Friday, April 26, 2013

We Have Returned...

The last time we went to Maui, our children were much younger which made car trips unpleasant, our hotel room got messed up so we had to switch rooms twice, the kids got crazy sick, and I injured my knee so badly that I needed surgery when we got home.  

 Me, rocking a hospital gown on what was supposed to be our "date night."

None of these things are Maui's fault, yet neither my husband nor myself could really shake the dread before this trip.  I'm happy to say that this vacation was much, much better!!  Nobody needed surgery and we got to see much more of the island.  We honestly didn't understand why people liked the island before having mostly seen miles and miles of sugarcane fields and a couple of towns.  This time we saw the historic towns of Lahaina and Wailuku as well as some of the interior and even the crater of one of the volcanoes that formed Maui.  

View from the top at Haleakalā National Park.

While we were driving to the top, the clouds followed us and settled about half way up the mountain.  It was like being at the edge of the world.  On the way back down, surrounded by fog, I finally saw my first Nene (the state bird).  You never saw somebody so excited to see a goose.

I had embarked on our trip imagining we'd spend our time hopping from one trendy restaurant to the next, but my husband wasn't keen on that idea.  "I want to eat like Hawaiians eat," he said.

We did have a couple of fancy meals.  One at at the Fairmont Kea Lani and one at Cuatro in Kihei.

Our meal at was very good...

but Cuatro was better.  The best meal I had all week.

The rest of the trip, we focused on down-home Hawaiian comfort food.  On a night out, we found Mama's Ribs and Rotisserie near Napili.  Can't beat it for meat and macaroni salad, and the vegetarian lasagna was pretty good, too.

We found fresh and fabulous Malasadas at Napoleon's bakery in Kahului.

The one shining beacon from our last visit was the Olowalu General Store.  Brandon found his precious manapua and this is the hallowed spot where the boys tried their first shave ice.  To commemorate, we stopped and had, you guessed it...

and shave ice!  Done right, with vanilla ice cream on the bottom and generously dusted on top with li hing mui powder.  And doused in lots and lots of high fructose corn syrup/artificial flavorings/artificial colorants.  Like God intended.

And speaking of sugar coated awesomeness, just in case you need a reminder that sugar is a processed food, this is a sugar mill.  It's surrounded by fields of sugar cane in all directions, not terribly attractive and it's got at least two smoke stacks that periodically spew stuff into the air.  It ain't your grandma's molasses boil, folks.

Between the sugar cane fields and the volcano, is a small goat farm which produces some of the best cheese I ever ate.  Surfing Goat Dairy is a must visit if you are ever in Maui.

 These are some of the babies who had just been weaned.

 They sell rams as pets here.  If I'd been able to fit one into my carry on, we'd have been goat owners today.

There was a short tour, which I missed unfortunately, since both boys needed potty breaks.  But I assume it went something like this: These are the older goats, they're awesome.  This is where we milk the goats, it's awesome.  This is where we process the cheese, we're awesome.

Do you know what they make with the lovely milk?

 Chèvre of many flavors, and aged cheeses including feta and cheese balls.

 Mozzarella, perfect for a caprese salad.

The smoothest, fluffiest, cheesecakes I've ever had.  It's was like eating whipped cream.

 And chocolates.  Terrific, imaginative chocolates.  We had an apple curry, a mint, a couple of different kinds of lime as well as a few others.  I was not sad.
 We all loved every bite.  I am supremely sad we don't live on Maui now.

 This naughty little guy is one of the farm cats who popped by for a visit and a morsel.  Unfortunately for him, we are immune to feline pleas for people food as we've got a similar four legged stomach at home.   He is pretty though, isn't he?  Silly boy.

We proceeded from the farm to our volcano excursion, and as we were on our way down, our eldest made it known in no uncertain terms that food needed to be forthcoming in the very near future.  We stopped at a small convenience store and my husband came out with all sorts of good stuff.  Most of the gas stations we went in on Maui are nothing like gas stations on the mainland where you might find a few bagged salty things and a bland egg salad sandwich.  On Maui, bento boxes, and plate lunch items, hot food, cold pasta salads, comfort food at its finest all laid out before you in your local Shell.

We took our feast to a quiet beach and played in the tide pools until the sun went down.


I think my husband may have been on to something after all...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Down a Little Road...

I know I don't usually do this kind of post, but my friend Liesl, who has the best taste of anyone I've ever met, just opened her new store in Tacoma.  We went down yesterday to the opening and I wanted to share a little with you guys!

