Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Love Kimonos

I love Kimonos and I have a pretty serious collection of them going on at the moment. I love that I can dress them up or simply wear them as a beach wrap. Kimonos also make the perfect winter/early spring jacket in Hawaii.

Huelo Kimono by Acacia Swimwear in Pacific 
Find it HERE

Long necklace made with local shells, gold, wood, and some pearls I picked up in Tahiti. 
I've been making a lot of jewelry these days. Who knows, maybe I'll start selling some pieces?

Photo Credit// Carlos Barberis of BECfoto


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chipotle Corn Soup

This is the best vegan soup ever. I'm not effing with you either. This is rich, creamy and spicy with a perfect balance of sweet and sour. It will cure whatever hankering you might have for something decadent. Promise.

Chipotle Corn Soup

vegan + gluten free

4 cups organic corn kernels
4 cups good quality veggie broth
1 cup lo-fat coconut milk ( I used "So Delicious" brand, boxed variety, plain and unsweetened )
1 large sweet onion chopped ( I used a Maui onion )
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes 
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 TB local honey ( or agave for vegans )
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

First, saute the chopped onion in a large soup pot until translucent. I'm trying not to use oil these days so I did it in a bit of water. Easy peasy. You could saute with a TB of mild oil if you must.
Now, add everything except coconut milk and bring to a simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Then, take soup off heat and let cool for 15 minutes ( or more ) and then add to a blender. 
Now, start the COVERED blender on low and work up the speed until the soup blends completely. If you do not start slowly, this hot soup will literally blow up all over you and your kitchen. So, that being said, SLOWLY work up the speed okay? You've been warned...
Take this blended soup and place it back in a large soup pot. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Done. 

Add toppings if you please.

-Topping Ideas-
chopped green onions
baked corn tortilla cut into 1/4" strips



Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Garden

Every late winter we get a herb and veggie garden going. Over the years I've experimented with all sorts of things and I'm starting to feel like I finally know what I'm doing.
 We live in a fairly dry area on Maui and the sun in the early and late afternoon can get pretty tense. We also live right across the street from the ocean so our air ( I assume ) is pretty salty. We have bugs too. That being said, some things work but a lot don't. I've had issues with all sorts of tomatoes ( except cherry for some reason ), bitter greens ( caterpillars ), cucumbers, zukes, the list goes on....
A few things grow really well though. Veggies like sweet and hot peppers, edible flowers, herbs, chard, kale, and tender lettuces seem to thrive near the beach in Hawaii. 
I cook a lot of Asian food so I make sure I have an ample supply of Kaffir leaves, lemongrass, Thai basil, hot chilies, mint, and green onions on hand at all times. Same goes with Italian food ( sweet basil, thyme, oregano, garlic chives, and kale are staples ). We are also huge salad eaters and are cold-pressed green juice obsessed. It would probably take an acre to really be able to supply the amount of greens my husband and I eat every week.  However, it's still fun to grow some tender lettuces and colorful edible flowers to add to our weekly farmer's market hauls.

Here's some shots of the edibles we have recently planted.

several lettuce varieties

kale, marigolds, chard, garlic chives

Kaffir lime for Thai food

first attempt growing celery

Serrano, Thai and Hawaiian chili

rainbow chard

Our orchids are starting to re-bloom all over the yard as well!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Orange Sesame and Ginger Dressing

Over the last few months I've been trying to cut oil from my diet. Instead, I've been trying to stick to whole fats like avocado, nuts, seeds and coconut meat. The most challenging part for me was trying to replace my favorite oil laden salad dressings. 
After many trials and errors, I was finally able to come up with some pretty awesome no-oil and low-oil staples. I eat a ton of salad, and this orange sesame and ginger dressing has been on heavy rotation these days.

Orange Sesame and Ginger Dressing
-vegan and gluten free-

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp tamari
1 garlic cloves
1/2" fresh ginger
small handful of cilantro
small handful of Thai basil
2 green onion stalks

Blend everything in a high speed blender until smooth. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups.

Note//  sometimes I'll add two to three tablespoons of my favorite vegan sour cream to this recipe to make a deliciously creamy slaw dressing as well. So good!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chocolate-Cinnamon Almond Milk

Lately I've been experimenting quite a bit with making nut "milks". I used to buy pre-made box versions of milks for years before finally attempting to make my own. I was never much of a dairy milk drinker ( even before going vegan ) however adding almond or hemp milk to smoothies can really add some depth.

This is not a smoothie though. This is a delicious, creamy, chocolaty pressed milk that my omnivore husband goes completely cray over. First, I use a mesh nut milk bag to make the almond "milk". Then, I dump the rest of the ingredients in my Vitamix and blend until completely smooth. If you have a blender like a Vitamix, you can blend this for several minutes to heat it up if you prefer. Personally, I like it chilled in the fridge. Enjoy!

Chocolate - Cinnamon Almond Milk

-makes about 18 oz-

2 cups almond milk
( I blended 2 cups cold water with 1/4 cup almonds. Strain through a nut milk bag )
1 TB raw cacao power ( or carob )
1 tsp lucuma powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder ( or liquid vanilla )
3 seeded Medjool dates
1 tsp local raw honey ( or another vegan sweetener like agave )
1 tsp hemp seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Blend, Blend, Blend!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hawaiian Pineapple + Lilikoi Hot Sauce

We grow pineapple, hot chili peppers and lilikoi vines in our backyard year round. Pineapple can take up to 18 months to mature so I have a hard time just juicing our homegrown ones. Every time one is ready to harvest, I try to think of something special to do with it. 
Hot sauce was the destiny for this little Maui Gold. Definitely making this again!

Pineapple and Lilikoi Hot Sauce

1.5 cups ripe cubed pineapple
2 TB lilikoi juice ( passion fruit ) or another fruit juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar 
1 clove raw garlic
1 tsp macadamia nut oil ( or another mild tasting oil )
1-2 Thai chilies ( or whatever hot chili you like or can handle )
1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth.

I finished this serving within 4 days because I put it on EVERYTHING. My guess is that this should last at least a week due to the high vinegar and salt content. Let me know if you have different results.

The hot sauce was really good on my Mexican salad!

Really good vegan "sour cream" recipe HERE


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Voggy Days...

It's been a month full of VOG on Maui. Don't know what VOG is?
 Lucky you.
VOG is a form of volcanic air pollution. It occurs when sulfur dioxide is spewed from Kilauea on the Big Island and then mixes with oxygen and moisture. 
VOG effing sucks. I can literally tell when it rolls in overnight like the fog does in northern California. Suddenly, I can't breath, my head hurts, I get tired, my eyes swell and itch... It's one of those things the travel guides don't tell you about. 
Over the years I've learned to deal with the VOG. On a positive note, it makes for spectacular sunsets, and epic glassy beach days. Lately when the winds turn south, I've been heading up to Ironwood Beach in Kapalua. On a normal day, this beach gets sand blasted from our roaring tradewinds. However, when the Kona winds blow, a Tahiti like lagoon appears. The water at Ironwood Beach on a voggy afternoon is absolutely beautiful. Just try not to focus on the gray haze on the horizon.

Bikini// by Acacia

Carlos heading out for a free dive.

Me watching him go.

This guy. Not a care in the world.