Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette

We are on the road and it is cold! I forgot how cold the mainland can be. I also forgot how seriously the mainland takes the holidays.  There are lights everywhere with north pole trains and hot chocolate and Santa’s workshops and ice skating! It’s very exciting for my kids. And for me!

Since I’m not in my own kitchen for Thanksgiving this year I have been giving the task of making a side. Which totally means that I get to hang out with family and friends outside of the kitchen! Sounds very relaxing!

There’s been a whole lot of talk about Brussel sprouts going on in my family. Who’s going to make them? Is there going to be enough? Some people want them whole and roasted, some fried with the leaves peeled! It makes me very happy to see my family take the matter of brussel sprouts so seriously. It gives me a sense of belonging to know there are other people like me in this world!

The only reasonable thing to do is to have brussel sprouts done 5 different ways. Here’s how I’m making mine. A shaved raw salad with smokey bacon, nutty broccoli, toasted coconut and a maple Dijon vinaigrette to tie it all together.


10 brussel sprouts, trimmed and washed

2 carrots, peeled

2 cups chopped broccoli

1/4 cup marcona almonds

1/3 cup coconut chips

4 thick slices of bacon (optional, but a very good idea)

1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries

2oz goat cheese

For the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

2 tb whole grain mustard

3 tb apple cider vinager

2 1/2 tb maple syrup

1/3 cup olive oil


And we’re off!

Get out your cusinart and fit it with the slicer blade. You could totally do this by hand, it will just take longer. Since we are eating the brussel sprouts raw you want to make sure you trim the stem and peel away any yucky looking leaves. Into the cusinart they go and ta-da!

Into a nice, large salad bowl the shaved brussel sprouts go.

Let’s start building this epic holiday salad.  Peel 2 carrots and throw them through the slicer, easy.  Heat up a large pan with a little bit of olive oil and toss in the chopped broccoli. Cook over medium heat until nice and toasty. You want to bring out the nutty flavor of the broccoli.

In the same pan, dry toast your Marcona almonds. Now this salad is starting to look good.

Would my Grandpa eat it? Not quite yet… Let’s keep building.

In the same pan toast your coconut chips. Keep a close on them cause they toast up real fast. Your should be able to smell a little bit of Hawaii coming through all those fabulous Thanksgiving aromas. Put these toasted coconut chips off to the side and add them to the salad just before serving.

In the same pan (like how I’m saving you from extra dirty dishes, yeah, I got your back) crisp up the bacon. Obviously, adding bacon is optional but I found it to be a very good idea. I’m also pretty sure it is the only way I will get my Grandpa to enjoy a raw brussel sprout salad.

Let the bacon cool down on paper towels.

Full disclosure- I had a very strong desire to go rouge and dump the whole salad in that pan and fry the shaved brussel sprouts in the leftover sizzling bacon fat. I stopped myself but it’s probably going to happen sometime between now and Christmas. Just so you know….

Crumble or chop up the bacon if it isn’t crumbling according to plan.

Bacon, goat cheese, dried cherries and coconut chips top the salad.

Haha, every picture I take the salad suspiciously has less bacon.

For the salad dressing add the dijon, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil to a mason jar and shake, shake, shake.  Be generous with the dressing and toss this salad before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fresh Squeezed Salad and Bucket-Filling

As we were driving home from school the other day I overheard my kindergartner talking about bucket-dipping. Hmmmmm? Have you heard of this before?

“What’s bucket-dipping?” I asked.

Here’s how she broke it down for me:

“Mom, if someone is being mean to you or if they say they don’t like you, that’s bucket-dipping. If you want to have fun and be happy with lots of friends you have to have a full bucket. You can be a bucket-filler too. If you see someone who’s sad and you ask them if they want to play with you, that’s bucket-filling.” [Read more…]

Watermelon and Arugula 4th of July Salad

As a child, 4th of July was always my favorite holiday. We would spend the month of July in Del Mar with friends and from the house we stayed at you could see the spectacular firework show the fairgrounds would put on each year.

My parents had a friend named Jack who knew all kinds of important people and had all kinds of connections. He was the super cool uncle who would always play with us and had a wife with a voice like a Disney princess.

One year Jack told us kids his friend down at the fairgrounds needed some help choosing the colors for the fireworks. So all us kids lined up, and we each got a turn to talk into the phone and tell this friend the colors we wanted.

