until golden brown; drain on paper towels. Cut into 1 inch strips. Serve with Katsu Sauce. Makes 6 servings.

* I slice chicken in half, horizontally, to make each piece thin.

Katsu Sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of pepper
Combine all ingredients. Makes about 1 cup

Butter Mochi

1 lb mochiko
2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter, melted
1 can coconut milk
1 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
5 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder. Add remaining ingredients to mochiko mixture and mix well. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Bake for 1 hour; cool. I cut mine into 1 x 2 inch small rectangle pieces.



Today my Friend Friday Guest is like one of my own–Emily Hollingshead! This is one incredible little mama! Not only is she an incredible wife and mother to her sweet baby girl, but she is one of the best dental assistants around :). I should know because she works with my husband, who is dentist 😬. She is quite an amazing cook too! I’m so excited to share with you this recipe for Chili Lime Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa.

My name is Emily and I am a mom and wife. I am always looking for easy and yummy recipes. Peg is always giving my good ideas so I’m happy to be able to share something as a guest on her blog :).

My husband, Scott and I have been married for 6 years. We have a beautiful baby girl, Blakely, who we love more than anything!! We also have two fur babies. We LOVE being outside and exploring. We are always heading to anywhere there is water.

This recipe is a favorite in our house and I hope you find it delicious as well.

Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa (from
For the Chicken:
Chili Lime Rub
2 T. Olive Oil
1 tea. chili powder
1-4 1/2 teas. chipotle chile powder (optional for more heat)
1/2 tea. ground cumin
1/2 tea. smoked paprika
1/2 tea. onion powder
1/2 tea. garlic powder
3/4 tea. salt
1/4 tea. brown sugar
fresh-squeezed lime juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Lime zest from 1 lime
In a small bowl, whisk chicken rub ingredients together and rub evenly all over the chicken breasts.  Time permitting, allow chicken to sit for 30 min at room temperature.
Cook in slow cooker on low 4-6 hours and shred.

Or you can GRILL the chicken.  Here are the directions:

If chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temp. for 15-30 min.  Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat 375-450 degrees.  Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 min per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F). Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 min before slicing.

OR you can cook the chicken on the STOVE-TOP. Here are the instructions:

If chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temp for 15-30 min.  Heat a large non-stick pan over med.-high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 min, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side.  Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for approx. 5-7 min more (depending on the thickness of the chicken), or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 min before slicing.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa


Prep Time: 5 min

Grill Time: 20 min

1/2 ripe pineapple, trimmed and sliced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1/2 small red onion, peeled and cut in half (you have two quarters of a whole onion)

1 whole jalapeno

1/2 c. loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped

1 T. lime juice

1/4 tea. ground ginger

1/4 tea. ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil.

Grease grill and heat to med. high heat.

Drizzle red onions with olive oil and thread onto a skewer (if using a wooden skewer soak skewer in water for at least 30 min beforehand). Drizzle red bell pepper quarters and jalapeño with olive oil to lightly coat.

Working in batches as needed depending on grill size, grill pineapple and veggies at med. high heat until tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 min. for the onions, turning occasionally, about 8-10 min for the pineapple, or until caramelized, flipping once, 6 min for the red bell peppers, flipping once, and jalapeño for 3-5 min, turning occasionally.

Once cool enough to handle, dab off any excess oil with paper towels from veggies and chop pineapple (cutting around core). red bell peppers, and onions.  Devein and deseed jalapeño and dice., reserving some of the seeds if desired.

Toss pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, ginger, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.  If you would like it spicier, add some of the jalapeño seeds to taste.

Can be served immediately or even better chilled.

Avocado Crema


1 medium avocado

1/2 c. sour cream

2 T. mayo.

1 T. lime juice

1/2 tea. salt

1/4 tea. ground cumin

1/4 tea. garlic powder

To make the Avocado Crema, add all the Crema ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as needed. May make 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight container.


