Sweet Corn Bread


Ok. So I know corn bread is not the MOST exciting thing in life, but it is if you find a good recipe for it. When I was at my sister-in-laws for a family gathering, she had made THIS corn bread.

Now, I’m a little picky when it comes to corn bread. For the most part, I’m a simple girl. I don’t ask for much in life (well, actually, it depends on the day), but I do ask that if you make me corn bread, do make it moist and a little sweet. This recipe that my sister-in-law uses does stand up to the plate (or is it on the plate), and delivers.

Let’s begin, shall we.




This isn’t a hard recipe at all. Just take all your dry ingredients and mix. Flour, salt, sugar and cornmeal. With this recipe, you definitely need the cornmeal. It’s not one of those items that you can say “it should be fine without it.” Trust me. Don’t do it. Go get some cornmeal if you don’t have any. Come borrow some from me if you like.

I digress.




Some recipes have you mix your wet ingredients first in a separate container, and then add to your dry mix, but we don’t have time or the dishes for that around here. After my dry ingredients are mixed, I add my wet ingredients and combine them all in the same bowl. My Tongan side doesn’t see how two separate containers is going to make the difference. It probably does, but I haven’t noticed.

I digress again.


Pour your batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. While that’s baking, whip up some good chili for your kids and hubby. It complements the corn bread ; )



This corn bread is so good, it should almost be a dessert.

Happy Eating!!


Sweet Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups flour                                           2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup corn meal                                      1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt                                                   1 1/4 cups milk

2 large eggs                                                  1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbsp butter or margarine (melted)

Mix all your dry ingredients first and then add in your wet ingredients and combine.

Get your oven nice and hot to 350 degrees. Pour your batter into an 8×8 inch baking pan. I usually double mine to fit a 9×13 inch pan and bake for the same amount of time, 35 minutes.

Beef Stew – Comfort Food for da Locals

If you go to any restaurant that sells local food here in Hawaii, you can bet your *okole that Beef Stew will be on that list —- *guarenzz.

Chicken and Dumplings is to mainland, as Beef Stew is to Hawaii. This is one of the top comfort foods any local will tell you. Just ask my husband. It’s his favorite.

It took me some time before I mastered Beef Stew. The key is to get your meat cooked just right so that it melts in your mouth. Serve it over a bowl of hot rice, and you got some *ono kine grindz. I adapted this recipe from Harry Kojima’s recipe book I found many years ago.

Whenever I make beef stew, I always chop everything up ahead of time. It just makes it easier and little less time consuming while I’m cooking. Making beef stew does take a couple of hours, but if you have all your ingredients prepped before starting, it will feel like no work at all.

Things to chop: onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, salt . . . (just kidding), and some good chuck roast.

Assuming all your ingredients are chopped, heat a pot with about 2 tbsp of oil on medium high while you dredge your beef first. For all you first time “cookers”, dredging is just sprinkling a coat of flour over your meat. Once your oil is hot, throw your garlic in and as all the TV chefs say, let the flavor infuse. This will actually only take a couple of seconds. Once you smell that garlic, throw your meat in to brown.

Now remember, we’re not fully cooking the meat at this point. If you try to do that, you will end up with *ono kine rubba. We’re just browning the beef. Stir around your beef in the hot oil. The outside of the meat should have a nice brown color. You’re meat will not look cooked enough to eat. In fact, it will look more raw than cooked. That’s how you want it at this point.

Next, throw in your onions, (I’m not sure why I’m always throwing my ingredients around. Part of my bossy nature I guess). Cook the onions with your meat for a few minutes. Pour in your water and add your bay leaves. Turn your heat to a low medium heat, enough to have the water simmer. Cover your pot with a lid, but not completely. I usually have a small opening for steam to escape, and so I can make sure my heat is not too high that the water is boiling, and not too low that the meat is just sitting there bathing. The recipe I use says to simmer your meat for about 1 1/2 hrs. I usually don’t start my dinner in time to allow my meat to simmer for that long. I usually just simmer the meat for about 30 to 45 minutes. See. Enough time to watch a Hulu episode of Team Damon or whatever floats your boat. Once you got  your fill of Team Damon, or whatever show you were watching. What? It’s not called Team Damon. Ok, nevermind. Back to the recipe. Add your vegetables at this point.

To give it color and more flavor, pour in a can of tomato sauce and some salt.