Jack would say, “Ok, next is Angela.” And he would hold the phone up to my ear and I would say, “I want a firework that’s pink, yellow and green!” And so on…

Later that night while we all gathered outside watching the firework show you could hear us kids shouting, “That was my firework! Mom, did you see it!”

And I felt so special. [Read more…]

Food Day and a Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Arugula and Torn Mozzarella

What a week in the food world it has been! As many of you know October 24th is Food Day and there are events happening in communities all over the nation to raise awareness and address issues of hunger, health and nutrition, and sustainable farming practices. I’m so excited to have been a part of food day here on Oahu as eating healthy, real food is a top priority for myself and my family.

Want to take a quiz to find out if you eat real? Click here. I got a 94. Pretty good. They docked me for white rice and beer. Hey, no one’s perfect. Seriously though, white rice is a weakness of mine and I imagine it is for many who grew up in Hawaii. I’m going to work on making the switch over to brown rice. Except in the case of sushi, I’ll never do that. [Read more…]

Deconstructed Summer Roll Salad

Here’s what’s going on. I’m making an oldie but a goodie. A tofu rice noodle salad with a sesame soy vinaigrette. A sort of deconstructed summer roll if you will. And total honesty, I’m listening to  Psy – Gangnam Style  I can’t help it, it’s so gosh darn catchy! And the video, amazing!

Anyone want to join me? Let’s do this!

Yesterday when I was at Costco I passed by the electronic section and what song did I hear blasting? Yep, you guessed it, Gangnam Style. Apparently I am not the only one who finds this song awesome because there in the speaker section was a guy (older, skinny, long hair) dancing.

He had some surprisingly decent moves, you could tell he practiced often. At first I thought maybe he was doing a demo. Showing people how much fun they could have if they bought this speaker system. Then I thought, finally I am going to witness a flash mob! YES!  Nope, he was just a guy dancing. Having his own party at Costco with free snacks and free tunes.

He looked so comfortable and natural that hardly anyone even noticed this Costco free spirit. I guarantee that if I started dancing in the speaker isle, people would stare, raise eyebrows, it would be awkward, and embarrassing, OMG is that Tiare’s mom?

Good for you Costco free spirit! [Read more…]

Last Days of Summer Salad with White Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette

Grilled Shrimp and Nectarine Salad

Summer, please don’t end!

I know it wasn’t long ago that I was counting down the days till school started. I just didn’t have my summer groove on yet. Now that I finally found it, you’re telling me it’s over? Noooooooooooo!

I want to sleep in with my kids and stay in our pj’s till 9, and go to the beach, and jump off piers, and go on road trips that take us hundreds of miles out of cell phone range. For the last few weeks I’ve felt like the crying little kid who doesn’t want to leave the birthday party. Admitting that the party’s over has never really been one of my strengths.

Like it or not, summer vacation is coming to an end. I have that nagging Sunday feeling inside that makes it hard to fully relax. Monday morning is right around the corner and you’d better be ready. [Read more…]

Jessica’s Montana Kale Salad

Montana Kale SaladOne of my favorite things about going to the mainland is ROAD TRIPS! Yes, we torture our children with long drives, loud music, scenic routes, and stops at strange stores in strange towns. We have no interest in making good time and whenever asked, “Are we there yet?” we preach that the journey is equally important to the destination. I like to think they will look back on these adventures with fond memories, but time will tell.

We went on a spontaneous road trip from Idaho to Montana to visit our favorite family friends. All kinds of exciting things happened.

For one, my Mom was able to handle 3 non-stop hours of our music cranked up to road trip volume, and I even think she genuinely enjoyed some of it. Well done Mom, Montana playlist coming your way soon!

We saw 6 moose, a bald eagle nest and a yard sale that would put every episode of hoarders to shame.

We got to go wake surfing which is good fun if you haven’t tried it yet. Flathead lake was warm and glassy and Jacks boat makes an amazing, never-ending wave. The best part is when you fall in the middle of the lake and you are waiting for the boat to come back around and pick you up, you don’t even have to think about sharks.

I did think a bit about bears though later on by the campfire…

My daughters got to see hail for the first time! We were making s’mores and watching a storm get closer and closer. Everyone kept commenting on how loud the rain sounded. Surprise, hail! All 10 of us had to run for cover and wait out the storm crowded together in a small boat house. This was obviously very exciting for us Maui people, we even kept some hail and put it in the freezer.