To assemble, melt cheese on tortillas in the microwave or stovetop then top with Chili Lime Chicken, Pineapple Salsa followed by Avocado Crema.


Girl’s Camp Cook

Last week was a BIG week for me. It’s one of those “when it rains, it pours” weeks. Like my mama said, “And this too shall pass.” It’s soooo true and that is what I was thinking about all last week ha!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want life to pass me by and not enjoy it, but there are those times that are just not fun, but we just have to dig in and get things done.

We have a Young Women’s organization in our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and the lady who was in charge of Girls Camp that is held each year, asked me to be the cook or maybe I volunteered because I love girls camp 😝. Of course, I’ve done this before several times, but this year in particular, I felt more pressure. From menu planning to grocery shopping and figuring out just the right amount of food, without too much wasted, were all concerns of mine. I hate wasting food, especially when it’s not mine to waste. Yikes! Needless to say, much thought and prayer went into planning the menu, purchasing the food and actually making the food, and it was a hit. I was so very grateful to my loving Father in Heaven for helping me.  A special thank you to all of my awesome photographers and the leaders of this Young Women’s organization–Megan Johnson, Brooke Wamsley, Kathy Spendlove, Sharon Sumner and Berkley Sumner. You may hear from some of these awesome gals again on a guest post soon :).

So some tips I have learned through the years of being Girls Camp cook…………….

  1.  Do as much prep as you can before camping. I like to do all of the major meat prep before hand and also you can cut up produce. Think of everything you could possibly do before hand and just do it. It just makes life so much more enjoyable for EVERYONE :).
  2. Write out a menu for everyone to see for each meal. That way you don’t have to answer the question of the day, “What’s for dinner (breakfast or lunch)?” You get the picture. Ha.
  3. Make a shopping trip to Costco 2 days before leaving for camp. Part of the items you can get on this shopping trip is the meat to prepare. You could also do this the weekend before leaving and freeze the meat or put it in the refrigerator, depending on how far in advance you’re making it.
  4. The day before leaving, make a trip to your local grocery store to get other needed items and don’t forget ice. I like buying blocks of ice and also crushed ice for drinks and such. Also, get the stuff to make s’mores. Yum!
  5. The morning you leave, load up those coolers!!

Here’s just a sampler of some of the food that we ate.  We were all so stuffed by the time we went home.  I mean, really, who eats 3 huge meals a day any more :). I must be getting old.

One of my favorite recipes that I made for Girl’s Camp was Teriyaki Chicken Thighs.  I love it.

This is one of the recipes that I prepped before camp.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

5-6 cloves of garlic   pressed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger   grated
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch   mixed with 6 T. water
1 12 cups soy sauce   (I prefer Aloha Shoyu)
1 14 cups sugar
14 cup vinegar
5 pounds chicken thighs   (bone-in) skin removed
green onions   chopped (optional)


Parmesan Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta

You know those old recipe books that are tattered and torn? This recipe comes from one of those cookbooks that my mother gave to me many, many years ago. It is called the Panguitch Relief Society Cookbook and it was probably published in the late 70’s. It is is tried and true. I love serving this with spaghetti squash or zoodles if you’re trying to watch your carbs. I love having this dish as an early dinner the night before I do a long run or a long bike ride and have a mixture of angel hair with zoodles. It’s delish!

Parmesan Chicken

2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise (use a really sharp knife)

Olive oil

3/4c. Italian bread crumbs

For the sauce:

1 large can of Contadina tomato sauce (I like this brand best)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 T. Butter

Heat in pan until butter melts

2/3 c. Parmesean cheese, finely grated

1 c. Mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated or sliced thin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  To prepare chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise.

Coat chicken on both sides with Italian bread crumbs. Pour a generous amount of olive oil in skillet and turn on medium high heat.  When oil is hot, place each chicken breast in pan and brown on both sides.  Remove from heat and place in baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Set aside.