Then partially cover your pot and allow to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. After your stew has simmered, you will want to thicken your stew. I cheat and just use a thickener and get it to “stew thickness”.

When your beef stew has been thickened. It’s ready to be poured on top a plate (or bowl) or hot rice. Please make sure you have some hot rice on standby. You cannot eat this any other way. You just can’t. There IS no other way to eat Beef Stew when you’re in Hawaii. If you want to be called a local, you gotta have rice.

Oh my goodness, if you follow my directions, your meat should melt in your mouth when you eat this. And if this does happen for you, you may in fact pronounce yourself a beef stew master. Go ahead and take a bow.

*okole = your bootie     *guarenzz = guarentee           *ono kine grindz = really delicious food            *ono kine rubba = really delicious piece of rubber



Difficulty: Not that hard               Prep Time: 15 minutes                    Cook Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours                   Servings: Feeds a Family of Six Hungry People


2 cloves of garlic, chopped                                       2 Tbsp oil

1 1/2 pounds of chuck roast, cubed                        1/2 of an onion, chopped

5 cups of water                                                          2 bay leaves

1 cup of chopped carrots                                         1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of potatoes, cubed                                         1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a pot set on medium high heat. While oil is heating, dredge beef in about 1/2 cup of flour. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for just a few seconds, then add in your beef. Brown beef for about 2 minutes, then add in your onions and cook for a few more minutes.

Once your onions are looking a little cooked, your meat is partially brown, pour in water and throw in your bay leaves. Set your heat to medium low, partially cover your pot with a lid and let your meat simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

At this stage, pour in your chopped vegetables, can of tomato sauce, and add in your salt. Mix all your ingredients and partially cover your pot again, leaving it to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. When your meat and vegetables are cooked, you’ll want to thicken your stew. Once it’s thickened, it’s ready to eat. Pour over a bowl of hot rice and just enjoy this local favorite.


Da Beezee Coconut

Waffles – Back to Basics

The only way we have waffles around here is by making them. I don’t say that because I want to show off my waffle-making-ninja-skills. I say that to show how cheap I am. Every time I pass by the frozen waffles in the freezer section, I can’t get myself to buy them. Ever since I learned that it costs 61 cents to make a loaf of bread, I figured making waffles probably cost about the same if not cheaper.  I know the frozen waffles save time, but once you learn this recipe, you’ll be making them in less than 5 minutes. This is a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law. I’ve made this recipe so much, I have it memorized.

Start with the basics. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Pour them all in together and mix them up.

Now for your non-dry ingredients. Add the eggs, milk, and oil to your flour mixture.

Just like so.

Give it a good stir.

Then you’ll have your batter mixture. It should be thick like a pancake mixture. If I have blueberries on hand or mashed up bananas, this is when I add them. On this day I had nothing.

Don’t stare too closely at my waffle iron. It’s well seasoned, along with bits of crusted waffles from the last time I made waffles. We do clean it, but sometimes things get missed. Just keepin’ it real. This waffle iron gets used about once every 10 days.

Pour your waffle batter into your heated waffle iron.

Then wait. While it’s cooking, have everyone take a number, or you’ll have fights about who gets the next set of waffles.

Once it’s done, load it up with your favorite fixin’s. My favorite are the classics: several pats of butter with gobs of syrup. One day I’m going to try it with a scoop of ice-cream.

These waffles come out just a little crispy. You’ll enjoy them. It’s a breakfast favorite here.  Waffles beat out pancakes any day of the week . . . unless the pancakes have blueberries or choclate chips, then we’re dealing with a whole other story.



Difficulty: Easy-Peasy                                    Prep Time: 10 mins.

Cook Time: depends on your waffle iron but about 2 mins.

Servings: 7 servings (2 waffles each)

Dry Ingredients

2 1/2 cups of flour                                         1/2 tsp salt

4 tsps baking powder                                   2 Tbsp sugar

Wet Ingredients

2 eggs                                                              2 1/4 cups of milk

1/2 cup of oil

Mix dry ingredients together. Add in the wet ingredients and give that a good stir. If you have any blueberries or chocolate chips or anything else, you can add them in at this point. Heat up waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron directions. When done, top with favorite toppings. Happy Breakfast!

