Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Stairs)

Nervousness, excitement, determination, those were the feelings on the morning of May 10th as our group prepared to hike the Haiku Stairs.  2:30 AM is no joke.  There was no backing out if you had second thoughts once we hit the road.  Our Crossfit group is an adventurous bunch, and everyone was ready but 3922 stairs and 4,000 feet is bound to make even the most ambitious a little concerned.  Although some people say the staircase travels straight up, the average slope is about 30 degrees, however there are many steep sections!

A little background on this thrilling hike.  The stairs are locate on the Winward side of Oahu and although the stairs are not open to the public, recently in the news it appears they might reopen the stairs with a managed access point at Winward Community College.

So why were the stairs built?   A powerful radio station and antenna were needed by the U.S. Navy to transmit signals to Navy ships that were operating throughout the Pacific.  They decided to use an Alexanderson Alternator, an enormous piece of equipment that required an equally sizable antenna.  The antennae were stretched across the Haiku valley.  Access was needed in order to finish the job.  The staircase was built, although originally a cable car was available for the workers to ride to the top instead of having to make the climb.

We started early to avoid running into the guard that is stationed by the entrance and had no problem arriving at 3:45.  I have had friends though that went to hike at that time and the guard was already there.  I guess we got lucky!

Hiking under a full moon, we were able to see everything clearly without headlamps. It turned out to be a perfect morning for the hike since there were no clouds.  The sunrise was incredible!

It took us about 2 1/2 hours up and 2 hours down.  We rested for quite a while on the first platform that you come to.  The distance from the bottom of the stairs to the first platform is the longest stretch.  Talk about quads being on fire!  All the pain was worth is for the sunrise though and the fog just poured off the mountains!

I'm so glad to have done this hike, and with such a great group of friends.  Hopefully, they will reopen the stairs and make it a "legal" attraction again on the island.  


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New favorite breakfast!

I  eat a lot of eggs and usually have one plus some egg whites with breakfast.  The only problem is that it gets a little boring. Mini quiches were just the thing!  These muffin-sized, bacon, spinach and tomato bites are incredibly delicious and easy ... and paleo, for any of you people out there that follow that.

You can really add anything you want to this mix, or come up with your own favorite blend of ingredients!

What you need:
8 eggs ( or more if you want to double/triple the batch)
1/2 cup of milk (I used canned coconut milk)
1/2 cup - 1 cup of bacon bits
1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 cup of chopped, fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a twelve cup muffin tray.  Bake for 20 min or until the eggs look slightly brown on top and are cooked through.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Inspiration!

I have not posted in a really long time! That's about to change, folks.

Christmas is as good a time to start back as any, sooooo how about some Christmas decoration inspiration? I love decorating for Christmas and usually go all out. Not so much this year, but it's still satisfactory since I came up with a new way to use Christmas ornaments!

I was really sad at first for two reasons.  1) It is hard to jump on the Christmas bandwagon when the temperature outside is between 70/80 degrees and you can hardly wear a pair of jeans without them sticking to you. I know all you people experiencing snow right now might be jealous, don't be. At least you have seasons! Reason 2) when I realized that I had no chandelier to hang Christmas ornaments from.

Hanging a wreath from the light fixture just looked very, very weird. I didn't really want floating greenery hovering above the table. Floating Christmas ornaments though, that I could do!

This looks so ... Pinteresty. Is that a word? Oh well. You get what I'm saying. The great thing about this is it is pretty cheap and super easy to make ... Like everything else thrifty and cute on Pinterest, right? :)

Materials you will need:

  • Screw in hooks
  • A cheap, fake garland
  • Fishing line
  • Ornaments of different colors/sizes
  • Scissors

The decoration:

Twist your hooks into the ceiling around your light fixture (I used three). Fold your garland in half and twist it around itself so that it's nice and full. Fold it again but in the shape of a circle and just twist the ends together. Place it on the ceiling hooks.