And of course we had an amazing Montana dinner. Grilled spice rubbed pork tenderloin, homemade baked beans, and a kale salad we have been recreating every night since. Jess, I hope I do it justice!


3 C chopped Kale

2 C chopped Spinach

1 C chopped Red Cabbage

1 large diced Tomato or 12 small tomatoes

1/2 Avocado

1 cup sliced Hearts of Palm

3 slices Crumbled Bacon

2 T Blue Cheese

Balsamic Dresing

1 t Dijon mustard

3 T balsamic vinegar

1/2 C olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Trim the kale off the stems and cut it up with the spinach and cabbage. The trick here is to cut your greens small! Like your making a slaw. Put it all in your handy salad spinner and wash and spin. Cut up the rest of your salad ingredients and artfully arrange. I like to make my salad dressing in a mason jar and shake it up. Toss the salad with the salad dressing about 30 minutes before eating. The vinegar helps to tenderize the kale.




Strawberry Papaya and Grilled Chicken Salad

Strawberry Papaya and Grilled Chicken Salad

Well here we are! Oahu has welcomed us with sunny days, a fully stocked Target and light freeway traffic. We have even been blessed with visits from friends! I have to say, it is greatly appreciated to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place.

We are in our new home, although it feels more like camping than a home. The first few days of sleeping on an air mattress and drinking wine out of plastic cups came with a hint of romance. Now it seems my limited kitchen and stiff back are starting to cramp my style. FYI when a moving company tells you it will take about a week for your container to arrive, they really mean 10 days. Plan accordingly.

I miss Maui. Yesterday my daughter took a sip of my perrier and said, “Ewww, it tastes like lipstick!” My mind was immediately flooded with a thousand memories of my own childhood. Sips off my mom’s diet coke, bites off her fork, all accompanied with the subtle taste of Estee Lauder.

I miss my mom.

Definitely time to take a break from peanut butter sandwiches and adult lego projects (thank you Office Max for selling us everything in 1000 pieces!) and cook something that reminds me of home.

This is my moms recipe, she adapted it from an old school Mama’s Fish House recipe. All you need to make this salad is a BBQ, a cutting board, a paring knife and a blender. Check.

One of my favorite things about this salad is almost all the ingredients are local so it’s ultra fresh tasting! Papayas, Oranges, Avocados, Macadamia Nuts, you could practically grow this salad if you’re that type of person.

This is also a great salad to make for a party because you can arrange all the ingredients on a platter, keep it in the fridge, then add the dressing and macadamia nuts just before serving. If you’d like to “beef” it up a bit, lay your ingredients out over a bed of spinach or arugula. Easy peasy.

Did I mention it’s also healthy?

Strawberry Papaya and Grilled Chicken Salad

2 Ripe Strawberry Papayas

2 Ripe Big Island Avocados

4 Local Oranges (I used blood oranges cause that’s what I had)

4 chicken breasts

Salt and Pepper

A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 Cups Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Papaya Seed Dressing (see below)

Season your chicken with salt, pepper and chopped flat leaf parsley. Grill and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. Cut your papayas in half and scoop out the seeds saving at least 2 TB for your dressing. With a paring knife, peel off the skin. Slice up your papaya into generous strips and set aside on a plate. Cut your avocados in half and remove the seed. Use a spoon to scoop out the entire avocado and then slice into strips about the same size as your papaya. Cut the skin off your oranges, making sure to get all the bitter white part off, then slice into wheels and add to your plate. If you want to be super fancy you can segment your oranges. Ohlala.

When you’re ready, layer all your ingredients either on a large platter or on individual plates alternating chicken, papaya, avocado… Arrange your orange wheels around and finish with the salad dressing and macadamia nuts.


Papaya Seed Dressing

Papaya Seed Dressing

This salad dressing is amazing. You will never buy papaya seed dressing again. Warning: if you do, you will be sorely disappointed.

Tip: If you wipe a little oil around your measuring cup before pouring in the honey it will slide right out, no sticky mess. (Thank you Michael Chiarello, genius!)

1/2 Cup White Vinegar

2 t Dry Mustard

2 t salt

1/4 Cup Honey

1/4 Maui Onion Chopped

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 TB Papaya Seeds

Add the first 5 ingredients to a blender or food processor. Slowly stream in olive oil. Then add papaya seeds and blend until it looks like cracked black pepper.