Hey Cinco de Mayo, Put this in your Crock Pot and Cook It!

I’d like to say I planned this. Last week when I talked about my basic cooking recipes, the building blocks if you will, and teased you with my shredded chicken taco recipe, I’d like to say I knew Cinco de Mayo was right around the corner. That would be a lie.

I’m pretty sure something bigger than me and my poor organizational skills brought us here right now. While I’m not the best at paying attention to a calendar, I do like to pay attention to the lovely signs and arrows life occasionally gives us to let us know we are on the right path.

This is clearly fate and meant to be. And if you find yourself wondering what to cook for Cinco de Mayo and also find yourself reading this post, then clearly that is fate telling you to cook this. Listen to the signs and listen to your tummy. [Read more…]

Avocado Dip and Getting Back to the Basics

So much has happened. I went to Coachella and it was ahhhh-mazing!

You are probably thinking, Coachella, wow, aren’t you a little old for that? And the answer is no, well I hope not. You are never too old to go to a music festival and dance your heart out in a desert sand storm for 3 straight days. Right Grandpa?

Granted I came home looking tired and a few years older, it’s what’s inside that counts, and I came home feeling young!

Young and rebellious. Like I didn’t have to live according to societies rules anymore. I mean we make our own realities, right? Why couldn’t we just home school our kids in an RV while traveling from festival to festival? YOLO! (Mom- yolo stands for- you only live once:)

It took about a week for the Coachella aftershocks to wear off. And as the fog began to lift, it became perfectly clear that if I dragged my kids around to festivals they would grow up to be worse than Lindsey Lohan.

For the same reasons I explain to my children, if it was your birthday everyday it wouldn’t be special. Besides there is a certain beauty and security in the everyday life. I know there is, sometimes it’s just hard to feel.

So now it’s back to the basics. Going to the gym, parent-teacher conferences, packing lunch boxes, paying bills, sitting in a sweltering hot, swimming pool size petri-dish counting the minutes till gymnastics is over while a toddler repeatedly rams a toy truck into my leg. You know.

Thinking about getting back to the basics made me think a lot about Maui Flour Child. To be honest, it’s not all White Sauce Pizzettas and Red Wine Poached Pears around here. You can’t eat fancy food everyday nor can you go to Coachella every weekend. Boo.

So I thought I’d start a unit on my basic recipes. I mean, you know a lot about me, but you don’t even know my shredded chicken taco recipe yet. We have a lot to cover. Let’s begin with this fabulously simple Creamy Avocado Dip.

I love me a good chunky guacamole but this avocado dip is so versatile and flavorful that it has become a staple whenever I make Mexican food.  Don’t you think it would be yummy in a squeeze bottle and drizzled over this Tortilla Chip Crusted Shrimp? Or what if you made it a little thinner and tossed it with a edamame cucumber salad? I’m just thinking out loud here.  And getting very hungry.

Here’s what we will need:

2 ripe avocados

1 jalapeño (with the seeds, live a little)

1 clove garlic

a handful of cilantro

a generous pinch of kosher salt

some pepper

a dash of cumin

1 cup milk

Here’s what we are going to do:

Put music on loud. Put everything except the milk into the cusinart.

Turn it on and slowly add the milk until you get a nice creamy consistency. Not too thick, not too thin. Taste. Make sure there’s enough salt or else it will be bland, and that’s no way to live. Unless your doctor says… Since all avocados are not created equal, you be the judge of how much milk to add.

Get you bag of chips.

Creamy + Cool + Spicy= Ahhhh-mazing


353 Days till Coachella 2014,


Shrimp Ceviche with Cucumber Salsa

One of the cutest things about kids who grow up in Hawaii is that they eat sushi, sashimi and poke like it’s nobody’s business. I have had many proud mommy’s moments at restaurants on the mainland when my kids have asked for these foods.

My daughter’s favorite thing to eat is shrimp ceviche. Good call little one! It has been since she was one and a half years old.  There is nothing I love more than the shocked look on doctors, teachers, and family’s faces when they ask her what she likes to eat and shrimp ceviche is the answer she gives. It really just warms my heart to hear this. [Read more…]

Smokey Black Beans, Goat Cheese Polenta and Red Chili Tomato Sauce

Smokey Black Beans with Goat Cheese PolentaI am very proud of myself for making this dish. This is one of those “O-WOW” dinners. Why? Because the first time someone bites into this dish they will say “O-WOW!”

This dish came to me at the perfect time, I was having a week of cooking low self esteem. But I’m back now and spicier than ever!

Here’s what happened. It’s pet week at my daughters preschool. If you have a pet you can bring him in for show and tell. We only have fish, and there is not a day that goes by where my daughter doesn’t let me know that we only have fish and don’t have a dog. (I know, I know…)

So a bunch of moms were huddled around a table admiring something. I figured it was another hamster on a wheel, then I heard the words that stopped me in my tracks. “And you made them out of strawberries, that’s sooooo cute!”

Hmmm, I thought, what do we have here? Am I being challenged to a preschool snack day throw down? [Read more…]

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Do you ever play the “if you could only have one thing for the rest of your life” game?

You know, when you have to choose between 2 things you really love.

Wine or Beer?

Coffee or Tea?

Rice or Potatoes?

Jeans or Skirts?

This is a hard game for me and it is not often you will get me to make a decisive choice. But I can say with certainty that if I could only eat Mexican food for the rest of my life, I would be happy. As long as I could still have both beer and wine and it didn’t involve tequila! Don’t ask what happened last time I drank tequila. Just know, if you get married in Mexico and have Patron shots as your party favor you are kinda asking for it… (Not my fault, love you Skyler!)

So as you will see in the years to come, I love love love Mexican food. To me, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa is like a building block for fine Mexican cuisine. It is packed with flavor, smells amazing in the oven, and tastes great on everything (except brownies).

So what should you eat with this? Here are a few ideas if you want to take it beyond just chips and salsa. [Read more…]