Friday, July 25, 2014

Chinatown Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii



Well what can I say? I totally dropped the ball on writing about our trip to Hawaii. I started off good...I really did! I wrote about it a little while we were in Hawaii, I shared about one of our hotels and I even picked a food truck or two to blog about....all within a month of getting home and then I got side tracked. I got side tracked with this just like I do with everything else. I kept putting it off and telling myself that I'd get around to it and now 5 months later I'm finally getting around to writing a bit more about our trip. Hello? Are you still there? Did you get side tracked too? It's OK! I forgive you :)



The 2nd full day of our Hawaiian adventures had us moving into the beautiful Hotel Renew by Aston (yes, we do tend to hop hotels on some of our trips) and making a trip down to Chinatown! We hoped on the bus and headed on over there! You can get a bus pass for about $35 from any of the ABC convenient stores and they are good for 4 consecutive days! It took us about 35 minutes to get from the east end of Waikiki to Chinatown but I was OK with that because I got to take in the sights and we got plenty of walking in while we were in Chinatown!



Our first stop in Chinatown was Maunakea Marketplace. There were little shops and food vendors everywhere. I am in love with that little red and white Chinese Lion and I really, REALLY regret not buying him!



I also regret not buying some of these boiled peanuts!


Right in the middle of the marketplace was this beautiful statue that was covered with leis and flowers with incense burning at it's feet.  Does anyone know who this is? I'd love to know! I tried to look it up but couldn't find anything!



One of my goals in Chinatown was to find manapua! I heard from a few people that Char Hung Sut was the place to go and we were on the hunt! Sadly we got into Chinatown late so we got there right before they closed. They were all sold out of manapua but had a few other goodies that we tried, like the Pork Hash and Mai tai Soo.


Next time I won't miss out on your manapua, Char Hung Sut!!

So what's next? Well, we heard from another source that there was a bakery a few streets over that sold manapua! So that's where we went! We walked a few blocks over and found Regal Bakery! Ok, now I know, we're in Chinatown and I'm stopping at a donut shop. I can't help it! I was enticed by the promise of manapua!

We found manapua but it was baked; I was on the hunt for steamed manapua! However, I couldn't just leave empty handed! Oh no... I mean DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME? I had to get something.....



Ok.. um.. more like 5 somethings. Oops. haha

So do you see that top one right there? That's a crème brûlée donut! A crème brûlée donut with the hardened burnt like sugar top crust! Oh My WOW.



On the left there is a chocolate glazed chocolate chip donut, on the top right there is a maple bacon donut and the other two items are baked manapua!


I still don't know if I'm a Maple Bacon donut fan but Big Bear loved it. I tasted it and it was good but I think I'll stick to my chocolate glazed donuts!

After a quick donut break we walked back over to the market. Now while you're in Chinatown beware that there aren't really any public restrooms. So, if you find yourself in a predicament and need to use the rest room there is a Catholic Church there a few streets over from the main area of Chinatown that has a building beside it (like a fellowship hall) that does in fact have clean bathrooms for the public to use.  The name of the church is Cathedral of Our Lady and the people there are amazingly sweet.

Oh and by the way if you happen to walk in while they're having a lunch event they'll insist that you take a boxed lunch even if you insist that you are full. So when this happens, just thank them, leave a little donation for this kindness and once you've left the church just give your little boxed lunches to the next homeless person you see. Believe me there will be a homeless person close and they'll be very thankful. (Never in my life have I seen more homeless people, I swear they were all over Honolulu) :( Makes me so very sad. Thomas had to stop me from buying food for every homeless person I saw.



So now that you know where to get cute little Chinese lions, pork hash, delicious donuts and the location of the Cathedral of Our Lady, let's move back over to the Kekaulike Market.

While you're in Chinatown you'll notice that there are boxes and boxes of vegetables, fruits and fungus!!

WAIT... WHAT? Yep... haha lots and lots of boxes of fungus :) It was totally a "Fungus Among Us" moment.


