Li-hing candy does not pass go.
We hold a Very Serious Annual Discussion to determine what Halloween candy to give out to the neighborhood trick or treaters.
First of all, we are traditionalists and give out candy. We long ago gave up on the idea of finding a suitable yet satisfactory alternative. More on that a little later.
Secondly, the family stipulates that we have to give out Good Candy and not Weird Candy.
Thus, no matter how much I lobby, li-hing rock candy is out.
After some ruminating in the candy point-of-purchase at Safeway, these were also nixed for cause.
The No-Go List
1. Milk Duds. Who wants to eat something called "Dud"?
2. Twizzlers. Red Vine pretender.
3. Junior Mints. These aren't even good--who buys them in real life?
4. Mr. Goodbar. Peanut allergies. In all its seriousness.
5. Werther's Original Caramel. Old people food.
6. SweeTarts. Chalk.
7. Airheads. Bad Hi Chew molar extractors.
8. Nerds. Looks too much like crazy aquarium rocks.
9. Blow Pops. I nixed this one because it's a badly named product on so many levels.
10. Dum Dums. Who wants the free candy they give you after your flu shots?!
The "Hmm, Interesting" List
I heard a Trader Joe's radio ad promoting frozen turkey meatballs for Halloween trick-or-treaters ("because canned tomato sauce is so last year." This got me thinking about the unusual items my my children have received by well-meaning or perhaps ill-prepared households. Here are some of the all-time oddballs:
1. 1 walnut, in shell
2. a bag of prunes, and not the individual snack size either!
3. a full 12-oz can of pop
4. a toothbrush, with mini-floss and toothpaste, but to be fair, this was from a dentist
5. State quarters. Of all the non-candy, this was the best alternative, cost-effective yet satisfying.
6. loose change. This one, not so much, but the very young children were pretty excited with 17 cents in coin.
This is what we've settled on: The multipack of Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way and Snickers, a separate bag of Kit Kat Mini thrown in, and Hi Chews. Yup it's the American Asian candy bowl.
Snickers, Milky Way, Twix. With a KitKat Add-in.
Hi Chew is very popular in the household.
What are you doing for Halloween? What are your candy preferences? Talk to me Junior Mint lovers!
Hello Summer! Whenever we go to Hawaii, we always bring some of our favorites back. Some for us, and more for our friends. Here is a short summary:
Toffee-covered, chocolate macadamia nuts.
, we love you. This is the most requested and most appreciated item. Why? They are:1) Powdered-sugar dusted 2) Toffee-coated 3) Chocolate-covered 4) Macadamia nutsWhat's not to like?! Typically, we use these as gifts, but we do save a package (or two) for ourselves.
Hawaii Hello Kitty CrackersWhile these are no different from any Japanese crackers on the Mainland, the sheer variety and availability of Hello Kitty cuteness foods is simply bigger in Hawaii.
I picked these up at Don Quijote, or the equivalent of Safeway in Hawaii. You can find these at Long's Drug's in Hawaii as well.
Peanut Sesame Candy from Chinatown
Eating these means that your dentist is going to be getting a fancy new car by treating your mouth. They are slightly sweet, chewy, sticky sesame seeds-stuck-in-your-teeth goodness.
Traditional Chinese peanut variety and also macadamia nut variety.
My cousin's wife and one of my clients love this stuff. And so do we.
Coconut Senbei from Fujiya Bakery
Fujiya Bakery is a long-time Hawaii Bakery well-known for all manner of mochi and manju that they offer.
My dad's favorite peanut butter mochi is from here, but what we like to take back are the coconut, pineapple-coconut or macadamia nut wafer cookies. It's snap-crackle-pop crunchy--think of them as the same crunch of fortune cookies, but flat and flavored.
Available at Shirokiya, the Fujiya factory in Kalihi and Long's Drugs. This is something you want to hand-carry.
While one can't bring back the beach, shave ice, malasadas or haupia sweet-potato pie, these are some nice bring-backs to keep your Hawaii groove going a little longer.
Now who's ready to go on vacation?
As much I as love summer vacation, I believe that the world ultimately works by the academic calendar. Full-time onsite employees with kids typically takes weeks of summer off, and in Europe and parts of Asia, companies definitely slow down in August. And while I almost look forward to the faster M-F cadence that the household shifts to once, school starts, it's always important to keep your inner aloha. With that, we end summer with "eat outside" food.