For the sauce, in a sauté pan mix together tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and butter.  Heat until boiling and butter melts.

Pour sauce on top of chicken breasts and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil (tip: to prevent aluminum foil sticking to cheese, spray it with cooking spray) Place in oven and bake for 30 min.

The last 15 min of cooking time for the chicken, prepare angel hair.  Notice my awesome pasta measurer that my hubs 3D printed for me.  Watch soon for a giveaway for one of these :).  So handy!! Drain the pasta as soon as it has cooked to your liking.  I like 4-5 min, drain and run under cool water.  Set aside.


Ahhhhh look at that deliciousness :).  We are going to make it even more delicious and sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese on top, but remove the aluminum foil first and place back in the oven for about 5-7 min or until cheese melts.


Oh, and one side note:  Friend Friday will resume next week.  This week I’ll be gone to our awesome girls camp and, of course, I’m the camp cook. LOL.  Have a great week everyone and stay tuned for my giveaway next week!!


Look at this darling mama!! Isn’t she just beautiful?!!! She really is beautiful on the inside and the outside. Sharon is my daughter -in-law’s sister and from the first time I met her, I was so impressed with her. She is one of the most grateful women that I have met and her beautiful girls are just as polite. That is one great little mama! I’ve been hearing what a great cook Sharon is and so I’m really excited for her to share with us today. Thanks so much for sharing with us today. So here’s Sharon!!!

Growing up my sisters and I would spend summers in Mexico with our grandparents. I enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with my grandma which is where my interest in cooking began. I was always coming up with new recipe creations for my family to try. Needless to say, some were very interesting and not appetizing at all! To this day I like using recipes as a guide verses a step by step instruction (which is why I am not a very good baker). I enjoy looking through recipe books, meal planning, and cooking for our family of four. Things are busy with two toddlers and cooking meals, though crazy at times, is where I get a little of me time. This recipe originates from the Clean Eats cookbook.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Burgers

1# of ground chicken

1 small onion diced

1 garlic minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 teaspoon of salt

Juice of 1 lemon

Combine herbs and seasoning into a bowl.

Then add the juice of one lemon and ground chicken. Mix together with your hands.

Form into four equal size burgers. I use burger molds.

Grill over medium/high heat 5-6 minutes per side. Insure the internal temperature of the chicken burgers is 165 degrees. Serve with any of the suggested toppings, customize as you would like, on your favorite bun.
Suggested Toppings:
caramelized red onions

sliced tomatoes

baby spinach


thousand island dressing

Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo


Peg’s Sautéed Chicken with Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce and Roasted Broccoli with Rice (a fast fix, no really. I’m not kidding. :)

Ahhhhhh what should I make for dinner tonight?  Isn’t that the question of the day some times?  You may be very organized and do not have this problem and if you are props to you, Sista!!🙌🏻 I like to have a menu planned ( #lifesavor) and do most weeks, but this weekend was a pretty busy weekend for this bunch, so a menu for the week was not planned.  I thought I would do a little something more adventurous tonight. You know those cooking shows where the chefs have to make something out of the ingredients the host places before them?  Well, tonight I decided to do my own version of that, except I would use only the ingredients that I had on hand, which are the following:   

First thing I did was start the sticky rice in my rice cooker.  I like using the Nishiki brand (white or brown is delish). 

The next step is to start the roasted broccoli.  Here is the recipe:

1/2 Package of broccoli (I like Costco:)

Sprinkle with olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. 

Place aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, spread broccoli on foil  (try not to overlap), and slices of red onion (optional).  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place broccoli in oven for 7 min. Take out, stir and put back in oven for another 5 min or until your liking. 

Make sure you set the timer on your broccoli!  I’ve had to learn the hard way haha. 

