Archive for April, 2010

Fresh Food Smart: Okinawan Spinach

April 24, 2010

Two years ago, a co-worker introduced me to a vibrant-colored, cholesterol-lowering plant called Okinawan Spinach (Gynura Crepioides) that she grows:

Purple & Green: The vibrant colors of the Okinawan Spinach plant that is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties.

As she raved about the medicinal properties of this plant, I started thinking about the value of eating fresh from the garden.  If I could start eating like I was stranded on the island of Lost, perhaps I could escape all of the health problems that run in my bloodline.  However, it’s taken me two years to finally commit to that theory.  A recent visit to the KCC Farmer’s Market inspired me to finally committing to this theory.  As I picked up baby romaine lettuce from the Nalo Farms stand, my eyes fell to the bright purple leaf of Okinawan Spinach and I immediately grabbed a package of it.  I also picked up a couple Okinawan Spinach plants from a nursery selling at the market in the hopes that one day, I can just go into my back yard and pick my spinach.  Okinawan Spinach, though, does not taste like the regular spinach one buys in the grocery store as it has a somewhat bitter, rough taste.  I do not like Okinawan Spinach raw.  However, it makes for an awesome linguine:

15-Minute Meal: Okinawan Spinach Garlic Linguine

I think this is probably one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, things I have ever cooked.  I quickly saute the Okinawan Spinach in 1 tbsp olive oil, along with garlic, basil (also fresh from Nalo Farms), mushrooms (I forgot to pickup Hamakua Mushrooms at the Farmer’s Market so I had to settle for imported ones from the store), salt, and pepper.  Then I toss in 1 serving size of cooked linguine and serve.  This is easily prepared in under 15-minutes (while the linguine cooks for 10 minutes, I wash the spinach and pick the leaves off the stems, chop the basil, garlic, and mushrooms; after the I drain the linguine and set it aside, I use the same pot and throw in the rest of the ingredients which only takes about 1-3 minutes to cook). If you stick to eating only a serving size of linguine, then this meal has approximately 350 calories, and is chock full of healthiness.

The Miraculous Basil Plant: Basil is being studied for its antioxidant properties, ability to boost the immune-system, anti-inflammatory effects, enhancement of circulation, stabilization of blood sugar, and ability to improve respiration.

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Take A Chance: Orange + Pink

April 22, 2010

I have loved shopping at Target ever since the first time I stepped into a Target in Utah several years ago.  I probably would have bought a lot more stuff at that first visit if the store hadn’t been closing.  From the $2 half-gallons of Meadow Gold Coconut-Macadamia Nut ice cream (how come they don’t sell that flavor here in Hawai’i?) to the $10 tops that looked exactly like ones that FCUK made for a lot more $, Target was simply the best store ever.  Thus, I was beyond excited when Target announced that they were finally coming to Hawai’i.

Turns out, though, that Target in Hawai’i was not as cheap as Target in Utah.  However, that’s not really surprising given that everything is more expensive in Hawai’i.  Nevertheless, the argument in Hawai’i soon started that Wal-Mart is still cheaper than Target.  I must admit that I never did any scientific comparison of prices at both stores, but I still tend to get the basics from Wal-Mart.  On the other hand, when I want cool home items, gifts, or clothing, I go to Target because Target simply has way cooler stuff than Wal-Mart.  You know that stuff you buy that ends up cluttering your home but is just too fun too resist?  Well, I am very guilty of buying things from Target that I don’t really need. That’s the reason that I try not to go to Target too much, especially around Easter time.  After all, I can’t resist buying things that have bunnies on them.  Anyhows, on a recent visit to Target, I browsed through the clothing section and found the cutest dress:

Fun Wear: This joyful orange & pink geometric-print Merona Dress retails for $45.99 at Target locations in Hawai'i.

I have never been much of an orange fan.  However, when paired with pink, orange becomes one of my favorite colors.  After all, what better way to start spring than rockin’ orange and pink?  Dress it up with some bold accessories like the ones below:

Don't Forget to Accessorize: Kate Spade jewelry, such as these earrings, bangle, and ring, come in bright colors that add a touch of fun and whimsy to one's attire. Look for great deals on Kate Spade jewelry at Ebay.

Take a chance on orange + pink this season.  It will certainly brighten your day and that of everyone else around you.  After all, you’ll be rockin’ two of the absolute happiest colors out there!

Restricted Access Surf

April 18, 2010

I go to Waipi’o Valley more now than when it was in my backyard.  For the first 21 years of my life, I lived in the ex-sugar town of Honoka’a and I could literally count on my two hands how many times I had been down to the valley even though it was only twenty minutes away.  Although my dad is from the valley and I had relatives who lived in the valley, the valley wasn’t someplace I ventured often.  Nevertheless, the times I did go to the valley, I always got the same rush of excitement as I do now.  Or perhaps it wasn’t so much an excitement as it was a sense of feeling privileged that I could venture into the valley while everyone else had to content themselves with staying at the lookout at the top or walk down.

Restricted Access: Most tourists heed the warning; however it is not uncommon for more adventuresome tourists to explicitly violate their rental agreements and take their rentals (even if it doesn't have 4x4) down into the valley, thereby acquiring a very expensive towing bill and living up to the phrase "stupid h----."

The last time I went to the valley was this past Christmas break.  I had a duel purpose for going:  one, I wanted to check out the possibilities of having my wedding on the beach; and two, my fiancee wanted to go surfing.  I have never surfed at Waipi’o–even when it’s small, the water is intimidating to me.  Perhaps it’s just too ice cold.  Or maybe it’s that the water is so dark that I freak myself out thinking about what could possibly be below me in the water.  I grew up hearing the stories of don’t go surfing by yourself there because you might not come back.  I know that’s a total cliche, but here it really is true.  Waipi’o is, after all, a traditional entry point into the Land of the Dead.  And the surf could definitely hasten your journey there–from the crazy rip currents to the sharks that frequent the area.

Surf Check: The waves were small & choppy. But the view--sparkling black sand, towering walls, a tranquil river-- more than made up for it.

Dog Sitting: These 2 adorable dogs occupied themselves on the beach while their owner caught a few waves.

River Crossing: It's harder than it looks.

After the beach, we ventured further into the valley so that my dad could get some watercress.  Come to think of it–the valley seems to offer a bounty of food that can keep one healthy:  protein (moi & other fishes in the ocean, opae in the river), starch (kalo grown by my uncle and others in their taro patches), fruit (guavas, star fruit, etc.), veggies (watercress, taro leaf).

Flying Rocks: Don't drive fast.

Some of my best childhood memories are from the valley.  From the time I slipped in the river and destroyed my camera trying to take pictures of my dad and brother getting opae that my grandpa loved so much, to the time my dad threw net and scored so much moi, to the time my friends and I got stuck in the valley because the truck we were riding in stalled out crossing a deep river, the valley will always be in my mind.  That’s why I wanted to get married there.  Because it was a place with meaning to me. And the pictures would simply be awesome.  And I would have another awesome memory of the valley to add into my mind.