Birth Day

33 started off great! My dad emailed me 3 times (there must be a Chinese superstition that says 3 emails on your 33 birthday will bring much fortune!!)

I removed the notification from Facebook that alerts everyone of your birthday. My grandmother’s were the first to post happy birthday messages. Others trickled in throughout the day and it felt really good to not have an overwhelmingly large number of posts from people who are reminded by Facebook to write me wishes. There’s something about that, about not having a notification to everyone to write to you- it’s not that I don’t like my FB friends, but let’s be honest, not everyone on your list is active in your life or even wants to be. And that’s ok.

My cupkeiki made me wear a paper crown while I walked her to school. Her eyes beamed with pure delight. Her dad and her got me flowers, chocolate and chocolate cake. My partner told me he let her pick everything. It was interesting to listen to him talk about it. About how she gets to control so little of the shopping that happens because she doesn’t understand money- but she has desires like all the rest of us and he wanted to make sure that what she desired to get was within her power. She was so satisfied with her pick, she shared the chocolate she got with everyone. I didn’t mind, it was funny to watch her being a different kind of kid, one who was proud and shared it almost like an adult. Later, she gave me a warm foot bath and massage and painted my toes. It was her idea and I made sure she got to do it, made sure she felt like her wishes to do these things happened. After she did mine, she exclaimed that it was her turn and put her feet in the bowl of water, less than warm, and smiled a big smile. I gave her a foot massage and painted her toes and all the while my heart felt lifted. We we’re doing this together and it was perfect.

I didn’t have to cook, I got new fruity beer to try, a beautiful anklet of coral and amythest and a hand sewn leather pouch from Costa Rica. I felt loved and appreciated by everyone in my house (6 of us and a cat) and that felt amazing. I’ve been struggling, emotionally- but yesterday my heart for the first time in a while felt lightweight, almost free. Like it was above me and I could look up and see it, bright red, beating healthy and strong and then I could look across the table and see these people, looking at me with smiles.

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33

Its been a while since I last posted. So much has happened. I’m an aunt (again) to a beautiful baby boy. I have a new sister in law, and I’m overwhelmingly happy for my brother and her. My cupkeiki still manages to surprise me daily. I love my little family, miss my life in HI and am thankful for everyday. I continue to be totally and completely in love with my partner, my lover, my best friend.

Tomorrow morning I’m 33 years old. 33. Thirty-three. Thirty 3. Geez, where has the time gone? My cupkeiki has been going on the last few days about not having made me anything, how she’s got to do it soon. How she wishes she could take the day off of school to be with me and how we should make wonton soup to celebrate. I love her endlessly.

My partner asks me what I want, and I make jokes. A billion dollars. To pay my student loans. To take a vacation to somewhere with hot springs, a giant pillowy fluffy bed and no agenda. To eat chocolate…all day long.

I’m watching The Crown on Netflix, and loving it. I think about the strength, the vulnerability, the difficulty and pride in such a job. I’m trying to find my own strength and confidence in my work. I believe in what I do. That building energy efficient homes based on Passive House standards will make a difference in the world. Everyday I go to work and come home exhausted, but believing and wanting to keep pushing forward, like a pioneer. My sights set on something greater for myself and my fellow man.

I’m genuinely happy. I’m also struggling emotionally, and coming to terms with the importance of boundaries. As Brene Brown says:

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

I’m learning to be ok with disappointing others. After all :

What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” Brene Brown

33. So many years “under my belt” and yet I’m still trying to figure it all out.

33 and learning to embrace it all, to keep dancing in the rain, singing horribly, taking photos of everything, loving madly, hurting, fighting, pushing, learning, failing, dusting myself off, building others up, teaching, encouraging, caring, sacrificing, saying no, saying yes, laughing, crying, creating, building, making mistakes, taking chances, giving aloha, and most importantly, continuing to adventure.

Cheers to 33. Cheers to the year I might actually believe in new beginnings.

If you made it to the end of this, mahalo and Aloha.

Spiced Pear Tart

Hello Fall. Misty mornings, cooler evenings, cozy sweaters, more cuddling…and comfort food.

Yesterday, at the grocery store, there was a very ripe mesh bag of small Anjou Pears in the discount fruit bin. I love that bin. I brought them home with the intention to bake them into a spiced tart. This morning, my vision came into delicious fruition.

