Mango banana apple

How To Figure Out If Fruit Is Ripe?

Fruits are some of the healthiest foods that we can eat. Most, if not all diets, include servings of fresh fruit daily to be healthy. The thing with this kind of food is that they need to be ripe in order to be savored and appreciated. Some can be eaten unripe but these are few and far between. Eating unripe fruits might give you a mild stomach ache or land you to the hospital in severe cases. On the other hand, over ripe fruits can be unappetizing to eat so it is best to leave those alone.

Those who have their own fruit trees may be more savvy to the signs of ripeness and will know just by looking. A lot of local fruit vendors are only too willing to share their expertise when it comes to choosing ripe fruit. Some of us learn tips and tricks that our parents or even our grandparents may have practiced while others have come to realize some useful ideas on their own. Our instincts are actually quite handy especially when it comes to something as basic as looking for something good to eat. And with the world wide web at our disposal, there are so many different ways to learn how to tell if fruit is ripe or not. (more…)

Pineapple

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

There are a lot of different dietary lifestyles out there these days, and it’s hard to know which one is best. Is going vegan the answer, or is paleo the way to go?

At the end of the day, there are good arguments for both options, even though vegan and paleo are incompatible with one another most of the time.

Then there’s the whole ‘wheat belly’ argument. Is gluten really as devastating as it’s been made out to be the last couple of years?

So it can be hard to come up with a tasty treat that’s not only nutritious and delicious but also cuts right across the dietary spectrum.

Fortunately, what we have here is a smoothie that’s not only super tasty but also manages the incredible feat of being simultaneously gluten-free.

Not only is this smoothie packed full of fresh fruit, but it also has amazing detoxifying properties. (more…)

marinated grilled tropical fish with coconut rice - finished

Grilled Marinated Fish with Tropical Salsa and Coconut Rice

This Mexican recipe is one of its kind and reminds me of my early years when I was growing up in Hawaii.

My dad, who was a chef in a local restaurant not far away from our home was an avid fan of grilled marinated fish with a touch of coconut rice and tropical salsa. Every Saturday he used to come home early to prepare the sumptuous meal for the family, while our mom just watched how its done in pure admiration. However, she too learned how to make the good meals after awhile. The meal was special considering the fact that it was prepared by our dad.

My love for this meal stems from the fact that I love grilled marinated fish too.

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Moda Flame 50 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Buying a Fireplace For My Tropical Home

A fireplace adds a certain incomparable charm to a room. It makes a house look and feel cozy and warm.

And most modern style homes could definitely use a little more “cozy and warm”. Even if they’re in a tropical clime, like mine.

In my opinion, a traditional fireplace just doesn’t work in a tropical home. To start with, wood-burning fireplaces require chimneys and mantles which don’t always fit in a modern-style home.

When we finally decided to add a fireplace, we needed another way.

Luckily, installing a fireplace in a modern home is easier than ever, thanks to electric fireplace inserts.

An electric fireplace insert is a type of electric fireplace that you can install flush into your wall or existing fireplace opening. It uses electricity, instead of wood or gas, to provide heat and/or light to a room. You can learn more about the different styles and types of electric fireplace inserts on http://www.topratedfireplaceinserts.com.

This means it doesn’t need a chimney or a mantle, which makes it perfect for installing underneath a large painting or big-screen flat TV (like ours).

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BBQ Chicken

Guinness BBQ Chicken

My husband and I love to throw football game parties for our friends and family.

The excitement of the game and shouts of encouragement make game day special.

Last weekend, I decided to prepare my recipe for Guinness beer BBQ chicken. I made them using chicken wings, which is more appropriate for a football game. It makes for succulent tasty chicken wing that makes it impossible to eat just one wing.

Beer BBQ Chicken recipe
I love this particular Guinness Beer BBQ chicken recipe because it has Asian influence.