I've never cooked with dried white fungus but I totally would... I think... haha. I'm always up for trying new things :)


So look at these!! I finally figured out (thanks to Facebook) that these are lychee! I wish I had known what they were when we were in Chinatown because I loved them. Well, I loved the look! I didn't buy any because I didn't know what they were, oh by every time we passed them at a fruit stand I had to stop and snap their photo!

I tried to find out from two of the vendors working and well, they either didn't speak English or just didn't want to speak English to me so I was left in the dark. Unfortunately I don't speak a lick of Chinese.

Now a few steps back over to Maunakea Marketplace and you've got to stop at Café de Tim! There are tons of different frozen drinks, smoothies and bubble tea! So before I went to Hawaii, I didn't know what Bubble Tea was... um heck.. once I was in Hawaii I didn't know what Bubble Tea was. Again, in Chinatown, I had a rough time understanding them and they didn't understand me well. I swear that I tried really hard!

I kept asking what the black dots where in the Bubble Tea and the only answer I got was "Bubble Tea, it's good". Yeah.... haha

So turns out that the black pearl looking things in Bubble Tea are tapioca pearls. Well then... I'll have to remember that when I go back! Sorry I wasn't to keen on getting a drink with little back dots floating in it if I couldn't figure out what they were haha. 



But I did decide on a Frozen Pineapple! That's my drink below. Who knows what they actually wrote on my cup but it's suppose to be a Frozen Pineapple Drink haha :)

Oh and they do the coolest thing to them! They vacuum seal the top after they make it!! You have to jab the straw throw though the sealed plastic to drink it. Total awesome for keeping the bugs away and keeping the drink fresh in case you wanted to take it with you and not drink it at the moment (you know um... like if you lived closer haha)


One last thing! I just wanted to show you this tiger! I especially loved all of the random art work we saw when we were in Hawaii. It was everywhere!

So if you go to Honolulu, Hawaii please take a day to go down to Chinatown! Maybe go on a week day though, we went on a Sunday and while there were lots of vendors set up some things were closed.

I'm putting a map below of everywhere we went in Chinatown!




Aloha!
Click Here to Keep Reading..... "Chinatown Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer

Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer

We use to have a little restaurant down the street from my college called Bumpas. Before that it was called "The Wurst Place" and after it was called "Boom Dunnes" (I actually worked there when it was called "Boom Dunnes" and my mother in law worked there when it was called "The Wurst Place") But anyways back to when it was called "Bumpas"! 

Bumpas was where we went to eat and hang out...a lot. My friend Nicole (Tilly) introduced me to Bumpas and it was there in a little booth by the window that I had my first taste of Greek food. It was the stuffed grape leaves on the menu that hooked me and kept me coming back for more. 

I know it's not the same but anytime I see a Greek Stand or place in a food court, I HAVE to order Stuffed Grape leaves!

Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer

Do you know that I've never made them? Why is that? I swear that I put off some of my favorite foods because I'm afraid that I'll mess them up! However give me one of Thomas' favorites and I'll make it and remake it until it's perfect! Goodness....

Speaking of Thomas' favorites, I do believe that we've added another to his list! I swear he was shoveling in this Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta as fast as he could! Now I'm all for pasta, but "whoa" at the speed he was going! haha Every time I asked him if he liked it he spooned more into his mouth haha.

It was kind of like that song from Alison Krauss where it goes "You say it best when you say nothing at all....." hahaha

Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer


This Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta is from Debbie Matenopoulos' new cookbook, "IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME".

It's light and would make a great main dish or serve perfectly as a side dish! The crushed red pepper flakes make it a little spicy so if you're not too keen on spice you might want to leave those out. 

Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer

Like most things in my life, I jump back and forth from cookbook to cookbook but I've found myself wanting to read "IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME" more and more. Yes, I read cookbooks just like someone else would read a novel. I want to read it from front to back, gaze at all of the photos and catch up on the little stories that are sometimes sprinkles within the pages.

