Hawaii Mom Blog




September 27, 2021

The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids

My youngest son loves to bake, so he was thrilled to get The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids: 50 Magically Simple, Spellbinding Recipes for Young Witches and Wizards by Alana Al-Hatlani, which was extra special since he enjoyed all of the Harry Potter films!

The first dish we made was Cauldron Cakes.  

It was fairly simple to make, and the end result was a delicious, chocolatey cake with a molten center.

The entire family enjoyed it!

Some dishes, like the Cauldron Cakes, have fun and fitting names, but most of the recipes in the book are typical fare that you could find in most any other cookbooks.  The author selected many of the dishes in relation to what would be served at the Great Hall, or eaten by the students (eg. Fish and Chips, Vegetable Soup, and Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream).  

The recipes were pretty easy to follow for even the littlest of kids, and although there were some instructions that were confusing, it made for great teaching and learning moments.

Whether or not your child is a fan of Harry Potter, The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids is a handy book on hand so you and your child can whip up some tasty dishes for the family!

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September 25, 2021

Greek Aloha Kitchen

Opa! You can now get authentic Greek cuisine from a small hole in the wall in Kalihi called Greek Aloha Kitchen. The only catch is that they're only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 12-4:30 pm. I pre-ordered by meal on Thursday for Saturday pick up, as I wanted to be sure they wouldn't sell out on the items that I wanted to try.

I was familiar with their location because I used to come here when JS Lumpia Spot was operating here. If you're heading in the makai direction on Liliha Street, stay in the right lane, because right after you cross the Vineyard Blvd. intersection, you're going to turn right into the first driveway on your right (the building is on the corner of Vineyard and Liliha). It's a narrow driveway, but it opens up to a handful of parking spots.  Look for the door on the left (as you face the building from the parking lot).

The food was excellent! Three of us whacked it all and felt full afterwards. If you're dining with a friend, I highly recommend the Mount Olympus as it's only $3 more than the regular gyro, but you get twice the amount, plus melted mozzarella cheese.  

Walk-ins are welcome, but it's best to order in advance. They now accept orders via chownow

Mousaka - eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, topped with ground beef and a creamy bechamel

Mount Olympus - pork, onions, tomatoes, cheese, tzatziki sauce, sandwiched between two pitas 
(basically a double gyro!)

Cross-section of the Mount Olympus

Tripleta - bacon wrapped chicken, chicken, and pork skewers, served with onions, tomatoes,
tzatziki sauce, pita bread, and curry mustard

Bougatsa with Chocolate Ganache - vanilla bean semolina custard wrapped in filo
(chocolate is optional and added upon request)

Entrance is behind the building




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September 24, 2021

Holey Grail Donuts Celebrates National Coffee Day with a Collaboration

Kauai-based Holey Grail Donuts is stirring things up with the Kona Coffee donut made in collaboration with Kona Coffee Purveyors from Oahu.  Imagine the taro-based confection deep-fried in coconut oil and lacquered with a bittersweet espresso glaze made with premium Kona coffee, a dusting of Manoa cacao powder and a chocolate-covered coffee bean. 

To celebrate National Coffee Day on Thursday, September 30, Holey Grail Donuts is offering a complimentary donut with the purchase of a coffee beverage (draft coffee, draft latte, cacao latte, or hot drip coffee) at any of the Holey Grail Donuts locations on Oahu.  The Kona Coffee donut will also be available as part of the Tasting Box also including:

·       Notorious POG – local passionfruit, orange, and guava

·       Reincarnated – real maple, smoked coconut, Hawaiian sea salt

·       Chaga Chai – taproots, Chaga Chai, cinnamon sugar rolled


A pairing special featuring a coffee beverage and the coffee donut will also be available for $8 after National Coffee Day, until Wednesday, September 29.


Donuts are individually priced at $4, or are available, one of each, in the Tasting Box for a discounted price of $12.  The draft coffee, draft latte, and cacao latte are $6, and the hot drip coffee is $3.50.


