Miniature Musubi

Mini Musubi Party Appetizer // Frock Files

It’s taken me awhile to post this recipe because I often receive comments and emails asking for recipes to be vegan. But then I realized: Aha! Top this with avocado or cucumbers (vegan) or egg (vegetarian) or chicken/tuna (everyone who’s scared of Spam), and you’re all set.

Spam musubi (moo-soo-BEE) is one of those foods from Hawaii that people are leery of until they try them. And then they’re huuuuuuuge fans. I’ve seen the magic happen with my own eyes. James will attest to being a convert, himself!

And in miniature, I think these are the perfect little appetizer for warm weather parties.

Mini Musubi Party Appetizer // Frock Files


3 cups cooked white rice
2 slices Spam
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
Nori (15 strips cut to approximately 3/4″ x 3 1/2″)


1. Brown the Spam in a frying pan. While it’s browning, mix the soy sauce and sugar in a bowl, then transfer it to a flat, rimmed plate, baking dish, or bowl.

2. Place the browned Spam into the soy sauce/sugar marinade. After five minutes, flip the Spam over. After another five minutes, pan fry the Spam until it reaches the desired doneness. (Some people like it REALLY dark. I like mine golden brown.) Slice each piece into 5 even strips.

3. Form the rice into small, long pieces like nigiri. You can do this by wetting your hands with water, forming a small amount of rice into a ball, and shaping it in the space between your palm and your second knuckle. This video gives a great tutorial on shaping the rice:

4. Wrap each with a strip of nori. Seal the ends with water. Try not to eat them all by yourself!

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Lovely Things in Hawaii

Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013 Frock Files in Hawaii 2013

Now that we’ve been home for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down and pulled together some of the photos of our time there. These are a few of my favorite things, including the chapel outside the Wai’oli Tea Room, dessert with the Professors Dawson at JJ’s, flowers in the gardens at the Spalding House, and breakfast with my family at Town. Of course, my niece Jolie ranks at the top of that list!


More Oahu Treasures

Frock Files: Oahu Recommendations

We’re back! If you’ve been following along on my Instagram feed, you already know that we had a wonderful trip full of time with my family. Going home always gets our wheels turning about how we could spend part of the year (say, January through April?) in Hawaii, if only we could figure out a way. Does anyone have a couple mil to spare? We’ve got our eye on the cute neighborhood where we rent our vacation cottage.

Quite a few people have asked for Oahu recommendations, and I remembered that I listed a bunch of good places to eat in this City Guide when I got back from my annual pilgrimage last year. I have even more places to add this time around. Hawaii just gets better with age!

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsHoliday Palms Cottage: We loved staying in this little cottage on the Windward side of the island. The area is the definition of lush, with unbelievably green mountains and to-die-for views of the ocean as you drive in.

The cottage itself is cozy, clean, and bright, with a comfortable bed and, perhaps most importantly, air conditioning! There is also a great little private outdoor patio with a table and a grill. We loved the neighborhood, which is a five minute walk from the beach and just a couple of blocks from lots of restaurants and shops, including the brand new Whole Foods. Not to worry, lots of independent boutiques and eateries are scattered in with the bigger stores.

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsHo’omaluhia Botanical Gardens: I feel like I’m letting you in on a secret here, because the gardens are almost always empty when I visit them but they’re one of the best things on the island. These gardens are my idea of Eden. The land is divided by the geographic areas from which the plants hail. There really aren’t any words to describe how beautiful it is there. Camping is allowed, so if you’re adventurous (I’m not), you could even pitch a tent and skip the cost of accommodations all together!

Sugarcane: You may remember that we bought a mirror from Sugarcane last year. Over the course of the year, owner Jill and I became great fans of each other’s Instagram feeds, and I’ve fallen even more in love with her shop. Let me tell you, if I hadn’t already finished most of my Christmas shopping, I could’ve done it all at Jill’s boutique. Vintage teacups, cute t-shirts, and bright pillows line the shelves here. You can even take home a little beach in a jar for your friends who can’t make the trip themselves. My favorite: seeing an array of Ten Things jewelry in real life. I’m such a big fan of Kerri’s! I bought one of her turquoise bracelets and I’m positive it’s good luck.