Debbie was born in Richmond, VA (about 4 hours north of me!) and grew up on her mother's cooking! In the beginning of her cookbook she talks about the importance of family sitting down together and how her mother was an amazing cook. This book is her way of sharing her mother's wonderful Greek recipes.


There are tons and tons of flavorful Greek recipes throughout the book as well as an "Alpha - Omega" (A-Z) list (with descriptions) of some of the ingredients you'll find in the cookbook.

Here are some of the dishes that you'll learn how to make: Lightly Fried Calamari, Greek Lentil Soup, Wine and Garlic Marinated Mediterranean Sea Bass, Lamb Souvlaki, Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Greek Wedding Cookies.

Oh and yes.... there is a recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves.... now I just need to find some grape leaves!!


...
Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer
by: Angie Barrett 07/23/14                                                (Click to Print)
SERVES 4

Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 recipe Mama’s Domata Saltsa  (about 2 cups of Stewed Tomatoes)
4 quarts water
1 pound dried orzo
1/2 cup chiffonade-cut fresh basil 
1/4 to 1/2 cup brine-packed Greek feta, crumbled small

Directions


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for 1 minute more. Add the stewed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, covered, over very low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Ladle out 1 cup of the sauce, and reserve.

Bring the 4 quarts of water, liberally salted, to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for about 7 minutes, leaving it slightly undercooked. Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the reserved tomato sauce. Drain the orzo well and add it to the tomato sauce. Stir to combine and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the orzo is al dente and well coated in the sauce. If the orzo seems dry, add some of the reserved sauce, a couple of tablespoons at a time, to taste.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the feta. Serve immediately, passing any remaining tomato sauce at the table.

Debbie’s Tip: To make this dish vegan, simply omit the feta cheese. Without feta, this dish is a light accompaniment or bed for many of the heartier dishes throughout the book.

*Recipe Re-Printed with Permission*
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    Do you have a favorite GREEK recipe? If not, you'll have one after you make this!
    Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer

    I'm so glad you're still here and that you made it to the end of the post ;)

    Want to win your very own copy of Debbie Matenopoulos' new cookbook, "IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME"? Enter below! 




    Click Here to Keep Reading..... "Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta #GreekSummer"

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    16 Fantastic Dip Recipes and a Pasta Chips Giveaway!


    Getting to try new foods is a perk of being a blogger. Well maybe I should say that getting to try "new to me" foods is a perk! When I go to the awesome food blogger conferences there are always tons of brands there showing off their treats and giving out samples!



    Well when I was in Miami, Pasta Chips has a booth set up and I got to try them for the very first time. I had not even heard of them before!

    I tried the Garlic Pasta Crisps first and fell in love with them!


    They were so good! I even got a few little bags to take home with me! I told my friends about them and I think every friend that's tried them has loved them!!

    While Garlic is my favorite flavor, the Alfredo Pasta Chips are a close (very, very close) second!!


    I could snack on them all day long!



    When I got back from BlogHer Foods I got a package of Pasta Chips in the mail! I had won the giveaway at the conference and the cutest box of Pasta Chips showed up in the mail for me! We loved trying out all of the different flavors!!



    AND guess what!! Pasta Chips has a gift pack for one of y'all too!! You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

    Which flavor do you think you'll love the best??

    My friend Nikki loved the Sea Salt Pasta Chips!


    Crystal really liked the Spicy Tomato Herb!


    And my Dad loved the Marinara (I saw that one coming haha)


    Hello Beautiful!


    These pasta chips are perfect for eating alone or for dipping!


    I've got 13 wonderful dip recipes from some of my favorite bloggers below! They'll go perfect with these Pasta Chips!

