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Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part III (Final Recap!)

Hi guys!

I am back today with the final recap from our amazing Hawaii Vacation in Maui. We left off last time after a delicious and romantic dinner at the Ferraro’s restaurant at the Four Seasons. On Thursday Travis and I had plans to go on a zip line tour. There are lots of zip line companies in Maui, but we found that Kapalua Zip Lines had incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and it was the only course that had parallel lines so Travis and I could zip side-by-side. Neither Travis or I had ever zip lined before, so we knew were in for a treat! Kapalua Zip Lines is located in Lahaina, which was about an hour from where we were staying in Wailea. We were instructed to arrive by 8AM, so that morning we had to wake up very early in order to arrive on time. The 7-line course was AMAZING – we had the time of our lives. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share with you because we chose not to bring a camera or phone with us for fear that it might fall while we were zip lining. Some people brought GoPro cameras, which I bet made for some awesome video footage!

I was by far the smallest person in our 10-person group, which invoked a lot of laughs throughout the tour. Some of the zip lines were LONG and the instructors on the tour (who were all hilarious and made the experience a blast!) kept joking with me that I might not make it all the way across because I was too light! They were kidding, of course, but on the longest line I actually did get nervous because I started slowing down dramatically and I thought I was going to get stranded in the middle of the zip line! NO. THANK YOU. I am pretty sure that has never actually happened to anyone, but I can be pretty gullible…

The tour lasted until about 1PM. Afterwards, Travis and I were really hungry so we decided to hang out in Lahaina for awhile and grab some food. One of the waitresses at our resort had recommended the Cool Cat for great burgers and drinks, so we decided to check it out on our way back to the hotel.

Pineapple Cocktail

I started with this delicious Pineapple-Tini. The pineapple in Hawaii is soooooo fresh, so I felt obligated to eat it any chance I could get! Our burgers were both really good, too. I was so hungry that I completely forgot to take a picture when it arrived!

Unfortunately, in the middle of our vacation I caught a very bad cold, so we kind of laid low for the rest of the week. I guess if you are going to be sick, laying by the pool in Maui isn’t really the worst place, is it? One of the final highlights of our trip was the luau we attended on our last night. After hearing many family and friends recommend that we attend a luau close to our resort (because all luaus are buffet and open bar, so you mind as well enjoy it!) we decided to reserve seats at the luau at the Marriott because it was walking distance from our hotel.

Maui Luau

Around 4PM on Friday we walked the path along the ocean between our hotel, the Andaz, and the Marriott. When we arrived we were greeted with beautiful leis and got our picture taken in front of the ocean.

Maui Luau

It was VERY hot out, so Travis and I decided to hang out in the shade as we waited for the show to start. About an hour later the buffet opened up, so we walked over to get in line.

Maui Luau

To be perfectly honest, the food at the buffet was not so great. I read a few negative reviews beforehand that mentioned that food was poor, so I knew not to go into it with high expectations. I didn’t really care because I was more there to see the show and just enjoy the overall experience. This was my first luau, so I just wanted to soak it all in!

Once most people had their food, the show began to start. The outfits and dancing were both beautiful.

Maui Luau

Yet again, I couldn’t get over the amazing colors in the sky as the sun began to set over the performance. I loved how the women’s dresses matched the gorgeous pink sunset behind them in the picture below.

Maui Luau

The fire show at the end was also very impressive. As someone who is pretty much scared of lighting a match, I was in awe of how this performer was able to manipulate these giant torches.

Maui Luau

Maui Luau

I am so glad I got to experience an authentic Hawaiian luau! I know it is something I will remember for a long time.

On our final day in Maui, I was so congested and sick that I basically didn’t want to move. I felt terrible because Travis really wanted to drive the Road the Hana, the full day road trip that takes you on a narrow winding road to the beautiful town of Hana, but I just couldn’t imagine being stuck in the car all day with that awful cold. Instead we decided to have a slow morning around the hotel. Once it was time to check out, we packed up our bags and sadly said goodbye to our amazing room and staff at the Andaz. I didn’t want to leave!

Since we had a few hours to kill before our redeye flight back to LA, I told Travis we should do a little bit of the drive to Hana just to see what it was all about. We had already said multiple times during our trip that we had to go back to Maui soon because there was so much more we wanted to see, do, and eat! The first stop on the Road to Hana is the Twin Falls Farmstand, which we read had delicious smoothies and banana bread.

Road to Hana

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Travis and I waited in line and scoped out the menu. While the majority of people around us were ordering smoothies and coconuts to sip on, we opted for the banana bread. It was the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

Road to Hana

We walked around for a little bit and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but we headed back to our car before too long because there were signs everywhere warning us about car break-ins. Since we had ALL of our luggage and belongings in the car, we wanted to be extra cautious!

Road to Hana

We continued for a few more miles on the Road to Hana, but eventually had to turn around because we wanted to grab a bite to eat before our flight. I read that Flatbread Company in Paia had some seriously delicious pizza, so thought it would be a perfect pre-flight meal.

