Cooking, Travel and just Other Stuff

You have to understand. I come from a line of very crafty people. My sister paints, one niece can knit anything out of a ball of yarn...oh and she paints and wood carves and makes jewelery. The other niece designs things and then sews them and then my great niece...well we will just call her insanely crafty. They all have blogs where they show all of their wonderful things they do. So, that brings me here. I decided I wanted a blog too, but what to write about. I'm not insanely crafty, can't paint, don't wood carve, tried knitting-didn't work....hummm, what do I do? Well, I like to cook and travel and eat, so I thought maybe we can start there. My blog will be about recipes I've made, places I go and restaurants I eat at with a few other things thrown in along the way. I've also heard that writing is good for you brain, so I figure-as I'm getting older now-this could be a good thing. So anyway, if you find my rantings worth commenting over, I'd love to hear from you. If I post a recipe you like, please let me know, other wise you can keep your opinions to yourself. This, after all, is my blog to make myself feel better, to try and compete with my family, because I don't do anything crafty.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adventures in Paradise....Day 4

So I really was going to have all of our trip blogged by now but life has gotten in the way of blogging. So here I am on day 4 with one more day to go. Today was another amazing day full of some of the most breathtaking sights we had both ever seen. Even the Money Man said the cost was worth it, so you know it was really good.

Today we went with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters on an incredible one hour trip around the island. I had never been on a helicopter before. It was so much fun! I loved it. Would do that again in a heartbeat. But then you throw in the scenery we saw, it was awesome. Literally. To see the beauty and majesty of the creation of God. At times I found myself holding my breath. Usually, it rains on Kauai and sometimes the ride and where you go is affected by the weather. Today was amazingly clear. The highlight of the trip, besides seeing the beauty of the Na Pali Coast was getting to go inside Mt. Wai' ali' ali Crater. It was so clear we could see for forever. The pictures can only do a small justice of the beauty we saw.
This was our helicopter.

This is Jurassic Park waterfall

 The picture below was such a stunning sight. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but it is four waterfalls. I didn't even realize the picture I had of it until I put it on my computer.

This is Waimea Canyon. You see such great detail when you see it by air.

                              The beautiful Na Pali Coast.

Inside the crater

Besides seeing the Na Pali Coast, this is the other reason for the helicopter ride. Getting to go inside Mt. Wai' ali' ali Crater.
This was at the back of the crater looking out.

One of the many waterfalls that just drop forever.

You find yourself just saying wow the whole entire time your flying.Going to Kaua'i without doing the helicopter ride would be like having Oreo's with no milk. Gotta do it!

After the helicopter ride we went to a shop called the Hawaiian Trading Post. It is one of the best places to get an authentic Ni'ihau shell necklace or lei. The making of the Ni'ihau shell necklaces and lei's are only made on the island of Ni'ihau by women who have been doing it since before Captain Cook landed in 1778. The intricate art of shell lei making is passed down from generation to generation.  The shells range in size from two-tenths to a half inch long and a shell lei can take several years to make. The shell lei's can sell for thousands of dollars but the Hawaiian Trading Post carries some of the beautiful necklaces that are considerably less. I found a beautiful necklace that I bought for myself as a remembrance of our trip. I do not like to bring things home that have "Made in China" stamped on the bottom, so I am always looking for something "Made in Hawaii". If you want a beautiful piece of Hawaiian history stop by the Trading Post and check it out. On our way back to the condo we stopped by Hilo Hattie's. You can not go to Hawaii without going to Hilo Hattie's. The place to get Hawaiian clothing. It was a spectacular day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Adventures in Paradise......Day 3

So today was kinda a relaxing day. We got up and went to church in Lihue. For any friends interested, the church of Christ meets at 3164 Elua St. It is off Ahukini Road not to far from the airport. Wonderful group of friendly people. There phone number is (808) 245-2231 should you want to contact them for service times. After church we tried to find a place for breakfast. Breakfast is not easy to find on Kaua'i. Their are no Mimi's or IHOP's. We decided to drive up to Hanalei to a restaurant the guidebook had told us about.The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant is right on the Hanalei River. The food was fabulous. I had fresh swordfish and  the Money Man had Ahi Tuna. Both were wonderful and the salads they served with them were huge. Lunch is a great time for this restaurant because the lunches are less expensive.
The Hanalei River-North

The Hanalei River-South

Lunch next to the river

If you want to try paddle boarding or kayaking, the Hanalei River is a great place to do that. We watched alot of people go by. I did not realize how many dogs loved to paddle board and kayak. One thing about the North side of Kaua'i that I noticed is that it looks like after the last Grateful Dead concert a lot of the Dead Heads settled here. There is a very eclectic group of people on the island. Julia Roberts, Pierce Brosnan and a couple other movie stars have homes there. A lot of retirees seemed to own property where we stayed. A small island with a lot of diversity.

After we had lunch we drove over to Hanalei Bay. It is a beautiful drive. One lane roads and bridges and the bay is stunning.

 One of the things you notice immediately when you arrive here is the chickens. There are more chickens than people and they are everywhere. Thank goodness at our condo they seemed to be scarce so we did not get woke up by them. They are very confused about when they are suppose to crow. City chickens! It was quite a funny thing to see 15 or 20 chickens in the grocery store parking lot. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough as we were driving by. Trust me it was funny.

They have no predators on the island except cats and cars and we didn't see a cat the whole time we were there. And from what we saw they move pretty fast away from cars. One of the locals told us they lovingly (tongue in cheek)call them the Kaua'i state bird.

After we had lunch, relaxed, watched the ocean and took a nap, we found the best ice cream we have ever eaten. It was in the guidebook as the best ice cream ever and it didn't lie. It's called Tropical Dreams and is made on the Big Island. Oh my goodness! It is amazing. The Macadamia Nut and the Dark Chocolate Cherry was incredible. Once we found it we went everyday. Right now it is in Kilauea but Dan and Dorthy will be moving the store to Kapa'a by the summer. Stop by and see them. Dan is Hawaiian friendly and loves to talk. Unfortunately, there is only one in the Mainland U.S. right now and that's in Salt Lake City. So if your going to Salt Lake City ya gotta go have Tropical Dreams ice cream. Dan did tell us they will be opening a store at the Ferry Building in San Francisco soon. It will be worth the drive when it does. I can't wait!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in Paradise......Day 2

Waimea Canyon
So if you like to go hiking Kaua'i has the best hiking in the most stunning places. Kaua'i has miles and miles of hiking for such a small island. One of the best things about hiking in the Hawaiian Islands is that there are no snakes so you can walk anywhere and not have to worry about what is hiding in the brush. Big plus for me. I hate snakes and creepy crawly creatures. Kaua'i has hiking trails for all levels of hiking ability. The Kaua'i Guidebook was so great as a guide for hikes. It gives maps, tells you the difficulty, where to go to catch the trails, any warnings and what to wear. I carried it in our backpack when we hiked.
Looking down on the Na Pali Coast, as I said the picture doesn't do it justice
We decided to hike the Pihea Trail to Alaka'i Swamp. Actually let me rephrase that, I decided where we were going and the Money Man started walking. Let me say that a walking pole is really an added plus for a lot of these hikes. I had brought our collapsible poles in our suitcase. The hike would have been a lot more difficult without them. You also need a really good pair of hiking shoes with good gripping soles. Long lightweight pants, a hat and a light raincoat is also good. This area rains approx. 450 inches of rain a year. Thank goodness for us it did not rain on the day we went. It sprinkled but didn't rain.
The trail doesn't look to bad here.

This got a bit more tricky. Very up hill, rocky and slippery wet.
To get to Pihea Trail you drive to the very end of Waimea Canyon Road. Driving Waimea Canyon Road is an adventure in and of itself. Waimea Canyon, the Little Grand Canyon, is spectacular. Be sure to stop at the lookouts for the Canyon on your way to the top. You need to start this adventure early in the morning, by 10:00 anyway. If you wait too much longer the clouds start rolling in and obscure the views. When we started I really had every intention of doing both trails-Pihea and Alaka'i. It would have been about eight miles. As we got going I realized that if we could get the approx. 4 mile Pihea Trail done it would be good. There were times had my husband not been with me to pull me up the the rocks and over the tree limbs, I would have been crawling up on my hands and knees. It would be so much easier if I didn't have such short jeans/genes.
Then there was the mud swamps to navigate.

This was looking down on what we climbed up. I don't think you can tell, but this was a steep incline climbing up rocks
Me trying to climb around the mud and over a three foot tree root.

I thought this was so cool. It's a tree stump in the middle of the trail that has been worn smooth by everyone using it to pull themselves over the mud.
 The reason I wanted to do this trail is because it is one that gives you views down into the untouched Na Pali Valley and Coast. You hike through the rain forest and the swamp. There is truly no way to adequately describe the views and I don't know if the pictures even do it justice. It is really breathtaking and moving to look down on a land that nobody has touched because you can't get to it. Walking the Pihea Trail is like walking up with the clouds and sometime they roll in around you. It took us about 5 hours to do the 4 miles round trip. To do both trails you would need to start at first light. These trails are not trails you would want to try to navigate in the dark. Make sure you take a backpack with water, lunch and snacks. There is no place to sit and have a picnic, but standing and staring at the view....priceless!
Another view of the Na Pali Coast
After the clouds roll in.

The rain forest.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in Paradise.....Day 1

Many of you know we went to Kaua'i last Friday and got back on Wednesday. We were going for our thirty fifth wedding anniversary which was February twentieth, but with the Money Man's schedule last Friday was the first day we could get away. Kaua'i is the third island we have visited in the Hawaiian chain and very different then the rest. It was five days of relaxing and unwinding from a very busy few months.

First of all let me say if you are going to Kaua'i, Oahu, Maui or the Big Island you need to invest in Wizard Publications guidebooks. One of the Money Man's clients gave us the Kaua'i guidebook when he found out we were going. It was invaluable. The maps are very accurate, it was all we used to get around. The information in the book includes: restaurants, beaches, activities, hiking, sight-seeing, golfing, grocery stores, adventures, hotels, car rentals and almost any thing else we needed to know about Kaua'i. I read it cover to cover and marked things as I went along. I like to have a plan. You can get the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It will be the best  $20.00 you spend for your trip. For more information you can find their website at:

We flew Hawaiian Air to get there. They are a really great, friendly airline. The service has always been good. After reading the guidebook I decided to use a local car rental agency, one of the little guys. Seemed reasonable to support the locals. We rented from Kaua'i Rent A Car. When I called to make the reservation I wanted something like a Jeep. They had a Jeep Cherokee at about $100.00 less than the big guys were for a compact car. So I rented it. A transplant from the Mainland named Pete owns the company and he and his wife work the business. She was very good about telling me that this was not a new Jeep and it had almost 100,000 miles on it, but it runs good she said. Perfect we will look like the locals. Pete made picking it up and dropping it off very easy as they are off site in Kapa'a. Well, it was a was wonderful adventure in our old Jeep. It made it everywhere we needed to go even though it wasn't much to look at. If you would like to rent from Pete on a visit you can find them at: (808) 246-1881.
Our trustee rented Jeep

 We stayed in a condo in Princeville. We like to rent houses when we travel and I use to find them. Well I stumbled on a gem of a place for our stay. We stayed at a studio condo at Pali Ke Kua. It is in one of the quietest areas of the island. It is a long way off the Highway so there is no traffic noise. The Highway in Kaua'i can be quite busy. The condo has an ocean view with a beautiful view of the setting sun over the Na Pali coast. Pali Ke Kua also has it's own private access to a beautiful beach. The condo is great for two people as it is a studio. It has a kitchenette which has a two burner stove, sink, small frig, microwave, coffee pot and toaster. It is also fully stocked with pots/pans and dinnerware. It was perfect. The people that own it live in Paradise, CA part of the time and in the paradise of Kaua'i the rest of the time. The best part is that it was  $99.00 a night. If you stay for a week it's $89.00 a night. The one downside for some might be that there is no washer/dryer. I didn't have a problem with that. I had taken enough clothes and the one time I did have to wash something out I did it in the sink and hung it in the shower to dry. The one thing I loved, beside the ocean view was the Jalousie windows. I am trying to figure out where I can put those in my house. If your thinking about a trip to Kaua'i check out Jeri Bills website for the condo at:

Front door and kitchenette. I was making pan-seared salmon, rice pilaf and steamed asparagus our first night.

The bathroom

Great room area
HDTV for watching the Giants play baseball. That's part of relaxing for the Money Man.
The other thing that is really nice about the condo is that there is a Foodland grocery store back out on the Highway about 5 minutes away. It's a great store, just make sure you ask for a Makai card. It is their savings card. They have great fresh vegetables and I didn't think the prices were all that bad. A great place to get papaya and pineapple is at Moloa'a Sunrise Fruit Stand at the 17 mile marker heading back toward Kapa'a. We ate lots of papaya and pineapple. We only ate out twice. Dinner with our own ocean view...priceless.
We would sit and watch the whales spout and surface.

In the morning I would take my coffee outside to just sit. I was greeted every morning by the most wonderful coffee companions. It was the delight of the morning. You are asked not to feed them. So they didn't come to be fed, they just came to see me for the morning. That's what I told myself anyway. I need to find out what there names are. The only ones are know are the Nene.

He looked like a Myna bird

Hawaii's State bird- Hawaiian Nene

I don't know what he is, but he hopped on my table twice.

Let me just say that if you want night life, Kaua'i is not the place for you to go. Everything closes here by seven except the grocery stores and restaurants. Some of the parks even close earlier than that. But, if you want to go relax, do some hiking and enjoy the beauty that only God can create, then this is the place for you. Kaua'i is full of some of the most beautiful scenery you see no place else on earth. I hope you get a sense of some of that as I continue to post.