Saturday, November 27, 2010

Getting Crafty: Thankful

I made a couple of very simple cards the other day with scraps of paper.

Stamps: CTMH Give Thanks (D1110) and Season of Change (C1200)
Inks: CTMH Cranberry, Chocolate & Olive

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Internet Shopping

I'm no fool! I would rather not get up at 5am for a good sale, only to be elbowed by grandma over the sale bin. Oh no! Actually I haven't been Black Friday Shopping since college. I'd rather not deal with the sleep deprived grouchy and crazies out there. I'm also rather attached to my extremities. I'd rather keep them.

Instead, I woke up at a decent hour, made some coffee and surfed the internet for great deals. Here's some of what I found:

Banana Republic: Free shipping on orders over $50 plus 40% off (until 12pm only)
Gymboree: 30% off entire purchase (until 12pm only)
Harry & David: 25% off purchase or free shipping (can use one or the other, for me free shipping was better deal)

What's Bakin?: Pumpkin Squares

I spent Thanksgiving with some friends. I was in charge of dessert. I made my mommy's pumpkin squares. I love the shortbread crust and the creamy pumpkin filling! It's always a hit. Gobble gobble!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Gobble gobble! These were arts and crafts projects from last year with my niece. Hope you all have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

Ehiku and I stayed in today due to the arctic-like conditions outside. I think she says it best. This is basically what she did all day long. Must be rough to be a cat.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Travel Deals

While everyone else is elbowing their way through sale bins and clothes racks and standing in long lines at the register, why not take advantage of deals online? There are a lot of Travel Deals to be had this year.

Some of the ones that caught my attention:
- Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort (sale starts Nov 29th) room rates starting at $149 per night for travel Jan 1 - April 30th (45% off room rates)

- Gate 1 Travel (sale on Nov 26th only) has a sale on all its vacation packages. $50 off packages $500 or more, $100 off on $1000 or more, $250 off $2500 or more.

- (sale runs from now until Cyber Monday) has various promotions with great discounts.

If you've been thinking of booking a trip for 2011, be sure to browse these specials. There are quite a few great deals out there. I may be booking my next adventure! Merry Christmas to me!

Restaurant Rambling: Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. (Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii)

Right in Kalaheo town is a cafe and coffee house that is popular. They serve great breakfasts and Kauai coffee.

I love these metal doors.

I had my standard, the Up Country Breakfast (2 eggs with rice and Portuguese sausage and toast). Yum!

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.
2-2560 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, HI
ph: (808) 332-5858

Restaurant Rambling: Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill (Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii)

I had wanted to check out Josselin's Tapas the last time I was on Kauai but they weren't quite open yet. This time, I was in luck. They were open for business. I went with some friends on my last night home.

The decor was warm and inviting. It was very loud in the restaurant.

Josselin's has yummy sangrias. I tried the pomegranate sangria. For dinner, I tried the Seared Diver Scallops. They were yummy!

The Potato Crusted Opah was absolutely delicious!

Josselin's has great food. The prices are high and service left something to be desired. Our dishes arrived okay but we were ignored for quite a while after being served. We had to ask for our bill and ask that they eventually run our cards. We were also the only ones left in the restaurant while we were being ignored. The most attentive server was the busser who got a great tip.

I also had a problem with a fine dining restaurant that had tables set with chipped and dirty plates. It was very tacky! There were also a lot of fruit flies at the restaurant that night. The table next to us had a bottle of wine open that seemed to be attracting all of the fruit flies. It was very off putting seeing them swarm on the bottle. Eww, glad I wasn't drinking that!

Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill
Kukui'ula Shopping Village
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St
Poipu, HI
ph: (808) 742-7117

Deceptively Beautiful Morning

Ahh, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the birds are chirping and it's only 24 degrees outside. WHAT??!! Yep, you heard me. Today's high will reach a whopping 31 degrees and our low will be 22. Brrr!! Unfortunately, no snow in the forecast. Bummers! I was looking forward to it.

