Makapu'u Tide Pools

Makapu’u Tide Pools

Makapu'u Tide Pools

Living on a beautiful tropical island sometimes has its trade offs. Everything is so expensive. Living from paycheck to paycheck often leaves practically nothing leftover for entertainment. Especially when you love to eat as much as I do. 

The bright side is that this island is full of unbelievable natural beauty, most of which you can explore for free. Recently, we visited the tide pools at Makapu’u, and they took my breath away.

Makapu'u Trail

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is on the windward side of Oahu near Sea Life Park. There’s an easy but steep trail that leads to a lighthouse with stunning, expansive ocean views. It’s a great spot for whale watching in the winter months. You can also veer off to the right, if the beach is more you style. On this day, however, we were headed for the tide pools.

tidepools3

About halfway up the trail there’s a sign about whale watching. This is where you leave the nice wide paved path and hike down the side of a lava rock cliff. It’s a bit challenging, especially if you’re out of shape like me. There are loose rocks and several places where you have to jump down to the next level. Proper footwear is a definite bonus. I wouldn’t recommend this trail for small children.

Blow hole near tide pools

Also be sure to check the surf report before going out. Large waves can rush over the rocks into the tide pools creating dangerous conditions. Even strong swimmers can get swept away. I’m not saying you have to be a scaredy baby, just respect the ocean. It’s a powerful force.

Once you make it down, you’ll see several pools with clear water and adorable colorful fish. You can wade right in with the fish, but remember, you’re in their home. If you have an underwater camera, this would be a fantastic time to use it. The fish will swim right past you.

tidepools7

The ocean was putting on a pretty great show for us when we were out there. The waves crashing against the rocks, and the sound of the ocean churning beneath the blow holes and in the lava tubes is powerful. Just be careful and don’t turn your back on it.

tidepools6

Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. There’s no shade down there, and once you hike down, you have to get back up. There are chalk arrows on the rocks to guide you on the safest path. There are also no restrooms out here, so…. Well, just be prepared.

tidepools5

I love the opportunity to explore new and beautiful places so near my home. A sandwich, some water, and a camera are all you really need to enjoy an awesome day in the natural world.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

4th of July is looming on my calendar. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disgusted that it’s here already. Time needs to take a bit of a break if it doesn’t mind. I’m about to be the mother of a teenager. Can we please make the next month go by as slowly as possible?

Of course, when I think of the 4th, the first thing that pops into my mind is a backyard barbecue with charred hot dogs, chips and dips, potato salad, and a million cans of soda, all from the neighborhood grocery store. I had a lot of fun as a kid eating all that junk food and running through the sprinklers to keep from melting. These days, though, it takes a bit more to impress me. But just a bit.

Making your own potato salad takes about fifteen minutes of work, and it’s at least a million times better then that mushy, gloopy stuff from the store. And you can customize it to your own taste, which means you don’t have to pick out any celery if you don’t want to.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s potato salad. I fell in love with it because it contains dill, which is a phenomenal flavor, in my opinion. Now, if you have a house in the Hamptons and have fourteen kinds of imported French mustard in your fridge and a gardener to provide you with every type of fresh herb known to man, invite me over. And make this potato salad with the very best ingredients you can get your hands on.

If, on the other hand, when you visit the store, you find yourself searching for the most inexpensive ingredients available, don’t worry. Expensive ingredients do taste a bit better, but the inexpensive ones can still taste awesome, and making it yourself makes it automatically better. I changed a few things to make this recipe a bit more accessible by using condiments I had in my fridge, and a dill paste rather then using a few snips of the fresh stuff and then letting the rest go to waste. The paste is full of flavor and lasts much longer, so you’re more likely to get your money’s worth out of it.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

I hope you get to spend your 4th with some awesome people eating some awesome food. And by all means, see some stuff explode!

Dill Potato Salad
Serves 4
A creamy flavorful potato salad with a punch of dill.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  2. Salt
  3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  4. 1/4 cup buttermilk
  5. 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  6. 1 tablespoon dill paste*
  7. Black pepper
  8. 1 green onion
Instructions
  1. Put your potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until you can pierce the largest potato with a sharp knife. Mine took about 30 minutes, but it will vary depending the size of your potatoes.
  2. Drain the potatoes then put the colander back over the hot pot. Place a clean kitchen towel over the colander and allow your potatoes to continue to steam for another 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, dill paste, and salt and pepper. The mixture will be quite thick.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to not burn your fingers off, cut them into bite-sized pieces. The skin of Yukon golds is quite tender, so if the skin sticks you can leave it on. If it falls off, I discard it. Don't stress yourself out.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and toss with dressing.
  6. Using scissors, cut your green onions directly into the bowl and give it a final stir.
  7. Allow your salad to hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours before revealing it to your family. Then go blow stuff up. In a fun way.
Notes
  1. *You can, of course, substitute fresh or dried dill. Use whatever is easiest.
  2. This is actually half the original recipe, so you can easily double this to feed a larger crowd.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
http://awesomeon20.com/
Check us out at Inside BruCrew's link party
Check us out at Inside BruCrew’s link party
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream #Canadaday

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream #Canadaday

Happy Canada Day! 

Even though I’m not Canadian, I’ve had a lot of friends from Canada in my short life, especially while living abroad in Taiwan. In fact, one of the most awesome events we attended while living there was a Canada Day celebration. This is back in the days of the guerrilla back sale. I used to bake things in my tiny kitchen and then sneak them into special events and sell them to foreigners desperate for Western-style desserts. It worked like a charm.

These spice cupcakes were one of the things I made for that event, and they were a huge hit, though not as popular as Mini Oreo Cheesecakes. I suppose I should post those soon. People are still talking about them two years later.

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream #Canadaday

When I saw Canada Day on my calendar, I thought it was the perfect excuse to make, share, and eat these cupcakes again. I assume it’s always at least jacket weather in most of the country, so a warmly spiced, light and fluffy cupcake sounded just perfect. The ginger warms the back of your throat, and the aroma makes you swoon. And then there’s the frosting. Holy monkey, the frosting! It’s your standard buttercream until you put pure maple syrup in it, then it’s heaven. Is there anything maple Syrup can’t improve? It’s adapted from the delightful Bakingdom! I’m a ridiculously huge fan of hers.

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream #CanadadaySpice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream #Canadaday

Did you know that Canada is the garter snake capital of the world and that they have their own UFO landing pad? Yeah, me neither. Hug a Canadian and eat a cupcake, eh! Happy Canada Day!!! 

Spice Cupcakes
Yields 12
A light fluffy cupcake with warm wonderful spices
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cake flour
  2. 3/4 cup white sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  8. 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  11. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  12. 2 eggs
  13. Maple buttercream (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and add 12 papers to your cupcake pan.
  2. Add all dry ingredients, everything from flour to salt, into your mixing bowl and mix on low speed to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Add butter and buttermilk and mix on medium until thick and incorporated.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake pans, filling two third full. This batter will rise quite a bit.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  8. Pile on the maple buttercream, and try out your best Canadian accent, eh.
Adapted from The Hungry Mouse
Adapted from The Hungry Mouse
http://awesomeon20.com/
Maple Buttercream Frosting
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  2. 250 grams (2-1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/6 cup pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Dollop onto the nearest cupcake and dance with joy.
Adapted from Bakingdom
Adapted from Bakingdom
http://awesomeon20.com/

Check us out at Inside BruCrew's link party
Check us out at Inside BruCrew’s link party
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