kruizing with kikukat

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spaghetti & Meatballs...Okay, Just Meatballs

Whew!!!  Last week was a full week (on paper it was only 4 days of work, but it seemed like an eternity).  If work wasn't enough to keep me busy, my tech situation at home went to the shits.  In fact, since the year began, we (Kikukat house) have been besieged by all sorts of technical issues.

At the beginning of the year, D1's hp laptop suddenly was unable to connect wirelessly to the internet.  I had an ex-military techie, BC, help out, but even he couldn't figure out what was wrong.  In the end, The Help just had her use an Airport Express to hook up.

The second big issue was the Netgear wireless router crapping out.  We had to re-load the wireless networks on all of the devices, including the tv (so I could continue watching CSI: Miami on Netflix).

My beloved Sony Vaio (The Help calls it Sony "Vile") also began giving me trouble.  A few months ago I had to wipe it after a virus, and it hasn't been the same since, but last week things seemed extremely sluggish.  At the urging of The Help (he kept telling me I could use the hp monitor), I switched teams and bought a Mac Mini.  The Mac Mini and hp monitor worked well for a few hours before the monitor lost function of the magenta color and everything took on a green tinge.  Then my efforts went into getting a new monitor, not an easy feat in Hilo.  Officemax, that corporate giant, had nothing but a display Acer model.  The sales guy reluctantly offered to try and find me the box of the display model.  I declined his offer.  WalMart had a few odd-sounding brands, save for an hp, which was overpriced (shame, shame).  The Help was kind enough to order me a nice monitor from Dell.  The shipping to Hawaii was $20, and it arrived within 48 hours.

In the process of trying to transfer old (but important) files from the Vaio to the mac, I found that one of my hard drives is on its deathbed.  I am now in the process of trying to find out what is on that drive.  Sounds simple, but its been taking hours to even mount the hard drive onto the computer.  I'm assuming its a problem with the iomega drive, but it could just be an extension of all the Vaio's ills.  I like Sony products, and it makes me sad to think about all the issues I've had with the Vaio.

While all this was happening, D1 was busy too.  Not only was it Homecoming week, but the HOSA (Health Occupation Student Association) blood drive was on Wednesday.  I allowed D1 to invite her friend KM to spend Tuesday night here. . .the girls had a cheering assignment at a basketball game on Tuesday night and I thought it was an opportunity to give KM's mom a break from having to drive into Hilo to retrieve her.  As we were driving home from the basketball game, D1 informed me that the drop off time for the blood drive was not 5:30 am, but 6:00 am!  I almost swerved off the road!!!  When was she planning on telling me?

Anyway, where I meant to go with that story was that D1's friend was over another time, and I served spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  Her friend loved it, and even D1 had to admit it was pretty darn good.  In an effort to eat healthier and cut down on red meat consumption, I made the meatballs with ground chicken instead of ground beef.  The shortcut was using a bottled sauce instead of making my own.  We like Ragu Traditional best.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb ground chicken or beef (can use a little more)
     1/4 tsp ground pepper
     1 tsp salt
     1 clove garlic, finely minced
     2 tbsp finely minced parsley
     3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
     1 1/2 c dry bread crumbs
     4 eggs
     2 tbsp olive oil

Combine chicken (or meat), pepper, salt, garlic and parsley.  Add cheese, bread crumbs, and eggs.  Form into large marble-sized balls.  Heat oil and brown meatballs on all sides.  Drain.  Serve with pasta and marinara sauce.

Friday night was spent at the Homecoming game.  The Rents and CAE were also in attendance.  The Vikings beat the Daggers, 51-43.  Nice to win your homecoming game!

Okay, this was too good NOT to share.  On Saturday, I went to feed my face at the dinner buffet (Thursdays and Saturdays are crab night) at the Sky Garden Restaurant at Imiloa Astronomy Center.  I was almost done with my meal when a group of Asian (Japanese?) college-age boys walked in.  I couldn't help but notice that two of the boys took more crab than I ever saw fit on one dinner plate.  This was AFTER they had raided the other part of the buffet line, which also featured a delicious steak and salt & pepper shrimp.  Those boys could pound!!!