Apparently we had it good yesterday. The snow and ice caused a nightmare for our friends up north in Seattle. The news was reporting that some people leaving work at 3pm got stuck on the freeways until 1:30am. Crazy!!

Here's the view on my street this morning. You can see my tire tracks. Hee hee. Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Day

I waited all day for the snow. I had the day off today. I never have the day off when it snows. I'm usually one of those suckers driving to work or from work in it. Last year we had a freak snowstorm and it took me 3 1/2 hours to drive my normal 1/2 hour home.

This time I was excited to get to watch it from my couch. They predicted a 1pm dusting on Portland. I had plans to go see Harry Potter tonight. I hoped I wouldn't interfere with my plans. I had waited all weekend. I was going to see Harry!!

1pm came and went and still no snow. Disappointed, I went to the mall. I had dinner with friends and got to see the new Harry Potter movie (geeky, I know). When the movie let out, there was SNOW!!

I got to drive home in the snow. It wasn't too bad, just a mild dusting. By the time I got home, it had stopped. It looks pretty pathetic doesn't it?

Hopefully they'll be more tomorrow. I'm so glad I'm not going to work tomorrow. The overnight low is forecasted to drop into the high teens or low twenties. Lots of ice on the roads tomorrow. As for me, I'll be sitting by the fireplace with my hot chocolate. Ahhh...gotta love snow days!

Koloa Rum Company (Puhi, Kauai, Hawaii)

Since we were at Kilohana for the food festival, my friend Dawn and I stopped in at the Koloa Rum Company.

Koloa Rum Company has started distilling their own rum on Kauai. There are 3 types of rums: gold, dark and white. There are free tastings every 1/2 hour in the rum room. The tasting is limited to 20 guests. Stand in line on the porch to reserve your spot.
During the tasting, we sampled the white and dark rum. We also had a splash of their Kukui Brand Mai Tai Mix. If you don't drink all of your rum, they'll show you how to make a mini mai tai at the end. The drink mix was very yummy! It was tropical flavored and made with pure cane sugar.

At the end you also are able to taste their rum chocolate sauce and rum cake.

Koloa Rum Company at Kilohana
3-2087 Kaumuali'i Hwy 50
Lihue, HI
ph: (808) 246-8900

The Garden Island Range & Food Festival 2010

I happened to be on Kauai when the 2010 Garden Island Range & Food Festival was going on. I originally wanted to go because I saw that a high school classmate of mine was cooking. It was $35 for adults. Some friends and I made a date to go and check it out. When I got there, my chef classmate wasn't there. BOO! Another friend said that he had gotten a job and moved to Oahu.

The Range & Food Festival is a showcase of Kauai's cattlemen, farmers and chefs. This is their second year producing this festival. The food is prepared by some of the best Kauai chefs. The meats and produce come fresh from Kauai's farmers. This year it was hosted at the Kilohana Plantation in Puhi.

Here's some of the dishes I tried:

RED VEAL - Za'atar roasted veal with carrot cumin puree, honey-glazed baby carrots, starfruit-juniper salsa by 22 degrees North Restaurant and Bar (Executive Chef Andrew Althouse & Chef de Cuisine Aaron Leikam).

This was a yummy dish. I loved the carrot puree.
BEEF CROSS RIB - Szechuan-style braised short rib steamed but with arugula pecan mushroom salad by Josselin's Tapas Bar and Grill (Executive Chef & Owner Jean-Marie Josselin).

The short rib bun was good. It had a great wasabi sauce on it. The salad was a little too soggy.

BEEF SHANK - Spice-braised beef shank with ginger brown butter and ulu gnocci by Oasis On The Beach (Executive Chef Zach Sato).

The beef was okay but the gnocci was way too chewy.