She paints furniture, sews pillows, makes awesome lamps out of wine barrels. She also has some items on consignment and antiques.

 Loves me some Edison bulbs...

My son found some Scrabble jewelry that he liked.

This is Liesl and her husband Curtis.  Aren't they the cutest things?  =)

 Also, there were snacks.  Yummy snacks.

Her shop is located on the middle floor of Sanford and Son's in Tacoma, WA.  To learn more about her shop and her style, don't miss her website!  If you live in the greater Seattle area, she does home design and if you don't she has an etsy store, too!  Plus, if you want to do like I do and pretend we have tea every day in her Pinterest album, check it out!

Congratulations, Liesl!  Much luck in your new space!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Snacks on a Plane...

     In getting ready for our trips, one of the biggest bags I pack is the snack bag.  It started when the boys were little and couldn't make it for 10 minutes without eating something.  Now that they are older, of course, they can't go 5 minutes...  Because meal service isn't until the flight is in the air good and proper, it surely helps to have some goodies for the boys to occupy themselves with. 

     One thing I pack every single time is hummus.  It doesn't need refrigeration, it's yummy, it doesn't smell too much, it's vegetarian, and relatively healthy and filling.  The carrot sticks and pita bread triangles, make it a quick meal with no utensils necessary.  Find my go to recipe here.  This trip, I'm also packing freeze dried bananas and rice cakes for a quick crunchy diversion.  Pirate's Booty is an absolute must for us every flight.  It's virtually the only time I buy it and the boys look forward to it every time.  That nifty green and orange container there is full of homemade yogurt.  You Moms out there all know how many cool things come in pouches now, and I found these awesome refillable ones by Boogin Head on zulily a few months ago.  I use them for applesauce, pear sauce, yogurt, hummus, even egg salad!  And last but not least, my friend Lauren turned me on to these beautiful chocolates from Trader Joe's which contain nothing but dark chocolate, honey, and peppermint oil.  Hello, darling, let me lick you...

     Another thing I do before every flight is make muffins with whatever fruit I've got leftover in the fridge.  This time, I didn't have really any fruit spoiling, but I had a large bag of mushrooms starting to look pretty pitiful in there so I decided to try a savory muffin instead.  These things are something else, folks!

Savory Mushroom and Olive Muffins
Yields 11 muffins
1 C Whole Wheat flour
1 C Unbleached White flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Skim milk
3 Medium eggs (or 2 large)
1/4 C Vegetable oil
1 C Diced mushrooms
1/4 C diced onion
1/2 tsp Finely chopped rosemary
4 tsp Chopped olives
3 Garlic cloves, pressed

Line a muffin tin with paper cups.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Whisk together dry ingredients, then add eggs, oil, and milk.  Stir until combined, then add remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to liners. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

I never thought in a million years the boys would like these.  My youngest won't touch muffins with a ten foot pole, usually.  They loved them!!  My husband wished there was a little more salt, but I say that's nothing a little butter can't fix.  Still, if you're going to be on an airplane where butter isn't readily available, perhaps doubling the salt wouldn't be a bad idea.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Quick and Clean...

     We have (thankfully) been well for the past few weeks, but I am still in the process of bulking up our immunity.  I am also in the process of cleaning out our refrigerator.  I had 3/4 of a head of cabbage in there and it was calling my name.  Mostly in an annoyed fashion at having been in there for so long.  Never one to tick off my vegetables, I set out to make something quick and simple right away. 

     I found a marinated pork shoulder at the store and brought that home to pop in the oven.  While it baked, I threw this quick cabbage salad together.  I hesitate to call this coleslaw, since the only real way to make it involves white sugar, mayonnaise, and enough cabbage to choke a horse, but it's sort of a slaw.  In that it has cabbage.  And it goes well with pork.

Cabbage Salad
3/4 head red cabbage
1 Tbs vinegar (white will do, but apple cider is better)
1 Tbs honey (more if you like it sweeter)
1/2 large lemon, juiced
1/4 C yogurt
1 tsp coriander seed lightly crushed
salt and pepper

Slice the cabbage into thin sections and then roughly chop into bite-size pieces.  Place into a large bowl.  Whisk remaining ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over cabbage.  Serve immediately.

The boys weren't sold.  They liked the pork, but said the salad was too sour.  My husband loved it together and I am crazy for the coriander in this.  It adds a whole new dimension to an otherwise run-of-the-mill salad.
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