Holidays in Hawaii

I’m not a pork eater, so the tradition of savoring Kalua pig roasted in an imu on Thanksgiving did not appeal to me.  We brought our own tradition with us and cooked a meal with some family and friends for the day. One of the things we are used to on Thanksgiving is eating around 2pm, but in Hawaii it’s mostly done around dinnertime.

Christmas in Hawaii is much different than it is on the Mainland. I didn’t notice as many in-your-face “buy, buy, buy” ads, and no one was really in a hurry to buy anything. Black Friday happened, but nothing like everyone on the Mainland is used to. I didn’t experience the selfishness among the people in Hawaii as I was used to in the rest of the United States. It was a nice change of pace.

Where I come from, people begin decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend or right after that. We expected the entire island would be lit up with holiday lights. But that was not so. Except for large businesses in Waikiki and some churches and homes, there were very few places lit up. We realized quickly that it’s not because Hawaiians don’t celebrate Christmas; it’s that the price of electricity is so ridiculous in Hawaii that putting up a lot of lights or anything extra that requires power isn’t exactly cost efficient.

To give a price comparison, our home in Florida with running the air conditioning (and washer/dryer/etc.) all summer long, our electric bill averaged $175 at the highest month. In Hawaii, however, running the air conditioning a few nights in August for 23 days cost us $200. We learned quickly not to run the a/c – period. Still, every bill we received was $200 for the month. When we discussed decorating for Christmas, we decided to sell our pre-lit tree and outdoor lights and opt for something much wiser – a rosemary bush – because I could use it to cook with year-round.

Decorations at a church
How Santa gets to the island.


This yard had the most decorations in the area.


On a main highway


What Christmas Tree Shortage?




The most affordable Christmas tree in Hawaii



Making Homemade Suet Recipe is For the Birds

I can buy bird suet at the store on sale for about $1.50 a block. After looking up recipes, I thought why not make it myself?

I tried out those recipes and they did not seem to work well. Combining leftover coconut oil was a bad idea – it melted as soon as the sun hit it, melted all down the side of the tree, leaving a treat on the ground for the dog. Some recipes suggested using Crisco, which I did, but learned to combine it with peanut butter so it stuck together better. Other recipes suggested going to the butcher and asking for gross things.

Without measuring a thing, I scooped a few spoonfuls of Crisco together with a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, lightly melted it on the stove, and threw in a bunch of bird seed. Using recycled aluminum Chinese takeout pans, I poured the batter in each and stuck in the freezer. Within a few hours, they were ready to place in the suet cages. The birds love them, especially the downy woodpecker that likes to fly by each day.

**Note: In humid weather conditions, it’s important to watch these carefully, as mold can occur.

Wishful Thinking – Coffee and Chocolate for Breakfast

I was having a hormonal moment this morning. Remembering that I had chocolate cake in the freezer, I thought about how great it would taste with a cup of coffee. It’s been forever since I’ve eaten an unhealthy breakfast, but today I needed that comfort food.

Smiling from ear to ear, I open the freezer, and pull out Amy’s Organic Chocolate Cake (just found it in the store the other day, I’ve never tried it). I’m all excited about eating cake, which is something I never eat because of the contents. Anyway… I look at the cooking directions… and it says: “Thaw cake in refrigerator for 2 and a half hours”.

My dreams were shattered. How badly I wanted this chocolate cake with my cup of coffee this morning. I guess I will have to wait until lunch.

Vegetarian Beans Without Meat! (Really)

(**Note: An article in Forbes about Kobe beef being sold in the U.S. as not being actual Kobe has raised a lot of issues about consumers being lied to. Not only is it unethical for companies to claim something on a label that is completely false, but it is outright fraud and should be treated as so by the U.S. government.)

Sometimes labels can be so truthful that I find myself laughing out loud in the grocery store. As a matter of fact, there was a man standing next to me wondering why I was doing so and taking a picture of this can of beans. I told him what I saw, and at first he didn’t get it until I repeated, “It’s a can of beans with no meat.”

If you saw a label like this one you’d laugh, too! Who do they think they are kidding? Do they normally sell canned beans with meat?

Unfiltered Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale – The Best Thing for Nausea, Digestion

Whenever I stumble upon a great product, I feel the need to share it with the world so that everyone else can enjoy it, too.

Having a corn allergy is the pits, but it has forced me to try new things. Since I am unable to drink regular ginger ale from the grocery store due to its corn syrup content, I found some natural products from the health food store. The one I’m raving about here is called Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost. Strange name. Great flavor.

FGGA comes in a clear bottle, and at the bottom of the bottle sits about a half inch thick of real ginger. You do have to tilt the bottle to get the good stuff. The flavor is amazing! Being a ginger lover helps. The ale is a little costly, but so much better than the junk in the grocery store. The company has flavored ales that I have yet to try… and their website has some tasty looking drink recipes.

Jim’s Organic Coffee – Witches Brew X – is the Best!

I love a good cup of coffee, and Susanna does not play well with others without one. I tend to like the darker, robust coffees and Cuban coffee, but hadn’t been quite satisfied with everything else in the grocery store.

I recently discovered Jim’s Organic Coffee in my local health food store. I tried a sample of the “X” blend, also known as Witches Brew, to see if I would like it. Whoa! It is the BEST coffee I have tasted! It’s clean, not bitter like a lot of coffees. Although the beans are relatively black, this coffee is surprisingly light after brewing. And I find myself using less creamer, which is good for the waistline.

Check out Jim’s website and see if you can buy this locally. It is well worth it!