KANESHIRO LAMB - Braised achiote-calamansi lamb tostada, refried borracho beans, avocado vinaigrette, chili lime crema by Sheraton Kauai Resort (Executive Chef Leanne Kamekona & Sous Chef Jr. Pascual)

This was my favorite dish of the day. The lamb was perfectly cooked. It didn't have the gamey taste at all. The tostada was crisp and held up nicely. The sauces were excellent! I want more!!!
BEEF TONGUE - Braised beef tongue, kabocha pumpkin hash, ginger-tomato jam, sriracha hollandaise by St. Regis Princeville (Executive Chef Franco Diaz)

This was my first adventure eating beef tongue. It was actually okay. It tastes like beef but with a different texture. I think I would have enjoyed this dish much more if the tongue was sliced thinner. It was too chunky and with the texture, it weirded me out. The kabocha pumpin hash was absolutely delicious though!

Chef Diaz also made dessert. The lady in line before me took 4. After I tasted it, I could see why. I'm not sure what's in it but it was heavenly. I think it was a apple banana bread topped with a creamy chocolate mousse. Two thumbs up!
BEEF NECK - Spicy cinnamon-scented braised beef in a cucumber cup by Hukilau Lanai (Executive Chef & Owner Ron Miller)

The beef neck in this dish was good. The cucumber was marinated Japanese style and was way too vinegary.
KANESHIRO PIG - Whole roasted pig served in a lettuce cup with tomato-onion relish by Brennecke's Beach Broiler (Executive Chef David Boucher & Chef de Cuisine Arnold Gabriel)

This dish was disappointing. The pig was cooked perfectly. It was soft and tender and melting in your mouth. It was missing salt though. It was very bland.

There was a vegetarian dish that I really enjoyed but forgot to take a picture of. Believe me, it was yummy!


The samosas were stuffed with a variety of Kauai potatoes (mine had a purple tinge) and Indian spices. It was good!

There were a few more stations that I didn't try. This was a great food festival with a great variety of dishes and was reasonably priced. I hope I'm on the island next year for it again!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... wonder I'm so cold. Here's the forecast for the Portland metro area. The snow level is dropping. Get out your snow tires and chains. They're predicting snow this weekend into next week. UGH!!!

I like snow. It's pretty; as long as I don't have to drive around in it with all the other crazies out there. It's gonna be a very cold week!! Get out your hot chocolate and snuggle by the fireplace!

Restaurant Rambling: Brick Oven Pizza (Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii)

On every visit home, I must have pizza at Brick Oven Pizza. Growing up, their pizza was the yummiest. A few years ago, the business changed hands. I have to say, the pizza is not as good now. It's very disappointing because I remember how good it was before. Brick Oven's pizza are also very expensive. I was willing to pay that much before for good pizza. One time I even ordered a pizza, Food Saver'ed it and stuck it in my suitcase to take back to Oregon. I know, crazy huh? Now, not so much.

We ordered a large Brick Oven Super (homemade sausage, cheese, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, Italian sausage, lean beef, Portuguese sausage, smoked ham, green onions & bell peppers) on wheat with the garlic brushed crust. Prices have gone up...way up. This baby costs $35.

The crust was super thin and the toppings were lacking. There wasn't enough cheese to hold everything together. Once again, it was disappointing. Their Italian dressing is good and I usually dip my crust in it. They now charge 90 cents for a side of dressing. Seriously?

I'm not sure I would order another pizza from them. I'm that disappointed. I was probably their biggest fan. I hear that they do a lunch buffet. That maybe a more reasonable choice.

The garlic cheese bread wasn't good. It was $6. I think they forgot the garlic because it was just cheddar cheese on bread. There was not taste. I'm so sad!

Brick Oven Pizza
2-2555 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, HI
ph: (808) 332-8561

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Finds: Lawai Menehune Food Mart Manju

I remember Mr Akaji's manju. When we were little, my mom used to take my brother and I with her to Lihue for our weekly shopping. On the way there, we would stop at Mr. Akaji's small storefront. There, in glass and wood cases, he displayed that morning's fresh manju. He made manju in all kinds of flavors. There was black bean (an), peach, pineapple, apple, etc. We could each pick one. My favorite was the pineapple. Mr. Akaji made the best manju!

