Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Goodbye 2010! What an amazing year...  Looking back I really had a fantastic year. Here is a short re-cap of the year I had:  I got engaged, ran the Hana Relay, went rock climbing for the first time, got a short board, went to the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai, learned how to put in a zipper!, hiked on the Na Pali coast,  rode in a helicopter, and enjoyed time with my family and friends.
 

Here's to the past...looking forward to the future.

With all that fun, what can I possibly have to look forward to in 2011 you ask?  Why, plenty of things!
First off I signed up for the Great Aloha Run and will be running my first 8 mile run!  Woo HOO!  I am also getting married in June, so I am a soon to be Mrs.  Whoa, that sounds old!  I will celebrate my 27th birthday and enjoy Hawaii for my 9th year.  I can't even begin to imagine the fun things that are to come this year.

Happy Holidays, Good Luck and plenty of positivity in the upcoming year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Caramel Tutorial

I made caramels  tonight for Christmas, along with a lot of other goodies.  I posted the recipe last year, but thought I would include a tutorial/recipe for this year.  They are so insanely delish so if you don't have anyone to share them with at home, make sure you gift them!  It makes a lot.

Start with your ingredients:
1/3 cup water
4 cups sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
4 oz. unsalted butter (room temp)
4 cups heavy cream (scalded)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla


Then place your water, sugar, and light corn syrup in a large pot.  I would recommend something deep so when you pour the cream in later you have a lot of room for bubbling and expansion.


Cook until sugar reaches 305 degrees F.  Washing down the sides of the pot with a brush and water to prevent crystallization.  If you don't want to wash down, put a lid over the pot and check the temperature periodically, the steam will naturally keep the sides moist and free of crystals.


Once the sugar mixture reaches 305 degrees F, remove from heat and add scalded cream and room temperature butter slowly.  It will bubble up and look something like this.  (above photo)


Place back on the heat after adding salt and vanilla and cook until 248 degrees F.  The caramel will be fairly light in color but extremely bubbly.  Be careful not to burn yourself as sugar burns can be quite painful.  Use oven mitts and a steady hand when handling hot sugar.


When caramel has stopped bubbling, pour it into a half sheet pan prepared with foil or industrial plastic wrap that won't melt.   Let cool and cover overnight.  Cut and wrap the next day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do It Yourself Invitations from Merriment Design

As usual, wedding planning is on my mind and I can't help but wander through the many invitations on the internet.  I stumbled across Merriment Design's sewn invitations and fell in love.  Are they time consuming?  YES.  Are they beautiful?  YES!  Do I want to make them?  ... ... ... uhm... I really do.  :)

(from here)


Yep she cuts each piece by hand.  Then sews it.  One of a kind magic.


Anyone feel like having a sewing party??  MOM??  (Perfect timing since you are on break...)

Laniakea Surf Photos

A drive up to the North Shore a few weeks ago brought me to a place of peace and awe.  The waves were beautiful and the surf was up!  The competition that had been scheduled for that day at Pipeline was cancelled, but that didn't mean there weren't any surfers ripping it up.  I got out my camera and a beer and this is what I saw...


Climbing up the face


Carving back down


Riding double . . .


Splash!  Another one goes in for a wave of the day.


Still riding double


Waves were really picking up!

Ended up being a pretty fun day to go watch the surf on the North Shore.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Christmas Gift Peeks...

Christmas is coming up so quick and I have been pretty good this year about making my gifts.  Here are a few more peeks...  These are some of my handmade cards for one of my good friends.  (she already got them so I can show them away!)


Psst...  (everyone loves secrets!)


DANG!  Who doesn't say Dang??


I love this stamp from corrabelle on etsy!


Perfect for anytime...  right?

I got really into handmade cards this year.  The ribbons and stamps make them so fun to sew and put together.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Giveaway WINNER!

Sorry it took me so long to finalize my giveaway!  I went on random.org this morning though and we have a winner!  Linda Kizzier is the lucky winner of the amethyst earrings! Congratulations Linda!  I will be shipping your prize out soon.  Thank you to everyone who entered and keep your eyes open for the next giveaway...  You never know when one may happen!  Happy Holidays everyone.
 (Special coupon in my etsy shop:::::  enter HOLIDAY at checkout to get 10% off your entire order until January 31st.)


