Saturday, May 31, 2014

Aloha and Mahalo To Kohala Coast

It is time for us to say Good-Bye and Thank You to the beautiful island of Hawaii and the Kohala Coast. Tonight we go home, back to reality, the puppies and our piles of cardboard boxes as we prepare to move to our new house.  It is very bittersweet, but we will always have the wonderful memories of this past week.

We enjoyed our last coastal sunset and finished up our week with parasailing and an incredibly special dinner at the famous Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in Waikoloa Village.

Roy's Famous Short Ribs - Most ordered item at all their restaurants.

The pork potstickers - yummy!!!

Filet Mignon and island sauce.

Here are some of my favorite moments from our week...such special memories forever.

Dad and his little ducklings.

Aloha and Good-Bye

Friday, May 30, 2014

Zip Lines and Homemade Luau

This week has been quite an adventurous one, to say the least.  We have already done waterfalls, rain forest hikes and kayaked through the Kohala Ditch Adventure.

Such a great trip to take on the northern Kohala Coast.  We were told about a stretch of highway at the edge of the island and walked to the end of the road where the original sugar cane fields once were and an old mule station.  Absolutely breathtaking.  We could even see the island of Maui on our drive there.

I conquered one of my greatest fears this week...heights!!  I searched out a company on the island near us that has zip line tours through the rain forest, near the same sugar cane ditches that we kayaked through.

Kohala Zipline offers various zip line adventures.  Since this was the first time for all of us, we went with the 9 line tour that also has a canopy experience like no other.

 Perched amongst the trees of Halawa, Kohala Zipline’s Kohala Canopy Adventure featured elevated suspension bridges, soaring tree platforms and thrilling zip lines. From the moment we entered the aerial trekking course, we were enthralled by the magic of Kohala.

They started us at what they call "flight school", which are 2 smaller lines just to see if we could get the feel of all the equipment and assure our instructors that we could graduate to the 1100 foot drop of the last line that took us to speeds up to 50 miles an hour.

 Their tag line is "Elevated Inspiration"...that about sums up how you feel when you have completed their course.  What an adrenaline rush!!!

Perfect remedy for a day in the forest - Mai Tai and Pina Colada.
Of course you cannot go to Hawaii without attending or having a Luau.  We made our own version this week with grilled pineapple and sweet bbq ribs, as we listened to the hula music from nearby hotels and resorts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Seafood and Waterfalls

I decided when I found out we were coming to the islands for our vacation that since we were staying in a condo and eating most meals in that we would treat ourselves to a wonderful tropical dinner for our first night and last night here.

Our first night here we enjoyed an "appetizer" dinner at Tommy Bahamas.  Truly the best of island cuisine. You can't go wrong with their menu for a wonderful tropical experience.

Tommy Bahama's Famous Coconut Shrimp

Their amazing blue crab cakes with chili sauce.

Creamy crab bisque that will amaze.

The next day we went to the other side of the island for waterfall hikes and tours. We started with the Akaka Falls Park and hike in the rain forrest and then headed 30 minutes south to Hilo and the Rainbow Falls Park.

At Akaka Falls we had a really fun and sunny tailgating lunch with some of our rations that we picked up at Costco when we arrived.

After a long hot afternoon we of course had to stop at Komet Kones for a blended ice cream treat for the ride back to Kohala.

Akaka Falls

Hiking through the rain forrest.

Rainbow Falls
In the spirit of our seafood fest we made lobster ravioli that we picked up in town....delish!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my honey.  Seventeen years ago today, I married my best friend in Indian Wells, CA on the most beautiful setting around lakes and waterfalls with 125 of our family and closest friends.

The greatest gift ever, this morning I woke up in our beautiful condo at Mauna Lani on the Kohala Coast for my anniversary, along the Pacific Ocean with my husband and girls.

I have always been drawn to Hawaii ever since my mom brought us to Maui when I was younger.  My mom was born in Hawaii and it is told that her grandmother was a seamstress for the Royal Family.  I always knew I came from royalty.

The Big Island Of Hawaii, as it is known, was first introduced to us by JoAnne and Dick, my brother and sister-in-law 12 years ago when they graciously included us in their summer vacation to the Mauna Kea Resort.
The famous Mauna Kea Resort.
One of the world's top rated beaches.
They brought us back the following year and we were hooked ever since.  We have not been here for 10 years but the minute I stepped on the Mauna Lani private beach with my girls, it was like a day had never passed.

View from our Master Bedroom lanai - breathtaking.

In the beginning.....

I am still drooling looking at this photo and
remembering the sweet morning.
We went to the resort market and found this darling coffee shop that served hot Coconut Mochas and Chocolate Chip and Coconut Scones - oh dear heaven I have never had such an amazing breakfast (if you can call it that).
A beautiful day to remember...
The Mauna Kea famous "Frederico" that we
created for tonight's happy hour.

Tonight's incredible sunset from our patio.

Best party courtesy of my scrapbook from GGMa.