Mr. Akaji passed away some time ago and so went his wonderful manju. Today, there are various places to find manju on Kauai. When I'm home, I usually stop at Lawai Menehune Food Mart. They make manju fresh daily. Let me tell you, they're no where near what Mr. Akaji made but they'll do.

Mmm....yummy peach pineapple insides.
I hand carried some of these treats back home with me to Oregon. I brought them into work to share. One of my nursing friends had one and was in love. She came back to "visit" but I knew she really wanted another one. The next day, there was still some left and she had another. It's like baked crack for her!

You can find these yummy treats at

Lawai Menehune Food Mart
2-3687 Kaumualii Highway
Lawai, HI

Restaurant Rambling: Jo Jo's Anuenue Shaved Ice & Treats (Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii)

I crave shaved ice (also known as shave ice). Even when it's winter in Oregon, I sometimes want a light fluffy shave ice with sugary sweet tropical flavors drizzled on top. Maybe it's the snow we sometimes get here that makes me think of shaved ice. And in case you're wondering, NO, it's not the same as a snow cone. Snow cones have chunky bits of ice. Shaved ice is exactly what it sounds like, heavenly shavings of ice.

Speaking of shaved ice, I have a funny story. When I was in my second year in college, there was a new bunch of kids from Hawaii that came in as freshman. I got to know some and we became friends. I remember the first snowfall of the year. I was rudely woken up at 5am by the phone with, "IT'S SNOWING!". "Big deal," I said, "I'm going back to sleep". Soon after there was pounding on my door. My freshman friends who were experiencing their first snowfall wanted to go out and play. No way, been there, done that. They were persistent. Not to mention the fact that they wouldn't leave my room!

We played in the snow that morning for hours. The college was hilly. We got to sled (with cardboard boxes, of course) and built a Hawaiian snowman. I should note that all the other white kids thought we were crazy. It was a Saturday morning. Plus, who hasn't seen snow, right? Our snowman was the most awesome ever. It was over 6 ft tall and we picked foliage to make a grass skirt and a haku for his head. I'm sure we're on a most wanted list for picking all those plants.

Anyway, one of my friends was so excited about the snow and the prospect of having shaved ice. He scooped some snow up into a bowl and poured Hawaiian Sun Guava juice on it and proceeded to eat it. Ewww!! You know the joke about yellow snow cones. I refused to eat it. Besides, what about all that extra protein (bugs) that maybe in there? I passed.

Jo Jo's has been an icon in Waimea forever. Some people are confused, as there are two Jo Jo's locations. They both serve shaved ice. What to do? The story goes like this.....The original location (the shack on the side of the road, across from Waimea High School) was founded by Aunty Jo Jo. She sold the shaved ice business to go back to teaching full time. Friends and family begged her to return to the shaved ice business. She opened up again just around the corner from the original. It's a very small space but she makes it work. She hired some of her students to work there.

To find it, drive into Waimea town. Right across the street from Waimea High School, you'll see the original Jo Jo's Shave Ice Shack (on your left). That's NOT the one. Take your first left hand turn after that and you'll turn onto Pokole Road. It's the second shop on your right. Park on the street and step inside.

There's a few dozen flavors you can choose from and a handful of "extras". If you only choose one extra, go for the vanilla macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom of your shaved ice. It's a winner and you won't be sorry!!

Jo Jo's has taken some of the guess work out of your hands. If you you're indecisive, choose one of their special creations. I went for the #4 special: Tropical Anuenue Special (vanilla mac nut ice cream bottom with mango, guava and lilikoi syrup). I also added li hing powder to the top.

Here they are making my shaved ice. The best shaved ice is made with a huge block of ice. Excellent!

Ahhh, this really hit the spot after a day at the beach. It was a windy day and my li hing powder flew everywhere. It was delicious!! Notice that because the shaved ice is so soft and fluffy, it's melting immediately in the hot Waimea sun!

For your perfect shaved ice; minus the yellow snow cone, visit Jo Jo's Anuenue in Waimea.

