Monthly Archives: December 2013

Chocolate Fudge

Homemade Chocolate Fudge Recipe

My family has a sweet tooth a mile-long, though we try not to give into it. The exception of course is  during the holidays, when – as everyone knows – calories do not count. So for a mouth-watering treat, try making some fudge. By modifying a handful of traditional fudge recipes, I have prepared this easy, no-bake recipe and had excellent, chocolatey results every time. Homemade chocolate fudge is an excellent gift for friends, family, and neighbors anytime of year, but especially around the holidays when small gestures like this seem to mean so much.  Continue reading

Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

Gift in a Jar Recipe: Homemade Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

Americans love peanut butter; our taste buds and statistics prove it. We buy it often and outlay a pretty penny to consume it regularly. So, it seems odd to me that there is not a great deal of product variety readily available at the grocery store. There are several brand names that offer Smooth or Crunchy, traditional or natural; but you have to really drive around town to find flavored peanut butters. If you want a specialty peanut butter flavor, you should expect to spend some time hunting down a (small) local vendor and pay twice the amount of a national brand. Or – you can make your own delicious peanut butter that is healthier than most store bought brands and more affordable than a specialty product. Around the holidays, I like to make (and gift!) homemade honey cinnamon peanut butter. The recipe is simple and you can alter it to suit your taste. Continue reading

Hershey Kiss Cookies

Hershey Kiss Cookie Recipe

Traditional flour, sugar and walnut cookies like the Italian Wedding Cookie are a staple in holiday festivities in many countries around the world. There are numerous variations on the recipes from the sugary sweetness to the extracts used (like almond, lemon and vanilla). Some variations that became popular with the success of the Hershey Kiss are the ‘Kiss Blossoms’ with a hershey kiss on top of the cookie and the ‘Hidden Kiss’ or ‘Secret Kiss’ cookies with a Hershey Kiss tucked inside. I prefer the Secret Kiss version because the kiss is baked inside the dough, giving the inside of the cookie a warmer, gooier feeling, which is heaven when combined with the flaky exterior of the more traditional Italian Wedding Cookie dough. It’s a delicious treat, suitable for cooks of all skill-level, and a fun way to let kids help out in the kitchen. Continue reading

Christmas Cake Pops

Christmas Cake Pops

There is something about the holidays that brings out the pastry chef in all of us. A friend of mine was inspired to make Reindeer Cake Pops for her son’s pre-K class holiday party, and ever-curious, I volunteered to discover how to do just that as her side-kick. Ever see those shining cake pops in the bakery rack at the pastry shop? They look perfect, like molded truffles. The icing coats are pristine smooth and the sticks well-embedded in the cake. After making a few dozen of these guys from scratch, and developing a steep learning curve in the process, it is very rewarding to feel like your homemade cake pops are verging on store-window perfect! Continue reading

13 Holiday Activities for Kids on a Budget

13 Budget-Friendly Holiday Activities for Kids

What school-age child doesn’t look forward to Winter Break with exasperated impatience? The last day of school, they sit on the edge of their seat, watching the clock second hand wind its way around until the final bell rings and they win their freedom. The reprieve only lasts for a couple of weeks, but to kids, it’s a time of endless possibilities (and presents)! On the other hand, to parents, who suddenly have a house full of children again and in need of entertaining, Winter Break brings a slew of challenges. Working parents must rearrange schedules, childcare, or vacation plans, and homemakers experience a drastic interruption in their daily schedule. Do not let your kids’ boisterous energy over the holidays overwhelm you. Rather, funnel that energy into some fun and frugal activities to engage your children and create lasting memories.

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Haleiwa Farmers’ Market

Every week I make it a point to add fresh produce to my fridge and pantry. I love discovering new farmers’ markets and returning to visit ones that I’ve loved in the past. Today I drove out to Waimea Valley for the Haleiwa Farmers’ Market, held every Thursday from 3-7pm. This is not my first time at this market, and I love returning to it – on an empty stomach – so that I can fulfill my weekly vegetable shopping list and grab a savory lunch or sweet snack while I’m at it. The vendors are kind and engaged, the produce fresh and salivating-delicious, and the locally prepared jams, dressings and spices make every meal a unique treat.

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Kam Swap Meet

If you are in need of some fresh, locally grown produce, stop in at the Kam Swap Meet and support local farmers. Held in the town of Aiea on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, the Kam Swap Meet hosts dozens of local farmers with produce ranging from the expected greens, tomatoes, onions and bananas to the unexpected, but totally locally, coconuts, papaya, apple bananas, starfruit, giant pieces of ginger root and stalks of lemon grass. Continue reading

Pearlridge Farmers’ Market

Over the weekend my husband and I went exploring for some fresh produce and some walk-and-munch street food on a gorgeous day in Oahu, Hawaii. We discovered the Pearlridge Farmers’ Market, a short row of white tents in the parking lot of the Pearlridge Center directly in front of the Sears store.

Up for an adventure, we stopped in and walked the length of the booths, salivating all the way… when we reached the end, we had both predetermined where we wanted to stop-and-shop on the way back down the booths. Continue reading

Abundant Selection

Oahu Farmers’ Markets

There is something about an Oahu farmers’ market that makes you rooted to the place. No matter if you are a local (Kamaʻaina) or just passing through on vacation, visiting and feasting at a farmers’ market connects you to the place, its people, and its culture. By walking amongst vendors, you get a sense of the diversity of people that have settled there. Cuisine, spices and greens can tell you so much about the history of place. You easily spot Pacific Island and Asian influences, and perhaps you will come to hone your knowledge to determine specific country influences, and you will discover the most amazing array of fruits and vegetables which I challenge you to ferret out in any big chain grocery store. For example, the ginger is sold in such large segments it hints at the fact that this is a primary ingredient in many of the locals’ dishes – rather than a once-in-a-while flavoring addition like in so many mainland-USA dishes.

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