Linda's Prize: Amethyst and Tanzanite earrings from my etsy shop

Sneak Peek at Christmas Sewing...

Just a sneak peek at some Christmas sewing projects I have been making.  I can't give away too much because they are presents, but I have been having so much fun!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paradise Helicopters

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were treated to a ride in a helicopter (a present from last year).  It was awesome!  We flew with Paradise Helicopters out of Turtle Bay on the North Shore and went from there all over the island.  We saw all of the North Shore, the middle of the island, flew over Pearl Harbor, across the South Shore and along the coast of the Windward Side before flying over Sacred Falls and then back to Turtle Bay.

The controls


The bridge at Waimea Bay


Dole Plantation maze...  Super cool!


Always stunning Waikiki Harbor area


Hanauma Bay


Sacred Falls, the only way to see it!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jackson Chameleon & Hiking Hawaii Loa Ridge

This morning I hiked Hawaii Loa Ridge with my hiking club buddy and we found a jackson chameleon on the path.  What a pleasant surprise!  We look for those every time we hike, and today it was right on the trail, just chugging along.

Here he is right in the open, trying to cross the road.


Once he realized he had been spotted, he got outta there pretty quickly, but not quick enough!  We got a few good shots of him.


There he goes, back into the bush...


Check out my video of him scurrying across the trail into the brush.  Bye buddy... Didn't mean to scare you, but you made my week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Volcanic Rock Gym Hawaii - climbing indoors

Volcanic Rock Gym Hawaii is a great indoor climbing gym in Hawaii for anyone interested in climbing.  They are located in Waipio on 94-423 Ukee St. in What's Up Gymnastics warehouse.  You can go for the day, rent shoes, rent a harness, and climb on!  Check out more info on their site.  Open Monday through Thursday from 2 pm to 9:30 pm and Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 12 pm to 9:30 pm.


The front of the gym with plenty of free parking!


The front of the gym with the overhang and the rope climbing course.


Me on the ropes course, lovin it!


My serious partner and the entrance to the cave.  Crazy climbing.

For $12 for a day pass, $50 for a month pass and $3 for shoes, $2 for a harness, you can afford to fit this into your workout.  So spruce your routine up and check out the latest climbing gym in Hawaii.  Open late, and run by a super friendly staff.  Willing to explain and help guide you through your first experience.

Call: 397-0095
Volcanic Rock Gym
94-423 Ukee St.
Waipio, HI

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for??

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I love Thanksgiving.  Lots of eating, family, and relaxation.  This year I work in the afternoon, but that's ok.  My family and I are going to enjoy an early brunch, and then it is off to reality and working.  A few of my favorite things about Turkey Day: garlic mashed potatoes, turkey (duh), a reason to overeat (as if I don't normally), and implied seconds.  What am I thankful for you ask??  So many things in my life, but I will share a few of the highlights.


Beautiful days of hiking and spending time with good friends.  This is a picture from Manoa, looking up at the almost perfect and surreal sky.


This if going to sound crazy, but chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  We roast, coat, and pack them at my work, and they are a huge part of our revenue.  So I am ever thankful that people love them.  I in turn work hard to make them, and truly love my job.  Everyday I am grateful for my position and the things I have learned and continue to learn as an assistant pastry cook.


My sometimes silly fiance for loving my sometimes serious self.


Living in a place where moments like these aren't that rare, but the chance to capture them is pure luck.


and last but not least, family. They provide endless entertainment, support, and friendship.

I am thankful for everything in my life at the moment.  I am loving surfing, hiking, and enjoying the beauty of Hawaii.  My twin brother is coming to visit in a few weeks and I am thankful for the chance to spend some time with him again.  My job has been a dream come true and I couldn't ask for a better opportunity.  My family will soon be all together for my wedding and I can't wait to see what this year brings.  Until next Thanksgiving, remember what you are thankful for and don't forget to humbly accept all of life's opportunities and experiences .