Jo Jo's Anuenue Shaved Ice & Treats
5 Pokole Road
Waimea, HI 97696

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hawaii Cookbooks

Hello, my name is Holly and I like cookbooks. I think I have a problem. An intervention maybe in order. I love cookbooks. I especially like ones with pretty pictures.

Everytime I go home to Hawaii, I make a stop at the bookstore to browse the local cookbook section. I always end up buying a book.

As you can see, Lihue's Borders has a good selection of Hawaii cookbooks.

This time was no exception. I came home with one in tow. Did I tell you I like cookbooks? *blush*

Monday, November 15, 2010

What's Cookin?: Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)

I tried to gather the ingredients for this recipe in Portland but was unsuccessful. I wasn't able to find the sazon seasoning or the sofrito sauce. Luckily, I was 1 for 2 in Hawaii. I found the sazon seasoning but not the sofrito sauce. I decided to make my own sofrito. In case you're wondering, sazon seasoning looks like this.

Since I've never tried carne guisada before, I can't tell you if my version is what it's really supposed to taste like. It tasted just like a beef stew but with a deeper flavor. I like it.

Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 0z.) can tomato sauce
2 packets sazon seasoning
2 Tbsp. adobo seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt to taste
2-3 lb. beef stew meat
flour (for dredging)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
about 1 cup water

1) Lightly salt and pepper the beef stew meat. Dredge in flour and fry in a large pot. Brown on all sides. When done browning, drain off the excess oil. Add about 1 cup water (or enough) until the meat is just covered. Bring the water to a boil and cook for about 45 minutes.

2) In a smaller pot, saute onions and bell peppers in a little bit of vegetable oil until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes and simmer over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sazon seasoning, adobo seasoning, oregano and salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

3) Pour the sauce into the large pot with the stew meat. Bring the stew to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4) Serve with rice. Yummy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Wine Garden (Puhi, Kauai, Hawaii)

This wine shop off the highway in Puhi, across from Kauai Community College, caught my eye. I was just curious as to their selection of wine so I stopped in one day.

The Wine Garden has been in business on Kauai for about 7 years now. It's a small wine shop but they actually have a good selection of wines from the US. I also noticed some great Oregon wines so they immediately won brownie points with me. The owner offers these wines at very reasonable prices. I was actually surprised. She also had a good selection of international wines from Italy, France, etc.

The Wine Garden
4495 Puhi Road (across from Kauai Community College)
Lihue, HI
ph: (808) 245-5766

Kapaia Stitchery (Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii)

I'm not a quilter. I would love to learn how. In fact, visiting Kapaia Stitchery makes me want to learn how. I'll even confess, I've bought some quilting books and patterns from them in the past for "just in case". Am I pathetic or what?

I haven't been to Kapaia Stitchery in a while. My mother's grave is at a cemetery near the store. While tending to my graveyard duties and on a whim, I made a gut instinct stop here. Even if I didn't quilt, they always have beautiful fabric, crafts and things to look at. I would look today.

These quilts are the ones that scream to me, "learn how to make me". They're so cute huh? This one is of turtles or honu. As you can see, they have a vast and gorgeous selection of Hawaiian, Asian and batik print fabric.

This cute hula girl quilt makes me smile.

Okay this just made me laugh. Kauai chickens. Haha! These were the buggers waking me up so early in the morning but they were cute. My nieces may like these.

This was way cute. These adorable Hawaiian angel ornaments came home with me. They'll make a great Christmas stocking stuffer.

If you're ever on Kauai and you're a crafter, check out Kapaia Stitchery. Besides fabric and quilting things, they have a decent selection of premade gift times such as bags, potholders, book covers, etc. It's a great place to shop for gifts. One visit here will also make you want to get crafting again!
Kapaia Stitchery
3-3551 Kuhio Hwy (across from the Lihue Hongwangi Mission Church & right before to turn off to Wailua Falls)
Lihue, HI
ph: (808) 245-2281