Hawaii Mom Blog






February 16, 2019

Valentine's Day Dinner at Home

Not too many people I know go out for dinner on Valentine's Day - restaurants are crowded, expensive, set their menus (so often times you don't get to order what you really want to eat), and if you have kids, it's just downright not possible! 

For me, I've never been a huge fan of the day in general, especially nowadays as it seems like it's commercialized to the Nth degree (what isn't these days?!).  But in my husband's eyes, it's still a special day, so he surprised me with dinner to-go from The Officer's Club at the Marine Corp Base Hawaii.

The three course dinner came with hors d'oevres ...

an Ahi Nicoise Salad ...

haricots verts, cherry tomatoes, olives and a Thai Chili Vinaigrette

Herb Garlic Focaccia bread and choice of entree  (he selected the chicken saltimbocca) ...

Madeira Mushroom cream sauce

and a Jack Daniel's Chocolate Pot de Creme with candied orange for dessert.

I live for enjoying restaurant-quality food in the comforts of my own home, surrounded by my forever Valentines (my hubby and son).  Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day as well!

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February 15, 2019

DYNE by Chefbuddha

While in Hilo, I made it to the DYNE by Chefbuddha pop-up.  Chef Dayne Tanabe, Chef of Restaurants at Hilton Waikoloa Village, has been regularly doing pop-ups on the Big Island since last summer.  Done in conjunction with Bahay Kubo Store, the pop-ups feature Chef Dayne's local-style dishes, many of them Filipino-inspired, along with popular Filipino snacks from Bahay Kubo Store, as well as homemade goodies from local businesses.

 I ordered the following from DYNE:
Lechon Kawali

Pork Adobo Fried Rice Burrito
Both were really tasty, but I liked the Lechon Kawali the best.

Next time I want to try the Mexican Street Corn and one of the Halo Halo creations!

Follow @dyne.chefbuddha on Instagram to see where he'll be popping up next!

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Two Ways to Dine at Restaurant Suntory

Restaurant Suntory is one of my all time favorite restaurants in Hawaii. My parents used to take us here for dinner when we were kids, and even to this day we still have family dinners here (and now 'family dinners' include my five year old twin sons!).

Restaurant Suntory offers two styles of Japanese dining - Teppanyaki and Washoku..


If you're looking for traditional style Japanese cuisine, make a reservation in their regular dining room or sushi bar area. For my friend's 41st birthday, his family hosted family and friends to an amazing washoku style dinner in the sushi bar. 

midori sour blended

spicy ahi sushi roll

assorted sashimi

miso soup

miso butterfish

wafu steak gozen


green tea ice cream


For me personally, I prefer the teppanyaki room at Suntory. Don't get me wrong, their traditional "washoku" dishes are divine, but I LOVE teppanyaki, because I get to see my food prepared, and it comes straight from the grill to my plate!

green salad

shrimp appetizer

chicken (for my twins)

grilled veggies

garlic fried rice


certified angus sirloin (don't forget to ask for the garlic chips!)

bean sprouts


Restaurant Suntory is also open for lunch! Read about Gem's lunch at Suntory HERE!

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
Bldg B, Third Level, B307
2233 Kalakaua Ave
(808) 922-5511

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  They are my all-time favorite candy.  Those who know me best would give me Reese's for holidays and other special occasions, or even "just because" - that's how much I love Reese's!

The chocolate and peanut butter combo is simply one of the best combos there is, and I decided to try and make my own peanut butter cups.

It's super easy, and I absolutely loved the PB cups. I didn't have the time or patience to try and make the PB layer "pretty," but they still turned out delicious.

In my opinion, they taste more like the PB cups from Trader Joe's vs Reese's, but they are still really, really good.

Of course, the true test would be with my kids, especially my middle son, who loves Reese's almost as much as I do.

He gave it a thumbs up!

The best part - this recipe is no bake!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

  • 1 c creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 4 t butter, softened
  • 2 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, confectioners sugar, and butter until smooth.
  • Melt chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter in microwave on high for 90 seconds. Stir until smooth.
  • Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture into paper-lined miniature muffin cups. 
  • Drop a teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture into each cup.
  • Top with a teaspoonful of chocolate mixture. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

You can find the original recipe here on A Taste of Home.
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February 14, 2019

Aloha Hilo Day Trip: Two Ladies Kitchen

Although I've been to Two Ladies Kitchen many times before, I never tried their mochi until our Aloha Hilo Day Trip (I'm not a huge fan of mochi).

Laurie pre-ordered assortment packs for us, and we arrived at Two Ladies Kitchen just prior to opening.  The line was already about 20 people deep.

In addition to the pre-ordered assortment pack, I also picked up another pre-made assortment pack (I thought the kids would love the colorful mochi bites filled with chocolate or vanilla).

The rest of our group also ordered different varieties on the spot (Strawberry Shortcake, Grape, etc.), which took a little while to be made.

I did finally try the mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen, and I did think it was yummy - but I should've tried it earlier (instead of the next day).  In fact, I wish I tried one just after ordering.

Maybe next time!

If you love mochi, Two Ladies Kitchen is the place to go when in Hilo!

Two Ladies Kitchen
274 Kilauea Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-4766
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Fresh Ginger Cookies Recipe

While in Hilo, a friend of mine had given me some ginger that her father grows and just recently harvested. I decided I would try and bake something with the ginger, and I made Fresh Ginger Cookies.

I had never tasted or baked ginger cookies before, but I'm now a fan.  

The ginger flavor is very mild (you could add more grated ginger if you want if you love ginger), and it was just yummy overall.  The kids loved the cookies too!

Fresh Ginger Cookies

  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 egg
  • sugar for rolling dough in
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine the ginger, butter, sugars, and honey until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg. 
  • Stir in the flour mixture.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour.  
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll in sugar. 
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes. 
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February 13, 2019

Aloha Hilo Day Trip: Moon & Turtle

I've gone to Hilo quite a bit over the past year, and with the exception of one visit, I've dined at Moon & Turtle each time.

On our Aloha Hilo Day Trip, Moon & Turtle was our last stop of the day.  I made reservations for 5:30pm, when they opened, since we had a very short window to eat (our flight back to Oahu was at 8:04pm).  The Moon & Turtle team made sure we had plenty to eat during our quick visit.

Menpachi Sashimi

Smokey Sashimi

Salty Fish Fried Rice

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Menpachi

Mushroom Risotto

Pipikaula Salad
The food was amazing, as usual. The Smokey Sashimi and Salty Fish Fried Rice are popular dishes at Moon & Turtle, so of course we had to order some.

My personal faves were the Crispy Menpachi, Pipikaula Salad, and the Mushroom Risotto.  I could've eaten the entire dish of risotto myself.  It was so creamy and delish, made with Koshikari rice and truffle oil!

It was just too bad we had to rush out of Moon & Turtle (we made it just in time for boarding - that's how close we cut it), but I'm glad we got to squeeze dinner in.

Reservations are highly recommended!

Moon & Turtle
51 Kalakaua St
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-0599
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