Spam Mac and Cheese & Spam Jam Waikiki

Spam Mac and Cheese

On Saturday evening, we went to the Spam Jam in Waikiki. The what? Yes, Spam Jam. It’s a huge annual street festival on Kalakaua in the heart of Waikiki. Tents stretch for blocks with vendors selling their best recipes featuring Spam. I heard there were 25,000 people there. It was packed. Hawaiians love their Spam. I mean, you can get Spam, eggs, and rice for breakfast at McDonald’s.

This event also benefits the Hawaii Foodbank, an organization that is dear to me. I urge you to consider donating or volunteering with your local foodbank. Their work is absolutely vital to the community.

Twisted Spam Mac and Cheese from The Hard Rock Cafe

We decided to try the Hard Rock Cafe tent. I had the Spam mac and cheese, and Geoff had the Spam taco. When mine arrived, I was a bit… disappointed. It was not what I was expecting. This was my first time to try Spam, so when I had a huge scoop of ground Spam that looked and smelled like cat food on top of my mac, I was put off. I scooted most of it off to the side and just mixed a bit of the salty Spam into the mac. It was good enough, but I knew I could do better.

Spam mac and cheese

I switched out that soggy mess for crispy salty bits of Spam joy. It was a million times better. I also mixed the Spam throughout instead of just putting it on top. A hit of cayenne and garlic adds a lot of interest to the flavor. Spam is not a go to ingredient for me, and I’m not sure I’d work with it again, even if it is cheap. Yet I was pleasantly surprised that eating this Spam mac and cheese made me ridiculously happy. In fact, I ate it twice in one day. It was definitely awesome.

Spam mac

Spam Mac and Cheese
Serves 2
Salty crispy ham enhances a delicious and simple mac and cheese
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 oz macaroni
  2. 1/2 cup Spam, diced to small cubes
  3. 1 egg
  4. 6 ounces evaporated milk
  5. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  6. 1/4 tsp cayenne
  7. pinch of salt (go easy, Spam is really salty)
  8. 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475
  2. In a medium pan, put your water on to boil. Add salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain.
  3. In the meantime, cook your tiny Spam cubes in a small skillet over medium high heat. Once they are nice and crispy, they will start to jump and attempt to escape the pan. Transfer Spam cubes to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  4. Beat the egg and evaporated milk together, then add the seasonings, followed by the cheese and most of the Spam. Finally fold in the cooked pasta.
  5. Spoon your mixture into two greased ramekins which are resting on a baking sheet to catch any possible drips. Sprinkle the last of your Spam on top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes to avoid burning your face off.
  7. Dig in and learn to love the Spam.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
http://awesomeon20.com/

 

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Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Icing

The way I see it, the four food groups need an overhaul. I know they had that pyramid thing for a while, but I like to keep things classic. How about the four food groups of awesome? Henceforth they shall be: Bacon, Cheese, Sugar, and Liquor!!!!!

Oh, and carbs because duh, how would you live?

I combined two of the essential food groups into one ridiculous cupcake. I mean, you haven’t been able to buy yourself any new clothes in months. You need cupcakes to keep you going. You deserve it.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

I’m not so up on the trends, usually because I can’t afford them. It took a while, but I finally put bacon in a dessert, and it was super awesome. I know I’m not the last one on the planet to give this a try. Let me urge you not to waste another day.

The cupcakes are sticky and rich, with a hint of spice. And the cream cheese icing has bits of bacon throughout. Bacon! What else do I have to say?

This cupcake isn’t overpoweringly bacony. It’s not like putting your breakfast on top of a cake. The bacon just adds an essential chewy, salty, smoky factor that pretty much makes you want to swoon.

Bacon Irish Coffee

You might also like to put some Bailey’s and bacon vodka into your favorite coffee to help wash it down. Bacon Irish Coffee can’t possibly be a bad idea.

Put bacon on your cupcakes. Do it now! You’ll thank me later.

 

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
Yields 12
A moist and lightly spiced chocolate cupcake dripping with cream cheese icing studded with crisp bacon
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
18 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
18 min
for the cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. 4 Tbsp recently boiled water
  3. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 shakes of ground cloves
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
for the icing
  1. 1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter, softened
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  4. 2 Tbsp milk
  5. 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped to small pieces (save one piece per cupcake to decorate, it you so choose)
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and put your favorite cupcake papers in your pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and hot water to form a thick paste. Then slowly whisk in the buttermilk.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, and both sugars.
  4. In a larger bowl beat the eggs for about a minute. Mix in half the cocoa mixture, then half the flour mixture. Then repeat the process with the rest of the cocoa and flour. Stir until just combined.
  5. Fill the cups about halfway, then bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely.
for the icing
  1. With a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and milk, and mix until smooth. It will be halfway between a set frosting and a glaze.
  3. Stir in the bacon.
  4. Spoon the frosting onto your cupcakes. It will drip a bit. Garnish with bacon pieces then store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from My Year in Meals by Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Life on Two Wheels

What’s your dream car? Mine’s a Vespa. That’s right. A cute sleek Italian scooter. I picture myself wearing an A-line dress, Jackie O sunglasses, and a long scarf, cruising around the island. And of course, a helmet, preferably leopard print with goggles.

I wish this was my helmet.
I wish this was my helmet.

This does not fit into my budget. But driving a scooter definitely helps me live on $20 a day. Ask me how much I spend on gas each week. Go on, ask me.

$4

That’s it. Four bucks at the pump. And the only reason I spend that much is because I work so far away right now.

His, mine, and ours
His, mine, and ours

Every time I put gas in my car I want to cry. It’s always over $50. Luckily, I don’t drive it that often. Dealing with traffic and parking is so tedious, I want to tear my hair out. Then there’s the tags and the inspection fees. New tires. Dead batteries. Car ownership is a drag.

I paid about $900 for my current scooter, brand new. I get around 75 miles to the gallon. I’ve gotten 100 before. It’s worth it for the reduction in carbon emissions alone. My scooter saves me a ton of money.

Proper scooter attire required
Proper scooter attire required

But apart from being economical, it’s also super fun. I first started riding a scooter when I lived in Taiwan, and we’d ride those things everywhere. We even went camping at the top of a mountain. If you can find the right back roads, you can go just about anywhere. And you can see everything. There are no pesky roofs or windows to block your view of the scenery.

I realize a scooter might not be practical for everybody. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for travelling with small children, though I have seen dogs that are scooter trained. And I know for a fact you can pull a goat trailer with one. But if you live in a place that’s above 65 degrees even six months out of the year, and you don’t have to do a lot of freeway driving, it’s absolutely the best way to get around town.

Always wear a helmet!
Always wear a helmet!

Save money. Reduce carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil. Never have to search for parking. Look totally cool driving around saying “Ciao!” Ditch your car. Get a scooter. All the cool kids are doing it.

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