While the broccoli is cooking, prepare the chicken:

4 Chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise 

1 c. Flour or cornstarch, if you have celiacs 

2 Eggs, whisked together with kosher salt and pepper

2 T. Butter

2 T. Olive oil

For the sauce:

1 Clove Garlic (not shown in pic. 😂Okay, you got me. I cheated a little😝)

1 Pkg Shiitake mushrooms

2 T. Flour or cornstarch 

1/3 c. White wine

1 c. Chicken broth

1 c. Parmesan cheese

Lemon, just a drizzle though. You don’t want this to over power your sauce. Add at the very end of cooking. 

Directions for chicken:

Lightly dredge chicken in egg mixture and then in flour, set aside. 

Tip:  Do not stack the chicken breasts on the plate or the coating will come off. 

Heat large pan on medium-high heat and melt the 2 T. Butter and olive oil together. Place chicken in pan once the oil/butter mixture is hot. Let cook for about 5 min or until it is nice and brown looking and don’t worry if some of the coating comes off. It’s okay. Turn and cook the other side about 5-7 min, depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. I like to cut into one of the thicker ones just slightly to make sure there is no pink. Remove from pan and place on platter. Cover with aluminum foil. 

Now–don’t forget about that broccoli in the oven. It should be done by now or close to it :).  When it’s done, tent with foil to keep warm. 

Directions for the mushroom sauce:

Drizzle olive oil in pan (you can use the same pan as you cooked your chicken in. Just scrape off the flour that came off the chicken while cooking and discard) on med-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant then add mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are done–around 5-10 min. Add 2 T. flour or cornstarch, stir.

Now it’s time to add the white wine.  Cook about 2-3 min until alcohol burns off and then slowly add the 1 c. chicken broth. Cook for a couple of minutes or until thickened.  If it is too thick add a bit of water to thin.  

Add the chicken to the mushroom sauce.

Sprinkle with 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese and drizzle with fresh lemon, not too much.  I didn’t even use a quarter of a wedge for mine.  I topped this with the remaining parm cheese and chopped tomatoes.  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!!

Chicken Tikka Masala

One of our family’s favorite menu item to order when going to an Indian Restaurant is Chicken Tikka Masala.  I have tried numerous recipes to duplicate the robust taste of a good Tikka Masala recipe to no avail until today!!  This recipe is definitely a 5 star in our book and I’ll be making it many more times to come.

Chicken Tikka Masala


1 1Lbs. Organic Chicken Breast, chopped into bite size pieces


1 C. Plain Yogurt

2 T. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Cumin

2 tsp. Red Pepper

2 tsp. Black Pepper

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Ground Ginger


1/4 C. Cilantro (for garnish)

1 T. Unsalted Butter

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Jalapeño, minced

2 tsp. Ground Coriander

1 heaping tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Paprika

1 heaping tsp. Garam Masala1

1⁄tsp. Salt

2 cans(15oz) Tomato Sauce

1-2 C. Heavy Whipping Cream (must be heavy)


For the Marinade:


Cut chicken in 1″ cubes.  I like cutting my chicken in half lengthwise and then cutting against the grain of the chicken.  Also, my chicken was partially frozen, which makes it easier to cut.


Combine the 1 C. yogurt, juice from 1 lemon (about 2 T), cinnamon, ground ginger, cumin, red pepper, salt and pepper in a zip lock bag and add chicken.  Let marinade in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or I let mine marinade for all day.


Remove chicken from marinade and discard leftover marinade.  Put marinated chicken on skewers and grill or if you’re in a pinch, you can do it in a pan on the stove, but grilling is the preferred method.


Cook until nice and brown.  Set aside.

For the Sauce:


Mince Jalapeño and garlic, also lightly chop some cilantro for the garnish


Sauté Jalapeño and garlic in pan on medium high for 2 min. or until fragrant.  Add coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt.  Now we need to bloom those spices, which means we need to cook them for a couple of minutes until they are fragrant, but be careful not to let them burn and stir, stir, stir. This is key to any Indian dish.