    Dips:

    Hot Shrimp Po Boy Dip from A Beautiful Bite
    Healthy Caribbean Greek Yogurt Dip from It's Yummi
    Jalapeño Popper Dip from A Zesty Bite
    Caramelized Onion Dip from Cooking in Stilettos
    Hot Cheesy Artichoke and Chile Dip from The Heritage Cook
    Cheesy Kale and Artichoke Dip from Ehow Food Blog
    Layered Spring Dip with Parsley and Dill from The Heritage Cook
    Beer Dip from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
    Buffalo Chicken Dip from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
    Creamy Con Queso Bean Dip from Amanda's Cookin
    Hot Fiesta Dip from Amanda's Cookin
    Dill Pickle Dip from Foodie with Family
    Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Savory Experiments
    Three Cheese Lasagna Dip from Neighbor food
    Bacon and Onion Dip from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
    Avocado Lime Goat Cheese Dip from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen




    So who wants to win a gift pack of Pasta Chip? 
    Just enter below!



    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Click Here to Keep Reading..... "16 Fantastic Dip Recipes and a Pasta Chips Giveaway!"

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top

    Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top


    What images come to mind when I say "SUMMER". Do you think of vacations or sleeping in at home? Ice cream sundaes and relaxing afternoons by the pool?  My very first thought is always the sun haha. That's followed by flashes of the beach, the pool, ice cream, lightning bugs, cookouts, grills and apple pies. Some might think of apple pie as being a "fall dish" but for me it's right up there with hot dogs and hamburgers.

    Maybe it's a southern thing? I don't know but an apple pie on top of a red and white checkered tablecloth will always symbolize summer for me!

    Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top

    Today I'm headed down to the beach for my first official "Summer Vacation" of the year. I'm going down to Carolina Beach with Nikki and her daughters and I can't wait to get there! Carolina Beach  is right beside of Wilmington (one of my favorite cities); I've been going down there with Nikki since I was 18.

    I'm pretty sure (as always) that I'll be sharing tons of travel photos on my Instagram account if ya'll want to follow me over there! (www.instagram.com/bigbearswife)

    Slice of Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top


    Ooooh! I almost forgot! I wanted to show you my new charm bracelet. As some of you know I've been working on creating clay charms! I've made chocolate chip cookies, ice cream cones, poptarts and some other food items. I actually love working with clay; working with it is pretty relaxing for me.

    Lately though I've been working on making some non food items. My latest love? Sea turtle charms! Oh my gosh, they are just too cute and pretty easy to make!

    Sea Turtle and Sand Dollar Clay Charm

    And then I made this Beach/Vacation charm bracelet for my trip!

    Beach Clay Charm Bracelet

    There is a Starbucks Frappuccino, a pair of flip flops (umm I need to work on those haha), a sea turtle, a Strawberry Ice Cream cone and a Sand Dollar!  I'm in love with it! So much beach love in one place haha!

    Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top

    But let's get back to this Apple Pie shall we!

    So I wanted to make an apple pie and thanks to a large shipment of apples that arrived at the house I've got tons and tons of apples to use up! I've been making apple crisps forever, I learned how to make those when we lived at Camp Lejeune and my brother LOVES them. So I pretty much make them for almost every holiday. BUT I wanted an apple pie, a real lattice top, homemade apple pie.

    I gathered all of my ingredients onto the counter and started working on my apple pie. Everything was pretty much going perfect until I got to the top crust. For some reason lattice tops just scare me. I'd never done one before and for some reason the weaving and laying and whatnot just made my brain want to explode.

    So I went to reach for my tablet to google lattice pies and BigBear stopped me. "I know how to do it", he said.  I was a little shocked and kinda laughed it off but he was serious. Big Bear proceeded to show me exactly how to make a lattice pie crust on top of my apple pie.

    Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top


    Holy Wow, Big Bear just taught me something in the kitchen, my husband knew how to make a lattice pie crust when I did not. haha. I love it. He says that he learned it from the Food Network haha. :)

    So if you're wanting to make this simple homemade apple pie and don't have a Big Bear standing around to help you make this lattice pie crust, Elise from Simply Recipes has a wonderful Step by Step photo tutorial on how to make one.