Flatbreads, Paia

We actually had three hours before our flight, so we told our waiter we were in no rush and would probably be there for awhile. All of the staff at Flatbread Company were so chill (think surfer-dude level chill), so our waiter definitely didn’t care that we just wanted to hang.

Flatbread Company, PaiaI have to admit that my taste buds weren’t exactly on point that day, but everything we ate really hit the spot. We started with their Organic Salad which was served with a Maui Pineapple Vinaigrette. Flatbread Company actually has locations all across the country, but every location serves food based on what is local to that particular location – I love that!

Flatbread Company, Paia

For our flatbread, we ordered half Margherita and half Punctuated Equilibrium, which had kalamata olives, goat cheese and other fresh veggies. They made a mistake and made the flatbread half cheese instead of the Punctuated Equilibrium, so they said they were going to bring out another WHOLE pizza for us in a few minutes. All of a sudden we had so much pizza on our table and we didn’t know how we were going to eat all of it! We even offered a few slices to our waiter, but he turned us down (admittedly, he probably can’t eat on the job).

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Everything we ate was SOOO yummy and I was in carb heaven. Before we knew it, it was time to pay our check and head to the airport. Luckily, the airport was only 10 minutes away from the Flatbread Company and since the Maui airport is tiny, we were through security in a matter of minutes. We decided to grab a drink at the airport bar, hoping it would knock us out on our flight home.

Our waitress was a little….kooky….and she kept telling me I looked waaaaay too young to be over 21 even after she checked my ID. Every time she passed our table she made a comment about it. Usually this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I am small. I look young. I get it. Now bring me my glass of wine, please! But surprisingly it didn’t bother me this time because I was on vacation mode!  Travis and I just kept laughing about it all the way until we boarded our plane.

Sunset, Maui

I was so, so, so sad to leave Hawaii. It is a magical place and I hope I get to go back soon and experience it all over again! I hope you liked my vacation recaps. I will be back to posting recipes soon! Aloha!

Gluten-Free Side Dishes Vegan

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes

I am not really sure what inspired me to mix sweet potatoes and pineapple together, but boy am I glad I did. When I was in college I would make a big batches of roasted veggies at the beginning of the week and then I would eat them as a snack or with some sort of protein for dinner throughout the rest of the week. It was a delicious and healthy way to keep me on track and made me far less likely to reach for junk food when I was hungry.

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Usually my roasted veggies include a mix of sweet potatoes, bell pepper, carrots, onion, and whatever else was in my fridge that I could throw in.

This weekend all I had was two lonely sweet potatoes and one very ripe pineapple that was SCREAMING at me to eat it. I love grilled pineapple (especially on a burger -yum!) so I thought, “What the heck!?” and chopped it up to roast with my sweet potato. I also added a shallot as a contrast to the sweetness from the sweet potato and pineapple.

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

As this was cooking in the oven, the smell that filled my apartment reminded me so much of home. On Jewish holidays my mom makes a delicious noodle kugel with pineapple, so the smell of roasted pineapple this weekend sent me right back to my parents’ kitchen.

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes - Little Chef Big Appetite

Don’t you love when throw-together dishes end up tasting great? I had to exercise some serious self-control so I didn’t eat the whole batch by myself.

I think this would be delicious served with poultry or fish and the pineapple makes it a perfect dish for summer!

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 cups pineapple, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tablespooon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the sweet potato, pineapple, and shallot in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey. ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour the olive oil mixture onto the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Mix well until the olive oil thoroughly coats the ingredients in the large bowl.
  3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, then stir the mixture. Roast again for an additional 25 minutes or until desired brownness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
 

Main Meal Salads Side Dishes Vegetarian Meals

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Now that I have started a full-time job, Sundays for me are all about food. I spend about hour figuring out what meals I want to make that coming week (both for dinner and to bring for lunch), then probably too much time at the grocery store(s), and a good part of the rest of the day cooking in the kitchen.

I am a big promoter of bringing your own lunch to work. In my opinion you save so much money and it also tends to be a lot healthier.

Recently, I have been hooked on making big batches of grain salads (like this farro salad) on Sunday and then I have it for the rest of the week. This past week I was loving this citrus quinoa salad.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

The fresh fruit and homemade citrus dressing makes this absolutely delicious. The original recipe called for candied pecans, so I decided to make my own. Sometimes pre-made candied pecans have so much sugar you would forget there was even a pecan inside.

Citrus Quinoa Salad RecipeCitrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

Sometimes I worry that vegetarian meals won’t fill me up, but the quinoa and beans in this salad have enough fiber and protein to keep you going for awhile.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

I brought this to work for lunch last week over fresh spinach. So yummy!

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

 

 

Citrus Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1.5 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup black beans, strained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup candied pecans**
For the citrus dressing:
  • (makes more than needed for the quinoa salad)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons agave
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Serve on its own or over a lettuce of choice. Dress the salad to taste.
Notes
**To make your own candied pecans, heat 1 Tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on low until melted. Add 1 cup of raw, unsalted pecan halves to the pan. Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a dash of salt to taste. Stir until the pecans are fully coated and slightly toasted. Make sure to watch them constantly so that they do not burn.

Recipe adapted from: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body