It was delicious. So delicious that my cupkeiki actually wanted seconds-and there’s ginger in it. So I suppose that’s saying a lot.

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (I use Peppridge Farm)

6 small, ripe anjou pears, sliced thinly and core removed.

4 Tbs. Salted butter

2tsp. Ground cinnamon

1. Tsp. Ground ginger

A tiny splash vanilla extract

2 tsp. Brown sugar

Sliced, slightly toasted almonds-for sprinkling

Sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry to about 11x11inches. Place wax paper on a baking sheet and then puff pastry on top of wax paper.

Melt butter in a small bowl or ramekin, add spices and sugar and mix well. Brush about 2Tbs. butter mixture on to pastry leaving a border. Layer pear slices across buttered middle and brush remaining butter across the top. Bake in oven for about 15min or until pastry edges are golden. Open oven, pull pastry out slightly (enough to not burn yourself) and sprinkle pears with sugar and then resume baking for 3-5 min. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and sprinkle with toasted almond slices-as desired.

This could be served with some whipped cream or Greek style yogurt but we enjoyed it as is.


Enjoy!

Summer Splash

What a summer it has been! Between building passive houses, hula, my keiki having her first “summer school break”, and everything that falls in between, we’ve had a lot of fun. Earlier this summer we did a family beginners white water rafting trip with my keiki and her cousin. The girls LOVED it! They immediately wanted to go again. This past weekend we went again. The water was much lower making for a more technical trip. My keiki came out of the raft dry but still proclaiming her love for rafting!

We have gone as a family (adults only) on the intermediate and advanced trips in the past and they are always fun. My in-laws have been booking through Raft Masters out of Idaho Springs. Our first trip was three years ago in Canon City doing the Royal Gorge trip and since we have done Clear Creek in Idaho Springs. The guides are always fun, but I’ve really appreciated how great they are with the little ones. It’s exciting to get my cupkeiki out doing new adventures-and while she doesn’t paddle the boat she’s still getting a good challenge!

I’m looking forward to next summers water adventures, especially as my niece and cupkeiki start to participate in the activities with everyone!

Savory Baked Sweet Potato

Baked sweet potato, roasted tomato, chorizo, avocado, pumpkin seeds, chevre cheese and fresh basil.

When it’s hot, it’s hard to decide what to make. Something light, cold, sweet…that doesn’t always work so well for dinner. Well, at least not the sweet part. This satisfied my desire for something light-small portion, cold and sweet however mostly just come from the cheese. The rest of dinner was perfectly savory and filling.

The sweet potatoes were smaller in size. Washed first, cut in half, coated in olive oil and salt and baked at 400F for about 40min. The last 20min I added the tomatoes to tue sheet pan of potatoes, which here quartered first. The chorizo was sautéed with 3 cloves of garlic and half an onion.

It was certainly a dinner I’m looking forward to making again!

Homemade Chili Oil


Another day, another diy. I have been curious what it takes to make chili oil, especially good chili oil. Something that always seems like a mystery, to me. 

Ingredients:

3/4 C. Canola Oil

3 Star Anise

1 small stick cinnamon

7 Tepin chilis, dried

1/4 Cup Crushed Red Chili Flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced well

Steps:

Bring to a simmer the cinnamon, star  anise, Tepin chile’s and oil over medium high heat in a heavy duty sauce pan. When oil begins to bubble, tune down heat to medium low and cook for 20 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly-5 to 10 min. *always be sure to watch your oil while it’s cooking to avoid burning spices or your house down*

After the oil has cooled, add chili flakes and garlic to a heat proof jar or bowl. Slowly pour and stir oil over pepper flakes-use a strainer to catch the spices from the pan so that they can be discarded. Go slow so that the chili flakes and garlic don’t burn. *it will bubble as you pour the oil over the flakes and garlic, so pour safely* Allow oil to cool completely and then store in the fridge in an air tight container (glass). 

*more chili flakes can be added to intensify the flavor. Also different types of chili’s can lend different flavors so it’s worth playing around with!

*use clean utensils to retrieve oil if using a jar to reduce the risk of contamination and spoilage.