Now you're ready to start hanging the ornaments. This was the most time consuming part. I did a spiral pattern, but hanging the ornaments at different lengths would be pretty too! Simply decide the pattern you want and secure the fishing line to the ornament and then the wreath.

This is such an easy and eye-catching decoration for your dining room! You can stuff some ribbon in the wreath too for some extra sparkle!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Diane's Hummus

My mother-in-law should have her own cooking show ... or at least write a cook book.  Her vegan dishes are amazing. This hummus recipe is so much better than anything store-bought.  I had never had anything but grocery store hummus and now I'm never buying it again haha!

1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup cooked or one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne (add less or don't add any at all if you don't want it spicy!)
2 tbsp olive oil
sweet or smoked paprika for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, process the garlic until finely minced.  Add the chickpeas and tahini and process until smooth.  Add the lemon juice, salt and cayenne.  With the machine running, stream in the oil and process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.  Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

Yield: about 2 cups

We doubled the recipe and ended up with about as much as you get in a tub at Sam's Club.

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Racing the Sun to Koko Head

As we were about half way up the crater at 5 am, I started to wonder why we decided to get up at 3:45 do this.

Trust me, it's definitely worth it coming to the top dripping with sweat to feel that cool breeze from the ocean on your face, cooling your skin.  The view is breathtaking, and I find it so amazing how the clouds make shadows on the top of the water.

Looking out over this incredible display of God's creation brought to mind Psalms 95:3-7,

"For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

We live in Wahiawa, which was about a 40 minute drive down to Koko Head District Park.  Sunrise is around 5:45 or so and you'll just have to time it depending on where you live.  It took us 25 minutes to get to the top without  many breaks.  For some people it takes them an hour or longer and really just depends on your fitness level.  I wouldn't recommend doing this with kids just because it's very strenuous and going back down would be difficult.  I'd say, to experience this in the morning, it's worth waking up extra early and!  

The address is:  
423 Kaumakani Street, Honolulu 96825

You can visit their Google + page here

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Waimea Valley

This is a really nice, easy "hike".  I say "hike" because it's not really one at all ... more of a paved stroll through botanical gardens. Actually, that's exactly what it is and extremely beautiful.

They have different pricing options for groups, and you can check it out on their website here:

Basic admissions:

Adults $15
Children $7.50
Seniors $7.50

Military Adults $10.00
Military Children $5
Military Seniors $5

The valley is open seven days a week, operation from 9am-5pm.

This is about a mile and a half if you walk to the waterfall and back.  You do have the option of riding to the waterfall as well.  It's really amazing to see so many different type of plants, some of them look so fake!

This is definitely an easy, fun choice for a late Saturday morning.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thai Tofu Spring Rolls

These are so much better than the original spring rolls I made a few weeks ago.  Peanut butter and tomato might sound like a weird combo, but it's so creamy and yummy!

You can find the rice wraps on the oriental/international food isle at the grocery store.  

1/2 package of extra firm tofu (or more if you want to make more)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup chopped green onions
Fresh grated ginger
Spring roll wraps

Chop up the green onion and let it cook in the skillet on medium heat until fragrant.  Place the tofu on a clean hand towel and press the excess moisture out of it.  Cut the tofu into cubes and put it in the skillet.  Let it cook for abut 5 min or so until it is brown. Flip tofu and cook until the other side is nice and brown too.  Add a tablespoon or so of fresh, grated ginger. (more if you REALLY like ginger, I do!) Puree the canned tomatoes and and them plus the peanut butter to the mixture.  Cook until it is all a nice, creamy blend.

Soak one rice wrap at a time in a bowl of warm water and then spread it on a plate.  Tear up some lettuce and put it on the wrap first, then add the tofu mixture.  Fold up and eat or store it in the fridge for later ... but why would you want to do that?? 

This recipe makes 3-4 wraps if you only use half a package of tofu.  You could always add more tomato and peanut butter to make it go further.  I bet peanuts would be good mixed in with it too!  

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