“We are going to start planning more collaborations for the months ahead to honor local farms and gourmet purveyors,” shares Nile Dreiling, co-founder of Holey Grail Donuts. “We hope to bring together the finest products Hawaii has to offer and encapsulate them in a donut.”


Holey Grail Donuts has two locations on Oahu—one at Ward Centre and another in Waikiki—along with its original location in Hanalei.  For more information, visit the website at https://www.holeygraildonuts.com/

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Disney's Jungle Cruise Review

Disney's Jungle Cruise is currently available on digital, and will be on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on November 16.


Seeking an ancient tree with healing abilities, Dr. Lily Houghton and wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff team up for the adventure-of-a lifetime on Disney’s Jungle Cruise, a rollicking ride down the Amazon. Amidst danger and supernatural forces lurking in the jungle, secrets of the lost tree unfold as their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.

We were able to get a screening to code to watch Disney's Jungle Cruise digitally, and we really enjoyed this wholesome adventure movie (warning - some spoilers ahead)!

My kids enjoyed the action-packed movie, which was full of thrilling scenes and lots of humor.

We watched Dr. Lily and Skipper Frank on their journey through the jungle to collect petals from the Tears of the Moon tree, which has the power to cure numerous human ailments.  

Of course, this is no easy feat, as there are scrupulous individuals who want the petals too.
One of my kid's favorite scenes involved submarine missiles during an exciting chase between "the good and bad guys."

The special effects were fantastic, and my youngest son was in awe when the Tears of the Moon tree bloomed into a beautiful, magical sight.

I personally enjoyed how the scripts and scenes were identical to what one would experience on the actual Jungle Cruise ride at Disney Parks (eg. the "back of water;" working in an orange juice factory, but getting "canned").  Johnson did a great job nailing the amiable skippers we'd encounter on the rides, and all of their corny jokes and puns.   

It's always a treat to watch Dwayne Johnson on screen, who grew up right here in Hawai`i, as well as the talented Emily Blunt.  

Jungle Cruise was funny and engaging, and definitely a film for the entire family to enjoy. 

Disney’s Jungle Cruise Bonus Features*
  • Jungle Cruise Expedition Mode – Climb aboard a ramshackle tramp steamer (or your own couch) to learn fun facts, discover Easter eggs and catch some pop-up trivia throughout the movie.
  • It’s A Jungle Out There: Making Jungle Cruise – Director Jaume Collet-Serra, the cast and crew discuss the importance of the film's elements, from casting to makeup to the use of an ancient indigenous language, in creating the world that honors one of Disneyland's most beloved rides.
  • Dwayne And Emily: Undoubtedly Funny – Go on-set with the two stars, whose new-found friendship helped them project a natural onscreen chemistry. Although their characters challenge each other throughout the film, the actors make each other laugh. A lot!
  • Creating The Amazon – Explore the cinematic artistry involved in creating the world of Jungle Cruise, including how Frank's boat coursed "dangerous" water in a tank in Atlanta, how a town was built in Kauai, and how a ferocious jaguar came to life, among other amazing effects.
  • Once A Skip, Always A Skip – Join a panel of "Skippers" at the Disneyland Resort as they reminisce about the rewards, challenges and surprises they’ve experienced while helming the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction, and hear their advice to aspiring skippers everywhere!
  • Outtakes – Step behind the scenes of the production to catch the cast in a series of flubs, falls, foibles -- and a whole lot of laughter.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • MacGregor Drives The Boat
    • MacGregor Water Skis
    • Joachim And Nilo On The Dock
    • Frank Talks To Proxima & Lily's Nightmares
    • Sub Gets Stuck
    • Proxima Surprises MacGregor
    • Frank Gets The Cold Shoulder
    • Trader Sam And Lily Walk In The Jungle
    • MacGregor And Trader Sam Say Goodbye
    • Frank Makes Tea For Lily
    • The Backside Of Water
*bonus features vary by product and retailer
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September 23, 2021

Snowberry - Bingsu Shop Comes to Mililani Shopping Center

Regular Strawberry Snow Bingsu 

My friend @koreankitkat_cravings is all about food and thankfully she let me know about a new bingsu place that was close to me, right in the Mililani Shopping Center (next to Foodland). S
nowberry Hawaii Dessert Cafe specializes in made-to-order Korean-style Shaved Ice Desserts available in 21 flavors! They also offer smoothies, specialty desserts, and milk teas.