Strawberry Watermelon Slush


I love watermelon, and being Tongan, I especially love to drink my watermelon. It’s that time of the year where strawberries are coming out of our ears and watermelon out of our toes. What?! You’ve never heard that phrase before? We say it all the time in Tonga. Ok, well, maybe not all the time. Maybe I’m the only Tongan that says it. Maybe I’m just weird. Nevermind. No need to emphasize the obvious. Ignore the last 30 seconds of your life and just follow this recipe. It’s really good.

I found this recipe in a Taste Of Home magazine. You can find the original recipe here. Gather your ingredients. The seedless type of watermelon is preferable, unless you’re into the gritty thing. My life’s gritty enough, so I try to keep out as many watermelon seeds as I can.

Throw all your ingredients into the blender and press ON.


Phew, that’s better. I add the ice in after I blend up all the other ingredients – more space after it’s been blended. You can put as much or as little ice as you want. If you want the thick, brain-freeze consistency, then add a good 2 cups of ice. If you want just a cold, slightly thick drink, then hold back a little on the ice. 1 to 1 1/2 cups of ice should do it. Turn the blender on till your ice is all blended to smithereens.

Next, go find one of your nice, glasses to drink this pretty and yummy drink out of. It should be glass. It makes the slush a little more sophisticated.

I’ve never had to photograph a drink before. I think a sprig of mint would have completed the picture, but I don’t usually put that on my shopping list. Hopefully my (very limited) artistic abilities have portrayed the above beverage to be of the enticing and inviting nature. I’m not sure if I even know what I just said. If this drink looks good, bottoms up!



Difficulty: E-Z                              Prep Time: 10 mins.                                  Servings: 6



2  cups of cubed seedless watermelon

1 pint of strawberries

1/3 cup of lemon juice (or a tart lemonade works)

1/3 cups of white sugar

1 1/2 to 2 cups of ice

Throw the first 4 ingredients in a blender and blend away. Add the ice in after and blend till you have the slushie to your desired thickness.




I’m not quite obsessed, but I’m getting there. So for now, we’ll just call it an infatuation. I know. I’m a little late with the “cupcake bandwagon”. Better late than never I say, especially since it’s cupcakes.

I’ve come to see why everyone loves cupcakes. Three factors that I personally love:

#1 Their just darn cute.

#2 They’re fairly easy to make. You can get some complicated ones, but on the whole, they’re not too hard.

#3 They’re just the right size, which brings us back to #1.

My co-workers and I threw a bridal shower for one of our nurses. Her wedding colors are black, white with a little red. I immediately thought of these cupcake cups to use. Since everyone would be 25+ in age, we would go with a Damask pattern. Damask just makes us look sophisticated, even when we have frosting on our nose. What probably would have been better, is if I had used red velvet cake to give it that “little bit of red”. That’s okay. Next time. I did put chocolate chips in them, you know, because I live on the edge.

I cheated with the frosting. I used the can stuff, but I say there’s no shame in that. All of you “can-frosting” peeps out there, can I get a “oh yeah!” (Oh yeah!) I’m one of them. I used my a disposable piping bag and put a large star tip at the end of it, to give it that swirly look.

Sprinkles are like the accessories that complete the outfit. Ace of Cakes had these black & white sprinkles. Thank you Ace of Cakes for helping me make my cupcakes look complete.

They were so fun and easy to make.

Don’t you just want to lick it?

I was at the grocery store the other day and bought the Better Homes & Garden Cupcake edition magazine. Whoever did the cover did an awesome job, because it got me to buy it right away, without looking at how much it cost. Yikes! Normally I don’t buy magazines for $10! After perusing through it though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a cookbook with an identity crisis.

It’s filled with a ton of recipes for cupcakes and frosting, and ideas for all sorts of occasions. (Those two cupcakes asked me to frost them that way. I don’t told them they wouldn’t match with the rest, but they didn’t listen).

I’ve been inspired by it. Making cupcakes has been one of those projects that has been lurking in the back of my head. I think the time has come to take it on. Like I said, cupcakes don’t seem that difficult to make (I’ll let you know if I still feel that way after making 100 of them). So I’ve decided to feature a cupcake each month. Maybe two if my baby takes a nap. If I use a recipe, I will definitely share it.

I just want to explore the world of cupcakes and see what I find.

On a side note, I’ll have you know that none of these cupcakes that I made were harmed by me. As for what happened when they went to the bridal shower, I’m not responsible.

If there’s a cupcake recipe out there you want to share, let me know.  Happy Baking!