Pumpkin French Toast from dana-made-it.com

Pumpkin French Toast anyone??  I can't take any credit for this recipe...  I found it on dana-made-it, a great blog about ... everything.  :)   I love love french toast, and any reason to make it is... well... fantastic!  This is more of an old school "pain perdu" recipe.  (but still amazing)  Very similar to bread pudding, but in individual pieces instead of all diced up.  Anyways... this recipe looks amazing, can't wait to try it, and couldn't help but share it.  So thanks dana!  I think this would be great for Christmas morning, or the day after Thanksgiving.  Or maybe for dessert tomorrow night!  You probably have all the ingredients on hand, so go for it!


For the recipe click here.  (along with a step by step tutorial)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cuteart - amazingly cute etsy shop!

I was up a little earlier than normal today and decided to browse etsy for some Christmas presents while my boyfriend was still sleeping.  You know that shopping for others leads to shopping for yourself, and I stumbled upon this super cute etsy shop, cuteart.  It is a shop based out of Chiang Mai, Thailand and they make really cool wood boxes like this one...


I was also admiring their other woodwork...


If you have ever been to my house, you know this would totally go with my decor!


If you are short on space, you could always opt for something like this keychain.


I also love these, but then who wouldn't??

These figurines are based off the film, My Neighbor Totoro, you can read about it here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soulpancake and a few of life's big questions


Ever heard of soulpancake?  It is a site that asks/discusses life's biggest questions. You know, the kind you can't get out of your head, let alone answer, without thinking them over for days.  Well, Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight on the Office) just put out a book with all of them in it.  (And loads of other cool stuff)  My boyfriend got it in the mail today and I spent the evening reading through it.  Then I realized there was a website!  Too cool.  I found this question and thought it was a good one.  

So, in response to the question, list 3 things you didn't realize were on your bucket list until after you did them... I say this:

1. Ride in a helicopter
2. Travel all over France alone and discover the country and myself 
3. Run the road to Hana

What is your answer to this question??  Makes you think about your life and the things you really loved doing, huh?


Think you might enjoy digging through your brain?  Get it here.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hickam Craft Fair tomorrow!

Tomorrow I am going to the Hickam Craft Fair to sell my jewelry and goodies!  It is going to be really cool!  If you are in Hawaii and want to get a kick start on your holiday shopping this would be a great place to start!  Open from 9 to 3 to the public.  I think I am going to be near the pony rides...  OOO!


Bring the kids and spend the day in the bounce house riding horses!  Why not?  While they bounce you can shop and have lunch.  For more information and directions go here: http://hickamservices.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=510:fall-craft-fair-family-fun-day&Itemid=161

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fondant Covered Sugar Cookie Tutorial


Do you have a baby shower, wedding, or birthday party to attend/throw and want to wow your friends?  Try making these super easy fondant covered sugar cookies.  They look amazingly perfect with little effort and a lot of style. To start, make your favorite sugar dough recipe.  If you don't have one, you can use this one:

1 pound butter
1/2 pound sugar
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 eggs
1 1/2 pounds flour

1. cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt for about 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed.
2. add eggs one at a time on slow speed.
3. add flour and mix on slow speed just until combined.
4. chill 2 to 3 hours or overnight
5. roll out and cut shapes
6. bake at 325 degrees about 8 minutes or until golden brown
TIPS:
-don't cream the butter and sugar too long or you will have a fragile and difficult dough
-you can make this dough ahead of time and freeze it well wrapped for a month or longer and pull it out        when you need it


Start with your rolled out sugar dough and choose 2 cutters of the same shape but slightly different sizes.  You will cut your sugar dough with the larger one and the fondant with the smaller one.  Cut and bake your cookies and let cool.


Then roll out your fondant, you can find this at places like Wal-Mart now and color it with food coloring or other gel colors.  Cut out your shapes with the smaller cutter.  


Lay them out and set them to the side, then grab your cooled sugar cookies.


Using a pastry brush and a small bowl of water, paint a small amount of water on the bottom of the fondant pieces and lay them on top of the sugar cookies.  This will slightly moisten the sugar in the fondant and allow it to stick to the sugar cookies.  


You should have something like this.


You can finish them by piping on an initial, gluing on another shape, like a star or flower, or piping designs.  You could leave them plain and I think they still look amazing!  Your friends will all be wondering where you bought these...  "Oh! these old things?  I made them!"

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