Teriyaki Chicken--our go-to comfort dinner.
and Quinoa Salad
, using dressing from Spinach Salad,
but using honey instead of sugar. This worked really well as a change-up
. I was out of Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Caesar or the Miso-Goma dressing in-house just wouldn't do.Tuesday
Simple summer panini
with fresh heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella and choice of pesto or tapenade. No roasted tomatoes needed in the summer! Plus fresh cantaloupe and watermelon.
Kalua pig, we have missed you!
WednesdayCrock Pot Kalua Pig
. Everyone seems to like this and here is the most recent no-joke request for it. When I was in New England, someone left a sort-of-frantic-and-quasi-anonymous voice mail asking for the recipe. I had to figure out who it was by their voice and area code. This week, I'm serving it in a very down-home "Hawaii" way with cabbage, a fried egg and rice.ThursdaySweet and Sour Chicken
. This now takes more than an hour since the kids eat so many, so I'm making it while I still have time in the afternoon.Friday
Kalua pig taco cups with Li-hing pineapple. Since we missed going home to Hawaii this summer, I'm going back to some Hawaii cookbooks. This sounds like a good way to use those orphaned gyoza sheets one inevitably ends up with.
Enjoy every last bit of summer. Eat Well. Be Well.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We've had it at our home for at least 10 years now, ever since my San Francisco cousin's oven "broke" a week before Thanksgiving, many moons ago. We have anywhere from 20-30 people--my cousins and their kids, my cousins' cousins, my Aunty and Uncle, my Mom and sometimes my niece or other Hawaii relative, our friend's Terry's parents, our friend Brian's dad, sister and Aunty, and sometimes, my college-aged nephew's friends and various visiting friends.
Everyone is welcome and everyone is like family. Like a proper Hawaii house, we've never run out of food. Here's what we'll be eating:
Turkey & fresh cranberry sauce--paradoxically, we love Spam, but wouldn't dream of eating canned cranberry "sauce"
Cornbread stuff with dried fruits--using my LA-Aunty's SoCal Buddhist Cornbread
Candied yams in all their buttery, marshmallow-ey finest--made by my Davis Aunty
Baked yams--also made by my Davis Aunty, for those of us who are supposed to eat better
Some kind of cooked vegetable--maybe Brussels sprouts, green beans or broccoli
Mashed potatoes & gravy, lots of gravy
Pumpkin pies (2)--"Full Fat" and Non-fat, made by my cousin
Pecan pies (2)---because one just isn't enough
By now you're thinking, "Big deal. Everyone makes that." Here's what else we'll be eating:
Fresh sashimi--because it's not a proper occasion without it
Portuguese sausage stuffing
Either Chinese chicken or won bok coleslaw
White rice, inari sushi (made by my Aunty) AND spam musubi
Chinese noodles, char siu bao and assorted dim sum, brought by the above-mentioned SF cousins (see below)
And for snacks:
Raw veggies and some kind of dip
Some sort of cheese and crackers
Hummus and/or tapenade
Arare (Japanese rice crackers) and Maui onion flavored macadamia nuts
Everyone brings their 'specialty', and the variety (thinkThanksgiving Plus) is
what I love about Thanksgiving and my ohana. So where-ever you are--enjoy
the Thanksgiving Holidays with your Ohana. And tell me what you are eating!
Eat well. Be well.
Thanks Shutterfly's offer of a free book and my husband's thrifty ways, in two weeks, I'll have my very own Feeding My Ohana | Family Favorites hard-bound book. Print run = 1.
This turned out to be a harder task than I thought. Currently, Feeding My Ohana has over 200 recipes, and there were 18 8" x 8" pages for the book. What do you pick? Add three very opinionated at-home 'consultants' proposing their own preferences. "Why can't you put Spam musubi in there?" "But I looove broccoli salad!" "You can't seriously be thinking kamaboko sandwiches" and "I can't believe you're not putting lemon bars in"...
We came to consensus on most items, and have managed a detente for the rest, with side agreements to make the non-book ones in the near future. But why did we pick out these as our favorite? Tastes good, of course. Some of them, like tofu steaks or sesa-miso eggplant, were definitely descended from magazines and cookbooks, but we've made them our own, by adding, subtracting, or just plain changing things up a little.
But beyond flavor, most of the family favorites revolve around a good time or friends and family. Shave ice, Rainbows plate lunch and malasadas always make us appreciate going home to Hawaii. Sugar cookies in the shape of our favorite Sharks (12, 22, 15 & 20) attacking a hapless duck bring together our annual Christmas cookie-making and our family Sharks games. Even the names remind us--my Mom's Chicken Katsu in Hawaii, Christine's Clam Chowder at our annual Christmas party, Steve's Hummus from my long-time boss, and Todd's Pecan Pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So what are your family favorites? What do they remind you of?