    Oh and PS. This is PERFECT for the Apple Pie Milkshakes that I shared a few weeks ago!

    A Slice of Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top
    ...
    Simple Homemade Apple Pie
    by: Angie Barrett 07/09/14                                                (Click to Print)


    Ingredients

    3 apples, cut into wedges
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 pre-made (or homemade) un-baked pie crust
    1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water, beaten together for egg wash
    Ground cinnamon for top

    Directions


    Preheat the oven to 350F.

    Add the cut apples to a large bowl. Add in the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir until all of the apples are coated. 

    Lay one of the pie crust into a pie dish and press it down to form the shape of the pie dish. 

    Pour in the filling (or use your fingers to place the apple in the pie dish, for me they fit better when I did this)

    For the top pie crust, lay the second un-cooked pie dough circle onto a flat surface. Make sure the pie crust dough is as large as the top of the pie. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife and cut 1 inch wide strips.  

    Lay them over the top of the apples and weave them into a lattice. Elise from Simply Recipes has a wonderful Step by Step photo tutorial on how do this. 

    Sprinkle top of pie with a little bit of ground cinnamon.

    Brush the top of the apple pie with the egg wash. 

    Bake for 1 hour. 
    .
      Oh and I want to leave you with this.... (I love it)


      I hope you're having a fantastic week!! I'll be thinking of you while I'm on the beach this week :)

      Click Here to Keep Reading..... "Simple Homemade Apple Pie with Lattice Top"

      Friday, July 4, 2014

      USA Flag Eclair


      USA Flag Eclair


      Happy 4th of July!! I hope you're having a fantastic day with you family and friends! If you're in the Military or have ever been in the Military, THANK YOU! I hope everyone else had taken some time today to thank our amazing military men and women!

      USA Flag Eclair with Blueberries and Strawberries

      This is going to be an incredibly short post today. I don't have much to talk about, I know you're probably out enjoying this day and we're getting ready to head out!

      Blueberries for the USA Flag Eclair


      I've always been fond of those pretty USA Flag cakes that pop up during holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the 4th of July!

      Strawberries for the USA Flag Eclair


      However, since I'm not a huge fan of cake I've never seen the appeal in making one for us. UNTIL I thought about turning that USA Flag cake into a USA Flag Eclair!

      Blueberries and Strawberries from the USA Flag Eclair



      It's pretty much the same as my regular eclair dessert but I changed up the chocolate frosting for white and I switched sprinkles for strawberries and blueberries!

      USA Flag Eclair

      I'll probably get on here tomorrow and update this with some photos from tonight's 4th of July festivities but until then, HAVE A HAPPY 4th of JULY and stay safe!

      Perfect Summer Dessert!! USA Flag Eclair



      ...
      USA Flag Eclair
      by: Angie Barrett 07/04/14                                                (Click to Print)


      Ingredients

      2 boxes of graham crackers 
      3 small boxes of Vanilla Instant pudding
      6 cups of milk
      2 cans of white icing 
      12 large strawberries
      24 blueberries

      Directions

      Slice the strawberries in half.

      In a large bowl, mix together the vanilla instant pudding mix and cold milk. Whisk until the pudding starts to thicken. 

      In a 9 X 13 dish, lay out a row of graham crackers. Cover the graham crackers in a layer of pudding. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding. Cover the graham crackers with the more pudding. 

      Continue to layer the graham crackers and pudding until you reach the top of the dish. Finish with a graham cracker layer. 

      Heat the white frosting so that it easy to pour but not completely liquid. (I normally stick my cans of frosting into the microwave for about 20 seconds.)

      Spread the white frosting over the top layer of graham crackers. 

      On the top left corner, lay out 4 rows of six blueberries.

      Use the sliced strawberries to make stripes on the cake. 

      Refrigerate for 6-8 hours (or overnight) *Long enough for the graham crackers to become soft*

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