We made a wonderful dinner for our family anniversary...grilled up some Spencer steaks, roasted purple potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and ceasear salad - better than any steak house could make up.  Here is the bigger question...why does food taste so much better when you are on vacation?  We have made this same dinner a hundred times, but tonight's meal was exceptional !!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pork Wellington...This Too Shall Pass

I am still on my week of packing, prayers and patience...they are all a process.  Whenever I am feeling weighed down (and I don't mean from the constant ice cream sandwiches), I just tell myself, "this too shall pass".

The towers of boxes are getting bigger and the available walking floor space throughout the house is getting smaller.  In my ever quest of being a neat freak, you can imagine that moving a house and office and packing is starting to wear thin on my ever bubbly personality.

Not to worry though, in 12 hours I will be sitting on a plane with a Mimosa in one hand and a Mai Tai in the other...for the next 10 days!!

Before the kitchen was packed up I tried out this creation with a sheet of puff pastry that needed used in the freezer.

Pork Wellington

1 pkg. pork tenderloin (2-3 pounds)

For the marinade:
4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T. country dijon mustard (whole grain mustard)
4 T. honey
2 T. fresh orange juice
1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary OR herbs de provence
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 T. olive oil

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (thaw 30 minutes before ready to use)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Take tenderloin out of package. Rinse and pat dry.

Place in a 9×13-inch Pyrex sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

In a measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Then slowly drizzle the olive oil while still whisking.

Pour the mixture over the tenderloins and put into preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting after 15 minutes.

After the first 30 minutes have passed, remove the pork from oven (continue to keep oven at 350 degrees.)

Place puff pastry on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Transfer the pork from the Pyrex dish to the puff pastry and wrap completely. Reserve the marinade for sauce.

Return pastry covered pork to oven and bake another 30 minutes, until pastry is cooked through.

While pork continues to bake, pour the marinade from the Pyrex to a sauce pan and simmer until reduced by half.

Once pork is  removed from the oven, allow to rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Spoon the pan sauce over the tenderloin medallions and enjoy!

** I served this with Parmesan Risotto.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Loaded Hasselback Potatoes...Hassle of Packing

There is a wonderful saying that I have been reiterating to myself over and over and over again lately...   "God does not put anything in front of you that He thinks you cannot handle."

This has been a very interesting past week, to say the least.....

We learned two weeks ago that the owner of our house wants to take advantage of the strong housing market here and sell the house we have been living in for the past 18 months when we arrived in Colorado.

Oh, and we have 30 days to find another house and move (did I mention the insane real estate market right now - houses are selling and renting in about one hour after they hit the market)...and all of this is going down as we are trying to take our first family vacation in ten years together, this week...oh, and did I also mention that my company has decided to move our offices and accomplish a complete tenant improvement remodel in 30 days and I have to move both my house and office the same weekend.

That being said we are juggling packing for a trip, packing a house and I get to add in packing up an office as well, just to add to the fun.  Breathe in....Breathe out.

Can I just say one thing...there will be many adult beverages consumed for 9 days while I am laying (or passed out) on the beach in Hawaii.  I will also be on a zipline for the first time in my life and since I am terrified of heights, I can scream out all my tension and packing stress throughout the rain forrest.

These potatoes practically cook themselves if you find yourself trying to squeeze in preparing dinner while packing.

Loaded Hasselback Potatoes

4 russet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8-inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom. Add butter slices to between the cuts; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 1 hour. Top with cheese and bake until melted, an additional 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve potatoes immediately, topped with sour cream, bacon and chives.

**  I served these with beef fillet medallions, sauteed mushrooms and a portabella demi-glace sauce.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day Brunch with German Pancakes

Happy Mother's Day!

Today has been an amazing day.  Started with a dozen, beautiful mixed colored roses and a giant balloon.
I have never had a giant balloon before - very sweet.

My husband and the girls made me a phenomenal breakfast...better than any brunch buffet you could order up.  The very impressive menu included freshly made fruit salad, cinnamon muffins, German pancakes, bacon, hash browns and finished it off with Eggs Benedict.  Absolutely delicious at every level.  The best part was I didn't have to cook or do any of the dishes.

After breakfast we watched Frozen in our pajamas, which was fitting since it started snowing last night and hasn't stopped.  Then it was a full relaxing day of even more movies, snuggling in blankets, 2 naps and a little bit of laundry to get the week started.  All in all, a terrific Mother's Day that couldn't have been better.

On special weekends back in California we had a favorite restaurant that served German pancakes.  I was so grateful when my grandmother gave me a recipe for the exact these treats!!!

German Pancakes
Dedicated To All The Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Sisters and Wives

1/2 cup all purpose or unbleached flour
2 Tbl sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 Tbl margarine or butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  In medium bowl, combine all pancake ingredients, except butter.  Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until smooth.

Place butter in 9 inch pie pan; melt in oven just until butter sizzles, 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove pan from oven; tilt to coat bottom with melted butter.  Immediately pour batter into hot pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 14 to 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar.