Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Brunch Recipes

Ingredients: Tuscan Cheese Bake

2 lbs. red potatoes

2 cloves minced

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ cup butter

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup shredded fontina cheese

note; it can be hard to find but can substitute Gruyere or Edam or Gouda

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup Panko bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven 400

2. Grease a 2 qt square baking dish

3. Scrub potatoes and cut in 1 inch cubes

4. In a large saucepan cook cook potatoes 15-20 minutes in boiling water and drain

5. In large skillet stir garlic, thyme in butter for 1 minute and add cubed potatoes. Coarsely mash potatoes stir in buttermilk, salt, pepper to taste, fold in fontina and blue cheese and ½ of the Parmesan cheese

6. In a small bowl mix rest of Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and 1 TB olive oil, panko crumbs

7. Put potatoes in baking dish and sprinkle with crumb mixture

8. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly-sprinkle with snipped parsley

Ingredients: Roasted Salmon

¼ cup orange juice

2 TB olive oil

2 tsp. thyme leaves

2 lbs. salmon fillets

1- TB. brown sugar

1-TB. smoked paprika (in spice aisle)

1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon or plain

1 tsp. grated orange peel

½ tsp. sea salt

1 bag fresh spinach leaves

1 tsp. olive oil


1. Mix juice, 2 TB. oil and 1 tsp thyme in a glass dish-add salmon turn once to coat

2. Refrigerate 30 minutes

3. Mix sugar and remaining spices, salt and orange peel. Remove salmon from marinade and place in a foil lined pan that has been sprayed with PAM.

4. Discard marinade and rub top of salmon evenly with spices/salt/sugar mixture

5. Cook 15-20 minutes

6. Heat 1 TB olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add spinach and cook 2 min. until wilted

serve with salmon


Ingredients: Cashew Pear Salad

1 bunch Romaine torn or Spring lettuce mix

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1 cup salted cashews

2 ripe pears thinly sliced

½ thinly sliced cucumbers

1 cup dried cherries (tart) or cranberries

Poppy seed dressing


Mix all ingredients and add dressing just before serving


Directions: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1. Place parchment paper on a cooking sheet

2. Make sure strawberries are dry after rinsing-leave green stem on

3. 1 cup crushed nuts

4. Melt in microwave 6 oz. chocolate chips, 1 TB corn syrup, 1 TB butter

5. Sir till smooth and add 1 TB Amaretto

6. Dip half of strawberry in chocolate , roll in nuts that are spread out on wax paper and place strawberry on parchment paper

7. Refrigerate


Ingredients: Almond Cake

1 stick of butter and 1 stick of margarine at room temperature

7 oz. almond paste (comes in a can or tube in baking aisle)

2 cups sugar

6 eggs separated

1 ½ cup flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

½ cup buttermilk

1 TB. almond extract


1. Preheat 350

2. Cream butter and margarine and almond paste

3. Add sugar slowly and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time

4. In a separate bowl whisk flour, salt and baking powder

5. In a cup combine milk and almond extract

6. Using a spatula add 1/3 of flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir gently adding in 1/3 of milk mixture and continue till all ingredients are mixed in

7. Beat egg whites with ½ tsp. creme of tartar until stiff and gently fold into batter

8. Spoon into well greased angel food pan or bundt pan bake about 45 minutes and use a toothpick to test. If using 2 glass loaf pans grease well and check about 40 minutes

9. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes before removing

Cherry Compote


½ cup cherry juice

1/3 cup dried tart cherries

¼ cup cherry preserves

1 TB. sugar

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt

½ package of frozen dark cherries, partially thawed


1. Simmer cherry juice, dried cherries, preserves, sugar, vinegar and salt in a saucepan until liquid is reduced. Stir in dark cherries and cook for 2 minutes

2. Combine 1 ½ TB. cornstarch and 1/4 cup water and whisk into cherry mixture simmer till thick about 3 minutes

3. Cool a bit before whisking in 2 tsp. Kirsch (cherry brandy)

4. Refrigerate till serving over cake

My apologies for the variety of font sizes -I had technology problems copying from word document to blogger site and I was unable to fix

A Little Bit of This and... A Little Bit of That

The city became a little bit of country when I looked out the window early this morning and saw not one wild turkey but seven!! The last two in a line had their tails fanned out. I tried to be quick getting a picture but only managed one taken from window. What an amazing sight.
Speaking of sights I hope you have taken the time to look at the moon the past few nights. What a spectacular sight. Especially Monday night when there was a hallo haze encompassing the moon.
Another dazzling array of sights is Macy's annual spring show. This year they have taken the spring concept to new heights with a lot of visual greenery in hanging balloons and baskets suspended in mid air.
I have posted a few pictures.
Perhaps some of you are thinking of entertaining this weekend. If I am not too late before you do some serious food shopping I will be posting a variety of brunch recipes on Thursday. The recipes include a pear salad, salmon fillets, chocolate dipped strawberries, a potato dish and almond cake with cherry sauce.
Lastly, I recently heard from Rocky Socky that one of his bus runs to the Sock Mart was quite detained as Will had to rescue Holokai from the Sock Security. It was a very close call!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trouble for Will

Chapter Two: Sock Bank
Just as Will stepped down from the bus and could feel himself shrinking to Holokai's size (remember this is what happens when you enter Sockland) someone or something flew past him and almost knocked him to the ground. Much to his surprise, and I might add embarrassment, he saw Holokai pounding on the Sock Bank door.
"Open up! Open Up!" yelled Holokai.
"Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, calm down," said Will. He grabbed Holokai and scolded him for being so loud and rambunctious. "You must be more patient! The door will not open till I sprinkle fairy dust on the doormat and say some special words."
Holokai stepped back a bit from the door and watched Will with great interest. As the big heavy door opened Holokai ran past him before Will could even tell him there were rules to follow inside. He could hear Holokai screaming toward the front of the bank," Wow, look at all these socks!"
Will moved quickly to grab Holokai before he caused any commotion and caught the attention of the dreaded Sock Security. He took him over in the corner and explained all the rules of the Sock Bank and how he needed to be as quiet as possible. And...if they did not follow the rules the Sock Security could take them to a special building and then he might never see Rocky Socky again.
"Look Holokai, here is the sock I am trying to find a matching mate. Go have a look in the recycling bin and see if you can find one like that."
"But Will I need a pair of socks. My feet are getting cold here since in Maui we didn't need socks" whined Holokai.
"We can go to the Sock Mart afterwards for socks. Right now I just need a mate to this sock.
You need to help me. If I can find a match we will stand in line over there and the teller will help us." said Will whose patience by now was running out.
But Holokai did not seem to listen to Will's warnings and ran toward the recycling bin. He started to scale the sides of the bin since he really couldn't see what was inside due to his small size. "Help, Help!" Will heard Holokai's terrified voice. And then he saw him tumble down into the recycling bin.
"Not you again," said one of the Sock Security to Will. "I thought we told you the last time you caused commotion in here you need a security escort to stay."
"Whose making all that fuss?" as the Sock Security peered inside the recycling bin.
He reached down and pulled Holokai out holding him tightly in his hand.
"Will, look what I found!" Holokai said. He proudly held up one sock just like the one Will had been looking for.
Will begged the Sock Security to let Holokai go and said they would leave as soon as they finished with the teller. He grabbed the sock from Holokai before he dropped it back in the bin.
"This little guy goes outside," said the sock security, who still had Holokai firmly in his grasp. And before Will could even say anything the two were out the door.

All Rights Reserved Ready 2010
For a change of pace rather than posting a recipe I would like to recommend a restaurant. But first I have a riddle for you. Where can you go to have a weekend breakfast and...?
1. It is served by people wearing their pj's
2. Cartoons are playing all morning long
3. It is decorated in reds and black
4. It is the opposite of eating in heaven
Give up? It is Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.
I would highly recommend as one of your more unique dining experiences. They even sell T-shirts and I have posted the front and back of one.
Did I forget to mention the food? yes and it was...refer to back of T-shirt photo that was posted!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Kid on the Block

Before continuing with new adventures of Rocky Socky, his friends and life in Sockland this is a synopsis of the story so far...
In late January Rocky Socky had a sledding mishap with his friends Moxie and Sully. His injuries required a visit to Dr. Micheal's office. It was here Rocky got the bad news his arm was broken and he needed stitches on his forehead. The worst part was being out of work, a job he dearly loved, for six weeks till his arm healed. Fortunately his friend Sully was able to fill in as driver for the Sockland Express bus. Rocky wasted no time feeling sorry for himself and decided a trip out West would be the best medicine as he recuperated. He found two traveling companions who were eager to tag along on his adventures. Once they hit Las Vegas all the action began. With a stroke of good luck Rocky Socky had a chance to film a commercial for Kia Sorento, a car dealership. And just like that he became an overnight star. The commercial was shown during the Super Bowl game and has been playing on TV ever since. After leaving Las Vegas they had many fun adventures exploring parts of California before returning home.
Rocky Socky had barely settled in with home life when he got a job offer in Maui for two weeks that he could not refuse. An ad agency wanted Rocky to be their mascot for a tourist brochure they were developing for a local hotel. Of course Rocky Socky had no trouble persuading his traveling companions to accompany him on a new adventure. Davis & Sons, an ad agency, treated all them well and they had a splendid time seeing all the sights. Toward the end of the trip they all visited The Sock Sanctuary which is on an island off the coast of Maui. It was here at the Sock Shelter, a sock creature named Holokai (a Hawaiian name that means seafarer) entered their lives and was adopted by Rocky Socky.
Holokai returns home to live with Rocky Socky. He is introduced to everyone at the Hawaiian luau given by Rocky Socky's friends in his honor.
Note his photo has been posted.
And so a new story begins ...Chapter One: Back to Work
Will steps aboard the Sockland Express bus.
"Good Morning, Will. It is so good to see you. Sully told me all about the excitement with you and Eva winning the Sockathon competition."
"Rocky Socky, I really missed you. It did not seem quite the same having a different bus driver."
"So Will I want you to meet my new friend Holokai. He is living with me now. He comes all the way from Maui," said Rocky Socky excitedly.
"Wow, this must be a big adjustment for you after being near the ocean," said Will.
"Yes," said Holokai is his tiny soft voice. "But I do love having a place to call my own now, rather than sitting at the shelter on the shelf day after day waiting for someone to adopt me."
"So do you miss anything about your old life?" asked Will.
"Well I do miss the sounds and smells of the ocean," said Holokai (with maybe just a bit of sadness in his voice).
"I have an idea Holokai, why don't you come with me today to the Sock Bank. I am looking for another missing sock and you could help me," said Will in an excited voice.
"What is a Sock Bank?" asked Holokai. "It seems strange to me there are no big boxes outside on street corners that say Sock Donations. In Maui hardly anyone wears socks and tries to get rid of them. But here everyone seems to have socks on. Though I have noticed they are not always matching!"
But before Will could answer, Rocky Socky announced over the speaker, "Stop One, Sock Bank!"

All Rights Reserved Ready 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Revisiting Chocolate Guinness Cake

The decadent cake posted on March 17th had a delicious flavor that was enhanced by Guinness beer and bittersweet chocolate. I do realize that all the multiple steps made baking this cake rather time consuming. In addition some of the ingredients were not exactly low calorie. So I looked for an alternative recipe that still had Guinness beer in it and came up with the following to share. This moist cake has a wonderful flavor but does have quite different taste from the other cake. It was easy to put together. Perhaps this recipe will work well for you.

  • 1 cup of Guinness beer at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter plus 2 TB butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (light)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pour beer into saucepan and add chunks of butter to melt on a low heat
  • Whisk in cocoa and sugar
  • Stir mixture till a bit thick and sugar dissolved-remove from stove
  • In a bowl beat sour cream, eggs and vanilla
  • Add beer mixture and beat
  • In another bowl add flour, salt and baking soda
  • Add flour mixture to beer and egg mixture and beat till smooth
  • Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with PAM
  • Mix 1TB. flour, 1 TB. sugar, 1 TB cocoa and dust pan with mixture
  • Bake 350 for 40 minutes or when center comes clean using s toothpick
  • Cool cake in pan 10 minutes and then invert on to a baking rack
  • Beat 1- 3 0z . package of softened cream cheese with 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1tsp. vanilla
  • Start out adding 1/3 cup half and half and gradually add enough cream till frosting is the right consistency for spreading
  • Frost cake and add Sprinkles: Cookies Creme Crunch and refrigerate

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am not a fan of decorating with artificial/plastic flowers. But my travels today took me past a house where I thought the homeowners got real creative. No doubt like me they have been tired of living in a world without color! They had decorated on both sides of the sidewalk plantings of tulips, irises and other spring flowers. Underneath the front windows were very cheerful looking planter boxes blooming with splashes of color. In fact there was so much color in this whole yard I had all I could do not cause an accident as I stared at such a sight.
In January I wrote in one of my blogs about a book called Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill. At that time I challenged readers to try writing a poem about purple (remember it was during the Viking playoffs??) So today after looking at this yard I thought about the color green. Perhaps we have not seen it for so long its hard to imagine the color actually being in our world. I thought if one thinks real hard about green it might just become a reality.
So I have started a poem of green things that is a work in progress.
What is Green?
Green is...
Moss covered logs
Budding trees
Newly planted fields
and a fresh coat of paint.

Green is a small leprechaun
Who refuses to share his gold.
Green is envy
Wishing for something one does not need.
Green is the fuzz
that covers where winter has been.

Green is...
Peppermint frosting
Shamrock shakes
Olives in a martini
Caterpillars creeping along
Hiding grasshoppers
And tall grasses.

Green is the color
That ushers in Spring.

I would like to recommend a very sweet book for ages 4-8 called White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker. The main character is a little bunny whose sweet curious personality triggers an imaginative look into learning about primary and secondary colors. It also looks at what can happen when colors are mixed up. Think of the story as an alternative to learning about the color wheel.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This warm spring-like day was perfect for taking on a cooking challenge. I had hoped with little bit of luck that this recipe would be worthy for my company. The main part of the meal Reuben sandwiches was a cinch. I was intrigued by the idea of using Guinness Stout in a chocolate cake recipe. It was not easy repeatedly telling my husband the beer was intended for a cake not the drink of the day! The luck of the Irish was with me and I am sharing the recipe hoping you might like to try it. The added beer seems to intensify the chocolate flavor and a great addition. There are multiple steps but trust me WELL WORTH it!
Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake
Make drizzling syrup
1/3 cup Guinness Stout
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 TB. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Whisk together and cook till simmer. Remove from heat and set aside
Combine 2 TB. cocoa, 2 TB. sugar and 2 TB. flour
Grease well 2-9 inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa mixture
1. In another saucepan whisk 1/3 cup plus 2 TB. unsweetened cocoa into 2/3 cup Stout beer and bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat add 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate( 70% cocoa) stir till melts. Whisk in 3/4 cup buttermilk. Set aside.
2. Beat 3 sticks of softened butter, add in 1- 3/4 cups plus 2 TB sugar and then add in 4 eggs one at a time and lastly add 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla mix well.
3. Combine 2 cups plus 2Tb. cake flour, add 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture, stirring until blended
5. Divide batter among two pans
6. Cook 22 minutes or until toothpick comes clean
7. Cool 10 minutes in pan and invert on two different plates or rack. Poke holes in both cakes with a toothpick and spoon drizzling syrup over the holes. You may not need all of the syrup.
Cool several hours _________________________________________________________________
Bittersweet Icing
1. Bring 1- 1/2 cups whipped cream to simmer, remove from heat and pour cream over 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate broken into chunks, stir till blended , cover and chill in freezer 45 minutes. Chill beaters at the same time
2. Whip cream and add 4- 1/2 TB. powdered sugar and 4-1/2 TB. unsweetened cocoa, 1- 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. salt, 2 TB. Kahlua
3. Put frosting on first cake layer and add second cake layer and use rest of whip cream mixture.
Optional crushed nuts

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Thaw Brings The Unexpected

A walk in the north woods recently brought an unexpected discovery. I was quite surprised to have come upon a home of the wee folk. I have read that their homes are usually hard to spot and are very well hidden among the trees and bushes. It was easy to identify who lived here by all the shamrocks painted around the door frame and a pot of gold crest in the center. I crouched down really low to get this photo. I hoped I might get lucky to catch a glimpse of one at home.
I own book called Leprechaun Companion by Niall Macnamara. It is a very informative guidebook to all you would ever want to know about the wee folk. Some things I do know is they often wear a bit of red on their clothing. This bright color might catch your attention and be a clue they are out and about in the woods. Since the wee folk have a fondness for buried treasure they are more likely to build their homes near mounds of dirt and deep into the woods. The trickiest part is trying to catch one. I have heard sunset is one of the better times to spot them. If you are so lucky to spy one nearby creep up as quiet as you can, catch him firmly in your hand and DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT take your eyes off of him even for a split second to blink as he might likely vanish.
Some advice if you do succeed in catching one is persuading him to show or tell you where his buried treasure would be. If you happen to be so lucky I would suggest DO NOT reveal the secret to anyone till you have safely dug up the treasure and deposited it in a bank or some other safe place or else it could vanish. I would like you also to know that since the wee folk can be tricky you might get an offer of three wishes instead of being led to the buried treasure. Wee folk are masters at we call magic. Warning to you if you try asking for more than three since you will be met with scorn and get none. The wisest thing you can do in this case is to ask for intangible blessings like talent, good luck and good health.
So in the next few day if you happen to be deep into the woods I wish you luck in finding the wee folk. Perhaps luck may be on your side!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Succulent Words

It is impossible to deny the power of a good beginning and a catchy title when creating a story to engage your readers. There are different ways to achieve a good beginning such as a dramatic lead, starting in the middle of a scene with dialogue, designing a lead to introduce the character who will in turn will tell the story or perhaps starting at the ending and explaining how such an ending came to be. I recently read the book Never Trust A Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital by Eric Dregni. Just the title caught my interest since I enjoy cooking and have been to Italy. Plus the fact it is written by a local author. Eric Dregni is an associate professor of English at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN and also holds the title Dean of Italia Concordia. Never trust a thin cook is an Italian proverb. His lead into this memoir makes you want to find more out about the man who convinces his girlfriend they both should take leaves from their jobs to go on a two year hiatus to Modena in northern Italy. He begins his story...I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. My scope has been narrowed to Italy:the country of beautiful chaos, the land of dolce vita.
It is admirable he was able to follow through on one of his dreams.
Even as a child I loved to read and have fond memories of going to the library and checking out 10-15 books at a time. One of my favorite books as a child was Alice in Wonderland. When the movie recently came out I was intrigued with choice of stars for the major roles and was curious what direction the storyline would be taken with Tim Burton at the helm. I was quite impressed with the movie. I thought it was brilliantly executed, stunning visuals and top notch performing. Be prepared for a bit of darkness and violence but it does not overshadow the movie.
Recently I came across an article (Saber Alumni Magazine Winter 2010 issue) that profiled Solfrid Ladstein. She is the department char of English at St. Thomas Academy. I was impressed at her eloquence as she wrote about how literature and writing are interwoven. Ms. Ladstein had this to say..."Literature allows us to live many lives. It teaches us to understand other people and opens our minds to a larger world around us. I like it when students read something that shakes them up and gets them to question. The ability to write well is equally important. Composition goes hand in hand with literature, expanding the richness that comes from reading. Our students need to be able to think critically and creatively, to express their ideas clearly and fluently, and to inspire and persuade others through their written words. Writing well is not only an academic skill but also a life skill. "
So celebrate our early spring thaw with a good book or movie or even both!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let the Party Begin

Chapter 13:Post Maui
"Today is a Red Letter Day for me. My visit to Dr. Michael's office went well. He took off my cast and said my arm has healed nicely. But the best part was telling me I can now return to work. In spite of all the fun I have had the past few weeks, I have missed my job. Sully did well filling in for me. Except for the Will problem awhile back things went smoothly for Sully driving the bus.
I am so looking forward to the luau planned for tomorrow night. I have missed my friends. I heard all the guests coming were told to dress in tropical wear. I have posted a picture of the outfit I am wearing.
On the last day of our trip a package came to our hotel. It was a gift from Davis & Sons Associates. I really wished I had this outfit when we visited Honolulu. If you remember I was stuck wearing an I Love Maui shirt the whole time!
I saved the flowers from my lei and will make sure Roxy and Moxie get one to wear in their hair. I did love all those fruity tropical drinks with umbrellas and fresh fruit we had on the trip. My favorite was the Mai Tai which I made sure that recipe got sent for the party. I know they have already made the Hula Pie since Moxie called to tell me how yummy it looks. The rest of the luau meal they said would be a surprise. The past two weeks I sent them lots of recipes. I included some of my favorites in this blog.
I have a surprise for everyone bringing my newly adopted Holokai to the party. The luau sounds like such fun."
Mai Tai
First introduced to Hawaii in 1953 at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel at Waikiki Beach.
Serve with a pineapple chunk and don't forget a paper umbrella
1 oz. dark rum
1 oz. amaretto liqueur (can substitute 1 oz. Malibu coconut flavor rum)
3 oz. orange juice
3 oz. pineapple juice
dash grenadine syrup
Fill 12 0z. glass with ice
Pour in rum and amaretto
Fill rest of glass with juice and add splash of grenadine for color
Macaroni Salad
This is a staple at luaus and always served as part of a plate lunch at cafes/restaurants
cooked macaroni
grated carrots
Cook macaroni till tender
Drain and add enough mayonnaise to coat macaroni
Add grated carrots salt, pepper to taste
Optional add ins...tuna/chicken, chunks cheese, eggs, onion. paprika, olives, cucumber
Grilled Chicken Kabobs
3 TB. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 TB. brown sugar
8 boneless chicken breasts cut in 2 inch chunks
2 TB. sherry
pineapple chunks
1 TB. sesame oil
3 TB. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. ginger
chunks of green pepper
In a shallow glass dish mix all ingredients except chicken and pineapple
Coat chicken and pineapple with marinade mixture
Refrigerate at least two hours covered and turn once or twice
Drain and thread on skewers alternately chicken, pineapple and green pepper
Grill and serve over white or jasmine rice
Hawaiian Banana/Macadamia Bread
This popular item available on the menu and in bakeries
3 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs beaten
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup maraschino cherries
1- 8 0z . can crushed pineapple
Grease 2 glass loaf pans
Mix dry ingredients first and stir in rest ingredients only until blended
Divide batter among two pans
Bake 350 about 60 minutes but check at 45 minutes
Let cool 10 minutes before removing
Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi
4 oz. crushed macadamia nuts
4 oz. papaya chunks
4 oz. bread crumbs (Panko)
4 oz. mango chunks
6- 6 oz. mahi mahi fillets
1 TB. shredded coconut
4 oz. butter
2 peppers-habanero
4 oz. pineapple chunks
salt/pepper to taste
chopped shallots
2 TB. cornstarch
4 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven 375
In food processor pulse nuts, breadcrumbs until finely ground
Coat fish fillets on both sides
Heat butter in skillet and fry fillets on both sides until nuts are golden brown
Remove and add to baking pan
Add shallots and cook till translucent
Mix cornstarch with chicken broth
Mix in fruits and peppers,season with dash white sugar salt and pepper
Simmer sauce till thick
Drain fruits and peppers bake fillets in a greased pan with a bit of sauce on bottom about 10-15 minutes
Serve thickened fruit sauce over cooked rice with fillets

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hula Pie

Hula pie is a favorite among those who live and visit in Hawaii. Kimo's, a popular restaurant in Lahaina, Maui and Dukes's restaurant on Waikiki Beach are well known for this dessert. It requires no baking and easy to prepare.
Hula Pie
  • 1-9 inch chocolate cookie crumb crust (either a purchased one or one made with Oreo cookies)
  • 1 half gallon macadamia nut ice cream (use quart size ice cream for a pie not as high)
  • 1 jar (12 oz) hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 1 container cool whip or 2 cups whipped cream (whipped)
  • 1 shot of espresso or very strong coffee
  • 6 oz. macadamia nuts-chopped
  • Bring fudge topping to room temperature
  • Scoop ice cream into prepared pie shell
  • Warm espresso or coffee and mix into fudge topping optional add 2-3 TB Kahlua
  • Freeze until ready to serve
  • Cover top of pie with whipped cream to serve and sprinkle chopped macadamia nuts and toasted coconut on top
Note: If unable to find macadamia nut ice cream in your local store substitute good vanilla ice cream. Just soften ice cream and mix in 1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts

Time To say Good-bye a very firm voice, this is the one I want! I snatched up the little sock monkey before anyone else would want the very same one. It was smaller than I first thought and the sock creature seemed to have a relieved look to be off the shelf. As we walked to the claim checkout desk I was sure I heard a faint voice whisper "Mahalo (thanks) for picking me. I am a saved."
I signed some papers and found out the sock monkey had a Hawaiian name Holokai (pronounced Ho-Lo-Kaee) meaning seafarer. My traveling companions thought it an appropriate name since we traveled the mighty seas to find this sock creature. I tucked it in my bag for safekeeping and we went to the last building on the sanctuary grounds. It was called The Sock Sanctuary Museum. What a place filled with display cases of socks once worn by legendary Hawaiians and famous people from the mainland. We laughed at the faded white crew sock once worn by Elvis.
The boat ride was just as windy and bumpy as ride out. We were all glad to be safely on ground. Tomio met us and we drove for one last time back to Davis & Sons' office. They wanted to use my list for the brochure-The Ten Top Reasons To Visit Maui. I thanked them for giving me this job and looked forward to seeing the completed brochure.
I was anxious to get back to the hotel and show Holokai the beautiful Kamole Sands beach nearby. I also wanted to call my friends and let them know my news and our arrival date on Thursday. The Hawaiian luau they have planned for the weekend sounds fun. I might even show them how to do the hula.
What wonderful memories I have of the Aloha State and I might add I have a very nice suntan. We have taken a lot of pictures ourselves and collected many recipes to share with everyone back home. I know it sounds rather cheesy but I would like to borrow a line from Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) to end but still :There is no place like home.
Mahalo for those who followed Rocky Socky's Adventures in Maui. We all had fun!
10 Top Reasons to Visit Maui
by Rocky Socky
1. Warm weather
2. Sunshine
3. Sunsets at the beach
4. Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala
5. Panoramic views of the oceans
6. Snorkeling
7. Whale watching
8. Black Sand Beach near Hana
9. Tropical vegetation
10. Rainbows
Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Best for Last

Chapter Eleven: An Unexpected Destination
"Today was what we call in the industry That's A Wrap. We arrived at the Davis and Sons' office early in the morning. I expected to do one last photo shoot and was I ever surprised when they announced a change in plans. They handed me a brochure and that's when I screamed in surprise and absolute delight. I have been wanting to go to this place throughout the whole trip but knew our time was limited. The brochure was for the Sock Sanctuary. Now get this there are only three in the world and one is right here on an island between Maui and Molokini. It is a refuge place for unclaimed socks. Sock donations are also accepted there. I found out from looking through the brochure that all these recyclable socks have been washed and are sold as clean items. Throughout the trip I have seen multiple sock donation boxes on the island and have wondered where these socks would be taken to. The chain of Hawaiian Islands seems a perfect location for The Sock Sanctuary. Of all the states Hawaii is the most likely to have people who discard their socks in favor of sandals so there is a surplus. In addition Hawaii is a tourist destination that has the most people who will need socks when they return to the mainland. I was excited to read that their adoption center would be open today. It is a shelter place that provides a temporary home for sock creatures to stay while waiting to be adopted into a loving home. Maybe I would even see another sock monkey there.
I was dismayed to hear that we had to sail out of Maalaea Harbor again. After that windy whale watching ride I was not too keen to be back. As soon as we got there I knew we were in for a blustery ride. The trade winds were especially gusty today. For this trip we all used our seat belts so as not to be blown overboard. It was a 45 minute cruise to the sanctuary. As we approached the dock the captain came on the microphone to tell us due to federal laws that protect this sanctuary, visitors were not allowed to take any pictures. So the only one I have to post is one from a far off distance.
The boat was filled with excited passengers geared for shopping. Some needed socks to wear home, others were looking for a missing mate to a sock and some were just hopeful to adopt a sock creature. I was happy to be off the boat and on land. My stomach felt queasy.
The grounds around the sanctuary were quite tropical. And oh the waterfall was just breathtaking. The scattered plumeria trees gave off a fragrant smell.
The largest building was like a huge warehouse. The sign overhead said Welcome to the Sock Sanctuary. Outside the building were two metal boxes much like our mailboxes labeled Sock Donations. When you entered inside there were rows of cash registers and lots of help. The aisles were clearly marked Used Socks Men, Women, Girls, Boys and Infants. The shelves were brimming with every imaginable kind of sock like duckies, ladybugs, basketballs, palm trees, hearts, stripes and on and on. After we made our choices as we exited the store there was a sign that said Thank You For Helping Our Recycling Efforts.
When we went next door to the sock creature shelter there was another sign that said Adopt A Sock Creature and Give It A loving Home. I was not prepared for what happened next. There was shelf after shelf of every kind of sock creature you could ever think that could be made from socks. There were a variety of sea creatures, cats, dogs, horses, fish and the list goes on and on. Each sock creature had an expectant look on their face that seemed to say: choose me, choose me. All of a sudden I could feel a lump in my throat, my heart beating fast and I could hardly breathe. There squished in the corner of the shelf was another sock monkey but about half my size. He looked longingly at me like he needed a friend. My traveling companions could see my concern and distress. And it was at that very minute my life changed when I spoke up and said...
Since my tale is now getting on the long side check back later to hear how in one instant I made a life changing decision."

Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Island Hopping

Chapter 10: Part One An Embarrassing Moment
"In the flurry of leaving Saturday for an early fight to Honolulu, my overnight bag was accidentally left behind at the hotel. By the time we discovered this mishap we were unable to go back for it. I felt so self-conscious wearing my I Love Maui shirt to Oahu. I did not have any other change of clothes but hopeful something new awaited me when we arrived. The 20 minute flight over barely gave my traveling companions enough time to finish their book How to See Honolulu in Just 36 Hours. I could tell from their conversation there would not be much resting when we arrived."
Part Two: The Big City
"An associate from Davis & Sons, the Honolulu branch, met us at the airport. We were whisked for our first photo shoot at Diamond Head. As we drove along I noticed the pace in this city seemed rather frantic compared to laid back Maui. Between the traffic, sirens, bicyclists, tall buildings my head was already swimming. I kept asking the driver Where's the beach, where's the beach? But he was busy maneuvering through the traffic and did not answer me.
The size of Diamond Head was impressive and it was a beautiful day to enjoy the park. When we got to Waikiki Beach the sun was setting. Just being in this area was a sensory overload. Crowds of people, shops after shops, street performers, a live Hawaiian show on the beach was just almost too much. I needed to rest and begged to go back to our hotel.
Well, after a good nights rest I was ready to roll. I was up bright and early and even got my picture taken watching the sunrise on Waikiki Beach. Note there was no one around and it was quite peaceful. The day flew by as we did photos at Kailua State Park. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Koko Crater Botanical Gardens, Koko Head, and PunchBowl. I have posted some of these pictures. All the views were just amazing. Since we were also visiting a family member this proved to be a very full day.
A real highlight for me which rather made up for not having any of my luggage was getting a beautiful flower lei at the airport. It really gave me a feeling like I had traveled to an island. I posted a photo of me wearing it while waiting for the plane. One last thing is you'll never guess what we saw just as we entered the airport...another rainbow. If you have been counting through the blogs the one today makes four!!! Another sign of good luck!"

Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Thar She Blows"...line from Moby Dick

Chapter Nine: Whale Watching
"Looking out to sea the boat heaved up and down, swells swirled, whitecaps bobbed about and guess what? The 65 ft. catamaran hadn't even left the shore. I really wasn't sure this boating activity was for me. The winds were blustery over 50 MPH as we motored out of the second windiest harbor in the U.S. called Maalaea to find Humpback Whales. I had to hang real tight to the railing for fear of being blown off the boat. When we were a ways from the harbor things calmed a little and for the next few hours our eyes were glued to the seas looking for the appearance of the dorsal fin followed by whales breaching up and out of the water and fins slapping as they came down. Since it was so windy and so much movement on the boat picture taking proved challenging. But we managed to get a few good ones to post.
Did you know that Maui is a migratory place for Humpback whales from Alaska? I was surprised to learn these whales weigh up to 40 tons. It was also amazing to learn that mother carries a baby 11 months and when the calf is born it weighs some 3,000 lbs. Now that's a BIG baby!
After whale watching I snuck up to the captain's chair to get my picture taken.
This weekend we are island hopping. I hope to get my picture taken on Hawaii's most famous beach."

Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going Crazy

Chapter Eight
"What a mistake letting me loose in a surf and dive shop. I thought I would go crazy looking at all the fun stuff to take me out to sea. I wanted it all and hoped the associate from Davis & Sons would listen to some of my requests. They let me pick out a boogie board and nixed the idea of a surf board. They seemed worried about the huge size of the surf board and me falling off. Of course I was disappointed but they let me choose some blow up toys to use later in the hotel pool. Today is a great beach weather day and I am sure there will be some great photos. My fun morning at the shop has been posted for you to see. I should tell you that the owner of the shop thought me a perfect mascot to advertise his shop. Perhaps there might be a new job for me on the horizon."

Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved


Chapter Seven
Wednesday night
I have a wonderful sunset picture to show from last night's film shoot on the beach. When I got back to the hotel my phone messaging service in the room was flashing red and beeping. I was a little alarmed listening to messages from Sully, Moxy and even Roxy. I couldn't imagine what the problem could be, but thought it must be something with the Sockland bus. So I took a deep breath and placed a call to Sully. I knew it was the middle of the night with the time change, but I just had to know.
A very sleepy Sully answered.
"Sully, I got your message. What happened?" asked Rocky Socky in a worried voice.
"Rocky Socky, you never believe what happened. Remember when I told you that Will was going back to Sockland to meet his new friend Eva, the sock fairy at the Sockathon?"
"Yes, was it fun for him?"
"Well he won, he won! said Sully in a excited voice. Will was wearing his lucky socks and he and Eva were able to outlast all the others in the competition. You should have seen how light he was on his feet. They danced all night and just before daybreak the winners were announced."
"Well what did he win?"
"They got a Sockathon trophy and a bag of gold coins. But just as the prizes were awarded there was a huge commotion in the back of the room. Some sock security were yelling that's him!"
"Oh my gosh what happened then?" asked Rocky Socky in a breathless voice.
"The security started chasing them, but Eva and Will were faster and went out the back door. Lucky for Will I was driving down the road for my first run of the day. He hopped on and we drove away as fast as I could before the security could catch us."
"Did he get home safely Sully?"
"That he did and has a bag of gold coins to show. Eva kept the trophy."
"I am anxious to talk with him and see these coins. Winning that Sockathon must have been so fun." said Rocky Socky in a very relieved voice.
They talked longer and Rocky Socky promised to call over the weekend.

Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Up The Mountain

Chapter Six: Sunrise Views
Today's riddle:What is...?
1. Over 10,000 feet high and above the clouds.
2. Tourists are known to drive there in the middle of the night.
3. It is the 4th best viewing place on this planet.
4. Can be both terrifying, exhilarating and breathtaking all at the same time.
Give up? Answer: Mt. Haleakala's inactive volcano

"I had some misgivings about this trip on Wednesday after yesterday's experience on the road to Hana! But it was part of the agenda and I had to keep up. I also thought it's quite unnatural to leave in the pitch black at 4:30 AM to drive up a mountain over 10,000 feet high. Witnessing the sunrise at the summit is quite an attraction for Maui tourists. I had a hard time napping in the van while Tomio drove us up and around, winding zig-zagging to reach the top. Imagine my surprise to see such a crowd of over 100 people poised with their cameras waiting for daybreak and the perfect photo and it was not even 6:00! Since it was cold and windy they were bundled up in coats, sweaters and blankets. I even saw someone draped with a Hawaiian bedspread to keep warm. The moon was still up and high and part of the sky seemed clear. As the sun rose at precisely 6:38 AM, cameras flashed, the crowd went ooh and aah and even some began singing. As the day brightened up the views of the clouds high over the eroded volcano were amazing. We could even see the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Lanai. It did surprise me how quickly everyone left for their long trek down the mountain. It was fine with us so we did not have to rush taking our photos. On the way down at a overlook we spotted a rainbow arched into the valley. Perhaps all these rainbows I have seen are why Hawaii got one of its famous nicknames: The Rainbow State.
I sure hope some of the photos shot today make it into the brochure. After many hours I was ready for a nap. Tomio dropped us off and said he would be back at 6:00 for some sunset pictures. I see Thursday's schedule looks light with a visit to a surf and dive shop and on the beach pictures. I wonder if they will come up with a surf board just my size for me?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Road to Hana: A Survivor's Tale

Chapter Five:
"Lucky me, I got to have Monday off to be on my own and do a little shopping for my friends. I was told that the Tuesday trip would be quite full with numerous stops along the way. It was suggested that this road trip could be a bit scary-so be prepared. The two lane road to Hana is narrow with over 600 curves and 54 one lane bridges. It takes about 3 hours with numerous stops just to reach Hana!! My stomach felt a bit sick just thinking of this drive.
Our driver arrived early in a mini van. We were assured that he has had a lot of experience driving to Hana. As we got settled in our seats he told us that this road trip is more about the experience along the way than the destination. The ride up was like nothing I have ever experienced. Lucky there are 48 mile posts signs so one can look at a booklet to see what was coming up. But our driver Tomio was so informative we didn't even have to look anything up. He handed us the itinerary for the day that covered all our scheduled stops. Since there are so many places to take pictures Davis & Sons associates had to make some choices where we would take photos. Looks like they will have a difficult job deciding which photos to use for the hotel's brochure.
All I can say about the ride was WOW!!!!!!!! Totally amazing winding around these hairpin curves past rain forest, waterfalls, ravines, fishing settlements and gorges. The breathtaking vistas looking down to the ocean made my stomach a bit queasy. It was fun to get out along the way to climb on a bamboo tree, sit on a black sand beach and gaze at immense waterfalls. I even got to see some peacocks up real close. One problem for me were the gusty winds. When they were taking photos at Honokalami Black Sand Beach I almost was blown out to sea. So I had to sit near a sheltered spot on smooth lava pebbles for the photo. One of my favorite photos is where I got to sit among the coconuts. I was able to write a message on one and send it back home to Sully and Moxie-just like a giant postcard.
What a day that ended some 9 hours later. I would like to add that the ride down was even scarier than going up. I was just happy to get back home without any accidents. Just as we got out of the van they handed each of us a certificate with fancy gold writing that said: I Survived The Road To Hana. We plan to go to bed early since the van will be back at 3:30 AM. Yes I said 3:30. We plan to see the sunrise at Haleakala. I hope it is a clear night for viewing.
All these Hawaiian names are so hard to pronounce with so many vowel letters in each word. "
Copyright 2010 Ready All Rights Reserved

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...