Sky Garden Restaurant at Imiloa Astronomy Center

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating Homecoming: Wi's Rainbow Jello

It is Homecoming week for the good old Blue & Gold!  For the first time in years, homecoming will be held during basketball season.  When I worked for the vikings, there was a decision made at a faculty meeting that homecoming would always be held during football season.  Things change so I guess the school is going back to an alternating homecoming season schedule.  As a traditionalist, I'm disappointed the homecoming game won't be a football game.  As a Hilo High supporter, I'm thrilled; Hilo High tends to do much better in basketball than in football.

I'm dedicating this week's post to Hilo High School (Lance's alma mater) in honor of homecoming.  Although I'm not an alumnus, Hilo High gave me a paycheck for nearly a decade, and I met lots of great people while I was there.  Some of the people in my life who mean a lot to me are also Vikings.

This recipe for rainbow jello was given to me by my friend Wi (also not a Hilo High alum).  I've always admired all the jello dishes shared by Wi because the layers are always very even.  Most of the rainbow jello recipes I've seen have colored layers separated by white cream layers.  This was the first recipe I came across where every layer was a soft pastel color.  When Wi made it, each layer was a different color.  I normally make it that way, but because its homecoming, I decided to go with Viking colors, blue and gold, of course! 

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Wendi's Rainbow Jello

     5 boxes jello
     1 can condensed milk
     7 pkgs Knox unflavored gelatin
     1/4 c water
     7 c boiling water

Step 1:  Begin by stirring together 1 box of jello and 1 pkg of Knox.  Add 1 c boiling water.  Stir until dissolved.  Set aside to cool. (bottom layer)
Step 2:  Repeat with another box of jello.  
Step 3:  Sprinkle 2 pkgs of Knox over 1/4 c water to soften.  Add 1 c boiling water.  Add condensed milk along with another cup of boiling water.  Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Set aside. 
Step 4:  Repeat Step 1 with another box of jello. 
Step 5:  Add 2/3 milk mixture to the jello mixture from Step 1.  Stir gently and pour into a 9 x 13" pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes. (bottom layer)
Step 6:  Repeat Step 1 with another box of jello.
Step 7:  Repeat Step 5 using jello mixture from Step 2, being careful to pour jello gently over previous layer.
Step 8:  Repeat Step 1 with last box of jello. (top layer)
Step 9:  Repeat Step 5 using jello mixture from Step 4, being careful to pour jello gently over previous layer.
Step 10:  Repeat Step 5 using jello mixture from Step 6, being careful to pour jello gently over previous layer.
Step 11:  Repeat Step 5 using jello mixture from Step 8 (top layer), being careful to pour jello gently over previous layer.  Chill at least 2 hours longer before cutting into blocks.

Thanks to The Help's sister, we were able to get to the west side to rub elbows with the old guys who can hit the long ball.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  I'm glad I dosed up on the spf 70 sunscreen and brought my hat.


When we got there, we went straight to the 10th hole, where Fred Couples and John Cook were finishing the hole.  Instead of parking ourselves at a hole, we decided to stay with the Couples-Cook pairing.  We were duly rewarded at the 18th hole when Cookie sank his approach for an eagle.  I have a new favorite old guy player!

Needless to say, I received my first Fitbit 10,000 steps badge!

May 6, 2013:  D1 asked me to make rainbow jello for a function, and she asked that I use different colored Jello.  Its a totally different effect from the school colors rainbow jello seen above.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cinnamon Challenge: Cinnamon Roll Edition

Speaking of challenge, this past week at work was extremely challenging.  I'm still having trouble getting up in the morning, and I have not yet resumed my treadmill walking regimen.  I really need to get back on the wagon because I go to see Dr. KO next month, and I don't want to see rising numbers for my cholesterol.

One of my gifts to myself this Christmas was a Fitbit Zip.  Its a tiny device which functions like a pedometer, but you can also use it to keep track of calories burned and consumed.  It also functions as a clock.  You wear it on your waistband or keep it in your pocket.  Ladies can also wear it on their bra (yes, convenient).  It syncs to your computer via dongle, so you can keep track of your progress.  I don't think its been very motivating yet.  The Help has one, and he constantly tells me, "I earned a badge.".  Having never earned a badge yet (I think you need to walk 10,000 steps in a day), I'm not privy to the excitement.