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsThe Spalding House: Up in hills above Honolulu sits this magical piece of land. The 3.5 acre property (almost unheard of in Hawaii) was once owned by the Cookes of Castle and Cooke. Today, it’s owned by the Honolulu Museum of Art. The home was turned into a gallery which houses rotating exhibits of contemporary artwork. But the real treat is the beautifully manicured garden, the sloping lawn, and the view of Diamond Head that is perfectly framed by two Banyan Trees.

We enjoyed all these places and some of the ones from the City Guide before flying out last Tuesday night. On the way home, we stayed in LA for a day to decompress and break up the trip, and most importantly, to have dinner with my oldest friend and his completely lovely girlfriend. Now we’re home and somewhat surprised to find ourselves preparing for Christmas!

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re already preparing for the next visit.

P.S. Want more Oahu recommendations? Check out my City Guide for Honolulu.

Thanksgiving Bon Voyage

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Like so many of you, we’re heading home today to spend Thanksgiving with family. Mine lives all the way in Hawaii, which is a pretty long trip from New England. But the many hours on a plane are always worth it because my family is amazing and, well, what kind of person complains about having to travel to Hawaii?

Anyone who’s migrated from place to place knows that one of the downfalls is leaving a piece of your heart behind every time you move. Over the years, the missing part has become harder and harder. When I lived in Portland, I desperately missed the seasons in New England. Now that I’m back here, I really miss my friends and a bunch of little spots that I came to love in Portland. And, oh, Hawaii. My whole family lives there and I miss out on weekly family brunches, all of my niece and nephew’s birthdays, and the lovely comfort of growing into adulthood alongside people you’ve known all your life.

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Occasionally, I get the urge to move back home and my island friends and family laugh at me. “You? Here? You’d get antsy in a month!” Which is true. (They know me so well.) I’ve lived almost my entire adult life off the island.

So these annual trips home are precious to me, especially now that I get to share them with James. We love staying in Kailua and driving right next to — and through — the unbelievably lush mountains. We love going to the KCC open market at sunrise on Saturday with my parents. We love having shave ice with my sister’s family, hanging out on the North Shore, and pretending to be tourists while sipping umbrella cocktails at the Mai Tai Bar.

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

I’m so thankful for the abundance of beauty in my life, both here and in Hawaii, and for the ability to go back every year. Wherever you may be traveling — whether one block or thousands of miles — I hope that you’re also surrounded by love and good eats.

P.S. I’m taking the rest of this week off, but check back next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for gift guide, recipe, and DIY posts! And follow me on Instagram to see what we’re up to in the aloha state!


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Simple Recipe: Butter Mochi

Easy and Decadent Butter Mochi

Since we’re headed back to Hawaii next week, I thought it might be a good time to roll out a recipe from my home state. Butter mochi lies somewhere between a custard and a cake — it’s sweet, fluffy, and sticky all at once.

This is one of my favorite food gifts for the holidays, since people never expect it and the recipe makes enough for multiple recipients. Everyone from babies to grandparents love butter mochi. And since it’s gluten-free, it’s great for friends who have a gluten intolerance. Forget the fruitcake; mochi is where it’s at!

Easy and Decadent Butter Mochi


3 1/2 cups sweet rice flour (Mochiko)
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 eggs
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cans evaporated milk
1 can coconut milk
1 stick butter (melted)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Whisk together the sweet rice flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Beat the eggs and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add the evaporated milk, coconut milk, and butter and beat on low until combined.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, beating on low the whole time, until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Bake for 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Use a plastic knife to cut into small pieces.

P.S. If you love mochi, check out my grandma’s chi chi dango mochi, as well as my posts on pumpkin mochi and how to make mochi ice cream!

Easy and Decadent Butter Mochi

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