Stir in tomato sauce and cook until thickened–about 15 min


Remove cooled chicken of skewers and place in tomato sauce and add 2 C. milk.  Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro and don’t forget your veggies :).


TOMORROW I HAVE A SPECIAL SURPRISE GUEST ON THE BLOG for FRIEND FRIDAY.  Each Friday I’ll have a different guest sharing a recipe, a fitness tip, nutrition tidbits or other nuggets of info!  You won’t want to miss it!! 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This recipe is a great one to make after a long day at work, or at school or a crazy day home with the kiddos.  Here’s the skinny (or the carbs haha).

First thing is first–like your mama said, “WASH YOUR HANDS” 🙂 and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Here are the ingredients:

Motz cheese

Olive Oil

Boneless Chicken Breasts

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

Purple Onion

Pre-made Pizza Crusts 


*Harmon’s makes an excellent pizza dough you can buy at the store. Located by the deli counter.  Today I am using the pre-made crust to save time.


This pre-grilled chicken from Costco is a great option too if you’re in a big hurry, but I wanted to show you how I like to cook the chicken breasts.  It’s great to cook extra to have in the fridge for salads, panini sandwiches or just for a snack.


Slice chicken lengthwise with a sharp knife.  Dull knife = dangerous knife–yikes!


Slice chicken AGAINST the grain so it’s tender.  When you slice WITH the grain it is tougher to chew.  Good tip for any meat.


Sprinkle chicken with Kosher salt and pepper.  I like to rub it all over so it is even.

Sauté chicken in olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium high heat.


Cook chicken until no longer pink, but don’t cook too long or that will result in dry chicken, plus you’re going to cook it for another 10 min. in the oven.


Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate; pat dry with paper towel; add bbq sauce to chicken (just as much as you like).  Put some bbq sauce on the crust and a thin layer of cheese.  

*At this point, if using the Harmon’s unbaked dough, place dough on pizza stone, put a thin layer of olive oil and prick crust with a fork. Par bake the crust at 400 degrees for 7 -8 min and then put the BBQ sauce and the thin later of cheese then add remaining toppings. 


Place chicken with bbq sauce on top.


AND MORE CHEESE, BABY 🙂 and add sliced red onion for the last topping.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 min. (mine took 15 min).


OOOOOlala!!  The cheese is that beautiful color that I love on pizza and I’m ready to EAT!


Don’t forget your veggies!  I made a small iceberg wedge salad with homemade poppyseed dressing (recipe will follow) to complement this entrée.


It’s delish!!  Enjoy!


Poppyseed Dressing Recipe (credit to Pej and one of my most requested recipes :))

1/2 t. poppyseeds

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. dried mustard

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. olive oil

3/4 t. grated red onion

Mix well in Vitamix on a low speed.  Don’t mix too long or it will go really thick.  Refrigerate.  Best made a few hours in advance so it has time to chill.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos


Slow cooker tacos???  And it’s not even Tuesday??  Haha.  I love the delicious goodness of a slow cooker meal, especially when it’s ready after I get home from working all day.  Hallelujah!!

This meal is one of my favs because it takes just about 10 min. to put together, and you don’t even have to thaw out the chicken breasts!  

Serves 4-6

Costco Flour Tortillas (the uncooked kind)

2 Chicken Breasts, frozen  (I like using 1 package organic chicken breasts from Costco) If not using frozen, cook less time so it won’t be dry

1 can Black Beans

1 small can of green chilies

3/4 bottle of the Costco Organic Salsa in the jar (can you tell I like Costco yet LOL)

Add Chili Powder & Cumin at the end of cooking (about a 1/2 t. – 1 t. of each to taste

Cook on low 6-8 hours, but don’t overcook because it turns out dry. Yuck!  

Cook tortillas and top those babies off with guacamole, sour cream, pico, cheddar cheese and whatever else you love on tacos.  Enjoy!

As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, a recipe is just a guideline so play with it and let me know what you come up with to spice things up (haha no pun intended).