While we were in the shop, I got a sense of deja vu.  Turns out I have been to one of their Guam locations!  And not just once.  Three times!  My son ordered the strawberry snow bingsu and I tried the Snow Halo Halo - made with layers of red bean, mango popping balls, cornflakes, coconut snow bingsu, taro snow balls, mochi and almonds.  I loved it!  

Regular Snow Halo Halo

Seating is available for dine in, but if you rather take out, the bingsu is packaged nicely to go.  Snowberry is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 8:30 pm and on the weekends from 11am to 8 pm.  They also offer a stamp card.

Inside Snowberry

Cute seating areas

Snowberry Hawaii Dessert Cafe

95-221 Kipapa Dr

Mililani, HI 96789


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Photo courtesy of Romano’s Macaroni Grill

In appreciation of the hard-working teachers in Hawaiʻi, Romano’s Macaroni Grill launched Teacher Appreciation Month in August. On Monday, September 27, the restaurant will conclude this year’s program with a special delivery of 100 Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti meals, hosted in part by online donations made by guests throughout the month of August. The meals will be delivered to Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School and served to its teachers and staff for lunch, at 11 a.m.

“We understand the impact that teachers can have on students and hope that this small gesture can begin to express our gratitude for their dedication to Hawaiʻi keiki,” said Eva Wilton, Assistant General Manager at Macaroni Grill, at Ala Moana Center.

When Teacher Appreciation Month kicked off last month, local teachers and administrators were able to enjoy a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti when they dined in and showed their credentials at one of Macaroni Grill’s two restaurants in Hawai‘i, located at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Guests could also purchase a meal to be donated to teachers, to show appreciation.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is proud to be a part of the Hawai‘i community since 2005, when it opened its first location at Ala Moana Center. Teacher Appreciation Month is among numerous community programs implemented by the restaurant over the years. Last year, Macaroni Grill was also proud to support first responders who have been instrumental in keeping Hawaiʻi safe, with donations of meals to local firefighters and medical personnel. Macaroni Grill will once again celebrate First Responders Month in October.

Visit www.macaronigrill.com to make a reservation, for online ordering and to learn about family-friendly bundling options for take-out. Call Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Ala Moana Center at (808) 356-8300 or Queens’ MarketPlace at (808) 443-5515.

About Romano’s Macaroni Grill® 
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is an Italian restaurant brand founded in 1988. Inspired by Italian country cuisine, Macaroni Grill believes in an open kitchen that allows guests to see its ingredients and preparation techniques that blend Italian traditions with progressive culinary inspiration in a polished casual atmosphere. It was named the No. 1 Italian Restaurant Chain in America by a Nation's Restaurant News consumer survey.

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Frida's Hawaii - Waipahu

I love Mexican food, so I was excited to try Frida's Hawaii in Waipahu.

I got my "usual" at most Mexican restaurants - a Chicken Chimichanga.

Chicken Chimichanga
It was huge, and really tasty (guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo were included, but served separately).  The Mexican rice was flavorful, but I thought the refried beans were underseasoned.

Carne Asada Fries

The Carne Asada fries were loaded!  Although the fries were quite soggy by the time we brought them home (maybe the toppings should be served separately to minimize the sogginess), I appreciated that they did not skimp on toppings.  They piled on a generous serving of steak, sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole.  

Chorizo Tacos


I really enjoyed the food at Frida's, and I anticipate visiting again in the near future!

94-307 Farrington Hwy
Waipahu, HI 96797
(808) 260-3531
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