Oh Hawai`i, how i love thee!
Oh Hawai`i, you are the owner of my heart and taste buds. The warm fragrant filled breezes that linger in my consciousness long after I have returned to reality. Crystal blue waters that are teaming with brightly colored sea life that lure you to new horizons. And the food! Oh the food. Papayas, passion fruit, mangos, pineapple, football sized avocados, ahi and mahi mahi that I never tire of.
Recently, my hungry hubby and I went on a pilgrimage to the big island, to find Mecca for us. We are passionate snorkelers and dedicated foodies and we heard that this was the place where both of these pursuits thrive side by side. We were told right.
Our first day in Hawai`i we went to one of the best farmer’s market I have ever been to before, in Hilo. (http://www.hilofarmersmarket.com/) Then to celebrate that, we went snorkeling at the positively best place that we have ever been to, the Wai Opae Tide pools, in Kapoho. That night we drank mai tais and grilled fresh ahi with a guava barbeque sauce, setting on the lanai of a beautiful rental house. Ahhhh, we were home. (Shout out to Doug and Johnene. Kindred spirits that own and rent out the best place to stay in Kapoho! firstname.lastname@example.org)
The trip continued in that same vein all week long. We ate chocolate covered macadamia nuts, hand harvested and dipped by a local farmer at the Captain Cook Farmers. (http://www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/SouthKonaGreenMarket.html) BTW, he sells his amazing mac nuts online at (http://www.macadamia-nut.com/) We visited with a whale shark, Hawaiian monk seal, eel snake, white mouthed moray eel and scads of tropical fish and green sea turtles. Mai tais were in abundance along with fresh grilled fish and succulent fruits.
We finished our trip in Kona, staying at a bed and breakfast that had the best beds of the trip. Oh, I love being enveloped by a big soft bed. The B & B is called Hale Maluhia, house of peace. (http://www.hawaii-bnb.com/) The breakfasts at the place were hands down the best we have ever had at a B & B. (and we have stayed at a lot!) Platters filled with fresh tropical fruits and baked goods. Sour dough waffles, fresh fruit smoothies and an omelet bar that you could make your own. The lanai where breakfast was served was gorgeous! The birds are the entertainers, eating their breakfast and taking baths in the lovely waterfall.
The highlight of Hale Maluhia were Jenny, Pamela, and Adam, and their sparkling 5 year old daughter, Jade. These young folks go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable and happy. Thank you guys! Loved the Banana coconut milk smoothie! Amazing!
Jenny was serving up raw chocolate that she bought at a local farmers market. I had never seen or tasted raw chocolate before so this was a highlight for me. I can honestly say it looks a lot like brains. The cocoa beans are all covered in this whitish slime that looks just like I imagine grey matter looks. It reminded me that once I had heard that if a food looks like a part of the body, it is supposedly nutritional desirable for that body part. Well, this proves it fair and square, that chocolate is good for my brain! I need more! The taste of raw cocoa beans, on the other hand, was bitter and bland at the same time. Whoever figured out how to process chocolate beans from that messy matter to the wonderful drug I love, needs to be bronzed.
We finally had to say Aloha to the Islands so that we could come back and make more money to go back again. We are doing that just as fast as we can. Meanwhile to soothe our souls we are brewing lots of Mai Tais and baking banana bread. (The macadamia nuts didn’t last that long.)
This recipe is a low fat – high fiber banana muffin that I have been experimenting with. They are especially delicious and actually stay fresh for quite a few days after they are baked. Probably the high moisture content in them. Enjoy these little Hawaiian inspired jewels with fruit salad and low fat vanilla yogurt for a fulfilling breakfast.
Banana Bran Muffins
½ cup of fat free sour cream
1 cup of mashed very ripe bananas
½ cup of fat free milk
1 ½ cups of your favorite bran cereal
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of nut oil
(I used coconut oil)
1 farm fresh egg
1 generous teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of whole wheat flour
½ cup of oat bran
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
Preheat your best baking buddy, the oven, to 375 degrees. Combine the sour cream, banana and milk in your favorite blender bowl. Mix them up well then add the cereal, sugar, oil, egg and the vanilla. Whip this mixture up really good till the cereal is fairly emulsified. Let that mixture stand for 10 minutes or so while you do the following.
Add flour, bran, baking powder and soda in another bowl and whisk them together well. After you have whittled away 10 minutes oiling your muffin pan, add the flour mix to the wet till they are just moist. Drop batter into muffin cups till they are fat but not too full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till they are just beginning to brown and spring back when you touch them in the middle. Try not to burn your tongue eating them hot. Ono! (delicious) as they say in Hawai`i.