You can vary it by changing the pieces of chicken or adding other ingredients such as extra brown sugar or herbs. Some variations that I have found tasty are adding a touch of curry,  chili powder, or cayenne pepper if you want it spicier. Try to vary it by adding molasses or more unique Asian spices. Or you can add chopped tomatoes or cheeses to the mix if you wanted it less spicy. (more…)

mango chiffon cake

Mango Chiffon Cake

I just ran across a really nice recipe for Mango Chiffon Cake

I substituted a few ingredients and turned it into a cake that easier to make but just as good. The ingredient list is nice and short on my version, too – it’s easy to find everything you need.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cake Flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup + 3/4 cup White Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 7 large Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 7 large Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 3/4 cup Mango Puree

DIRECTIONS

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mango margarita

Isla Sangria Frozen Margaritas

Recently, my husband and I had a rare chance to spend some time together away from the kids – we flew down to Cabo, San Lucas, for the weekend. The resort we stayed at was all inclusive, and there was a lot of alcohol available. A lot of it was Sangria – but I find the traditional Sangria drink is too tart for my taste.

When I was down there, I missed the richer, fruitier taste of my favorite Hawaiian-style drinks.  So after I came home, I decided to give the basic Isla Sangria an upgrade. My version uses white wine, fresh mango, lime juice, nectarines, calamansi fruit – plus a shot of tequila to give it that authentic margarita kick.

The Isla Sangria is a refreshing alcoholic drink that is easy to prepare. This is a very tropical drink that needs to be served ice cold or the flavors will clash a bit.

This one is really special because it’s made with the juice of the calamansi fruit, a delectable treat that most Americans don’t know much about. The calamansi is from Asia and the Philippines, and it’s sort of a cross between a lime and an orange. Very unique flavor. (more…)

ahi poke with ogo seaweed

Ahi Poke With Ogo Seaweed

Ahi Poke is a common sight at Hawaiian family get togethers and outdoor activities.

In Hawaiian, Ahi is another name for raw tuna (preferably yellow fin) and Poke means to “mix up”. So, mixed-up raw tuna. 

The tradition of ahi poke goes back many years.  Real Hawaiians eat their poke with their fingers. It is not unusual to see this still done today at luaus.

I like to serve my poke with tropical fruits on the side – mangoes are a great addition when cubed and chilled. Sprinkled with coconut shavings and diced pinapple, mangos go well with any fresh ahi or sashimi dish.

Ahi poke can be served chunky or mashed into a paste. If served as a paste, most native Hawaiians will add it to a leaf of lettuce. This way, they can take it with them on picnics and hikes. Sometimes, poke is served layered with sheets of ogo seaweed for contrast. This layering adds a real beauty to the dish.

Ahi poke is a great go-to meal on a hot summers day. It is cold and refreshing, with bites of cold cucumber or lemon along with the diced raw (sashimi) ahi. It can be fixed in several different ways. Sometimes, people like to add sesame seeds, macadamia nuts and diced green onions. Recipes for ahi poke are as varied as the people that make it.  (more…)

lemon bars with coconut crust

Mango Lemon Bars With Coconut Crust

The weekend was so much fun! but here it is, Monday again.

It’s 4 am and the alarm goes off, waking my 2 sleepy kids and my husband (who has a trip to take). Looking outside, I can see a drizzle of rain. My shoulders slump.

What could possibly help my Monday morning blues?

And then, I remembered:  the mango lemon bars we made yesterday! Just thinking about them made my mouth immediately pucker up with anticipation. That flaky coconut crust, the lemon zest and the vanilla bean tempted me. Oh, how they tempted.

Luckily, we had about a dozen left in the fridge from our weekend family get together, so my entire family got to kick our crappy week off with a sweet treat for breakfast. Changes your attitude right away, let me tell you. Especially the kids.

The mango lemon bar recipe below brings back images of my completely tropical life in Hawaii, growing up. Mangos, lemons and coconut have just the right amount of tartness and sweetness to make these bars a special treat any day. When I was a kid, we used to eat them on rainy days, too. (more…)

mangos and sticky rice

How to Make Mango Sticky Rice from Scratch

When I grew up in Hawaii, we ate sticky rice pretty much every day for lunch or breakfast.

Every once in a while, though, my mom knew how to turn that boring starch into a Thai dessert magic – by adding mangos, of course.

Seriously, mango sticky rice is to die for. But in truth, it is not really made with regular sticky rice – to make this dish, you need sweet rice.

Sweet rice is sometimes called glutinous rice, and you can find it in most Asian groceries and on some Asian food shelves at your local market.

Because this dessert was such a delight during my childhood, I decided to share the recipe with you, especially since it is so simple. As long as you have a couple of products bought from your local Asian food market, your sticky rice will undoubtedly turn out great – and I am honestly warning you that you will fall in love with it. (more…)