Monthly Archives: July 2013

Summer’s Bounty

Since leaving Hawaii, I’ve been able to prepare much more dishes with fresh vegetables. One of our favorite veg (well, really it’s a fruit) is the sweet red bell peppers. They’re great either raw or cooked. In the Summertime, while they’re in season and inexpensive, we eat a ton of them.

One day, while I was standing in the green grocers, I started to think about frozen veggies. Why was I paying the high prices in the market for a product that I could do myself and with no additives ? I did a search online and found that you can freeze any fresh fruit or vegetable that you want and save it for later in the year when they’re not in season.

I washed the whole peppers, keeping the plastic sack they were in for a garbage bag; cut each one in half, pulled the stem, seeds and ribs out and then sliced them into strips. On any rimmed pan that you have, spread the pieces out into a flat, single layer. Next, put the tray into the freezer, I leave them there overnight to get them good and solid. The following morning I pop all of the now frozen pepper strips into a zip-top bag and back into the deep freeze they go for the Winter months when they are WAY over priced.

Think about how many recipes you use sweet bell peppers in… and how much you pay for them in the Winter. These two trays cost me $3.00, yup, that’s it. Now, had you bought a 12 ounce bag of frozen pepper strips, that would easily be over $3.00. I got SIX bags for that same price!!!



What We Found In The Backyard

I heard my husband yell out from the back door, “there’s some kind of large animal out here!” Whenever I hear “animal”, I grab my camera…

“What the heck is that?”, DH spurts out as he snaps away on his IPad.  It’s a Gila Monster. They don’t move very fast and man, are they pretty. This guy seems to have found a quail’s nest under that bush.  You don’t see that in Hawaii!




Is this thing on? TESTING TESTING  Hello?  Can you hear me now?

Shaka Braddahs and Sistas! Hang loose!



Shaka!  Hang Loose!

Shaka! Hang Loose!


Spread a little ALOHA today!

Greet someone just that way, and see what happens.

Ko'Olina, Oahu, Hawaii

Koolina, Oahu, Hawaii



My Quest For Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

This bears repeating… ALOHA!

My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert

I have been trying to get the correct proportions of a recipe from a restaurant in Hawaii. Zippy’s is an institution on Oahu to be specific; they have many menu items at their fast food take-out locations as well as casual diners. One side dish that has been long coveted is their Macaroni Salad. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, yeah, so what?

Why don’t you try a Google search of Zippy’s Mac Salad and see how many hits you’ll get from us forlorn Islanders who have moved away to the Mainland.

I have been searching the internet for years trying to unearth the recipe, only to find others doing the same. At one spot, I found a letter that was sent to the Zippy’s Customer Service Manager, and the response was just a list of the ingredients, along with an invitation to the recipient to “experiment with it”.

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DH and I went to Costco to do some bulk shopping and we decided to take a look at some of the clothes that they offer. Since we’ve lost so much weight, we really do need some new threads.

For myself, I found a pair of Levi’s brand shorts and simply tee shirt, along with a new light weight sweater for the cool evenings.

Whenever I buy us new clothing, sheets, towels, pretty much anything that will come in contact with our skin, I wash it first.

When we got home, I was removing all of the tags and checking the washing instructions on each piece and this is what I found on the Levi’s:

Seriously, is this for real?

Is Levi Strauss no longer an American company?

Serving Dessert For Company

Over the holiday weekend we had folks over for dinner.

We met this couple who don’t live too terribly far from us, and they’re from Hawaii too, can you believe it?

Anywhos, we invited them over for dinner and DH says, “why don’t you make like a Hawaiian plate lunch type of dinner”; did I say that’s he’s smart and handsome?

So I put together what you would typically get back home, but minus, quoting DH again, “the Styrofoam container and plastic fork”.

I couldn’t decide on a dessert, so thanks to Cake In A Can, I served

Orange Grand Marnier Cake with Strawberries and freshly whipped cream

Orange Grand Marnier cake with fresh strawberries macerated in more Grand Marnier and some freshly whipped cream.

Mr. & Mrs. New Friends had seconds of the plate lunch style dinner and went back for THREE, yes 3 helpings of dessert. It was that good I guess. Well, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I sampled the cake and berries with cream once more tonight, and not to pat my own back, but I will, it was  that good.

Happy Independence Day!

Have a great 4th of July everyone!

Whether you’re grillin’ or not today, enjoy whatever it is that you’re having in your backyard.

I’m Getting Ready!

I took my Mother grocery shopping the other day, and you know how I like to shop… I LOOK at stuff. Mom, well, she has her list and goes up and down the aisle like a drill sergeant; not paying any attention to anything but what she knows and needs. When I pulled out my camera and started to take photos of stuff that I WISH  we could eat, she was all… “what are you DOING!” (sssshhhh, I haven’t told her that I have this blog) I told her that I was taking pictures of stuff that I am putting on the list.

Mom: “what list?”

Me: the list of things that we’ll have once we’re off of our diet, I mean different way of looking at food

Mom: “oh, that’s nice dear”

Well, she buys EVERYTHING that I wanted and said, “I’ll try it and let you know how it is”.

Thanks Mom.

I Need A Little More Than A Salad, Please

I know that I haven’t been around much, but it’s been so DANG HOT here in the middle of the desert. This has been the hottest month of June on record to date. 100⁰ or more of DRY  heat every day. DH and I have been spending most of our days at our community pool trying to keep cool. We’re still on our diet and we have been longing for something more substantial than salads.  So I was racking my brain as to what I could make that we could eat and that would fulfill that hunger.

Auntie Doni’s Chicken Chili 

5 boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, 1 inch cubes

2 Tbsp. Oil

½ of a large Onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted & ground

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1/8 tsp. Chipotle Chile powder

1 C. Chicken Broth

1 15oz. can diced Tomatoes

1 4oz. can (2 whole Hatch-diced) Green Chiles

1 small roasted Pasilla Chile, chopped

1 large Sweet Red Pepper, diced

½ C. Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Corn Kernels

2 tsp. Cilantro, minced

1 15oz. can White Kidney Beans, rinsed & drained

**1-2 tsp. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

Heat a large Dutch oven with the oil, over medium. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook just until you smell it. Toss in the chicken and cook until the exterior turns white. Add the spices and cook those for a few minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, peppers, corn and cilantro; bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cover partially. Cook for 40 minutes, until it thickens; at the last 15 minutes, add the beans to cook as well.

Chicken Chili

Look at that bowl of goodness

This recipe makes 4 good sized servings. (without steamed white rice though, ARRGGHHHH!)

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, makes a tasty thickener

** this is optional, if you like a thicker broth, add a few tablespoons of the hot broth to a small cup and stir in a teaspoon or two of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. Bring the pot back to a boil and stir in the corn mixture and allow to cook for a few minutes to desired denseness. (I keep the rest of the box in the `fridge in a ziptop bag for later use or just make it into corn muffins that go with your bowl of chili)

Remember, a recipe is just someone’s thought; you take that and make it your own. Add or delete and ingredients you want; maybe black beans instead of white? Green bell peppers rather than red. Or even chicken breast meat over dark thigh.