Perhaps I should be more into Fitbit because while the holiday guests were here, there was definitely some overindulgence going on.  As of Friday, all guests have gone home.  In spite of the new years day never-ending party fiasco, I hope I get to see (most of) them again soon.  In one of the pre-overindulgence family activities, I invited a few favorite family people over for dinner.  It was a simple dinner...soup and rolls.  I made two batches of rolls (thinking D2 can eat half a recipe on her own in an hour) and ended up opening my institutional-size bag of bread flour.  This means that in the next few weeks, I'm going to be busy baking bread things...again, another reason to use the Fitbit (lotsa calories in bread things).

A few months ago, I posted the Cinnamon Challenge:  Snickerdoodle Edition.  This time around, we are doing the Cinnamon Challenge:  Cinnamon Roll Edition (thanks to that dang giant bag of bread flour).  The best cinnamon roll recipe can be found on  Clone of a Cinnabon is truly a clone of Cinnabon.  Submitted by Marsha Fernandez, not only is it delicious, but the dough in amazingly easy to work with.  It rolls out nicely, and it rolls up nicely too.  It is not one of those doughs which sticks to everything everywhere.  And if you are wondering. . .yes, I have made other cinnamon rolls before.  This recipe is, by far, the best tasting, and the procedure is no different than other cinnamon rolls.

rolling out the dough to a giant rectangle.
spreading the butter
sprinkling the brown sugar-cinnamon. . .love the aroma
rolling up
ready to rise again
freshly baked and NOT skip the glaze

I'm facing another challenging week because I have a major presentation to give this evening at the local university.  Its a presentation I do yearly, and I go through this anxiety every year.  In addition to the stress from that, I inadvertently added to the Ds day be scheduling dental appointments for both of them.  D1 ends the day with a basketball game, so it will be a long day for both of us.  I'm considering attaching my Fitbit to one of the basketball players!

Clone of a Cinnabon...worth all the effort!

Thank you, Marsha, for sharing your recipe with us all!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Party Food: Ogo Salad

I'm feeling rather thankful the holiday party season is over, but perhaps I'm just a tad more anti-social than most people.

The family party on New Years Day was an endless affair.  I started my day before 6 am because I had so much to do.  Guests didn't arrive until after noon (the time I said we'd eat).  The last guest left a few minutes before midnight, so its accurate to say I had a full day.  I think I'm going to lay low from any parties for a few months. . .its going to take a while for me to recover anyway.

If you are a party animal or still in party season mode and need a dish to contribute, might I suggest ogo (seaweed) salad.  Ogo salad is welcome at any party in Hawaii, and most markets sell ogo year-round.  I think Marukai sells the best ogo, but since I don't always travel to Honolulu for work anymore, I usually just buy ogo from KTA.

This is the "salty" type of ogo.  Sometimes I'll make a sweet-sour version.  D1 prefers that, but I grew up on what we called "ogo kimchee", so when I'm jonesing for ogo, I'll go for the salty/spicy type first.   If you are allergic to or just don't care for the taste of dried shrimp, just leave it out.  The salad will be fine without it.

printable recipe
Ogo Salad

     1/2 lb ogo, cleaned, blanched and chopped
     2 tbsp sesame oil
     1/2 c shoyu
     1 clove garlic, crushed
     1 chili pepper, minced
     2 tomatoes, diced
     1/2 sweet onion, minced
     1 stalk green onion, sliced
     2 tbsp dried shrimp
     1 tbsp macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)

Combine sesame oil, shoyu, garlic, and chili pepper.  Toss with prepared ogo.  Add tomatoes, onion, green onion, dried shrimp and macadamia nuts.  Marinate overnight.

BTW, as far as the new years day party food went, I think some people should be banned from food preparation.  We had the ever-undercooked teriyaki meat sticks.  Even a 10-year old knew the meat wasn't cooked, so it blows my mind as to how adults can think its cooked.  After seeing the teriyaki sticks, I wasn't gonna chance the yakitori kabobs either.  I stuck to things that I knew were cooked well.

Mom wanted a family pic so The Help, with Dus' help, set up all his lights and reflectors by the khasy bamboo outside.  Unfortunately, he was working against daylight, as people were still in the coming-going mode.  He managed to take a pic of every family, but by then, D1 went off with Mr. Dependable.  The Help spent even more time processing the pics so each family could take home a cd of pics.  I was going to post a pic of the family, but I opted for one with two of my favorite people instead. . .nyuk nyuk.  Actually, they were the only ones willing to pose.  Most people ran inside to eat dinner and watch some bowl game.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

From all of us in the Kikukat family. . .
Happy New Year!!!