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July 3, 2020

da CHEFS box Prepared Meals

Included in da CHEFS box are prepared foods that you simply have to reheat!
 This made dinner a cinch for the crazy busy (or lazy) nights.
All I had to do was pop the food pouches in the microwave or in boiling water, and add a few extras to make it a complete meal.

I made da CHEFS box's New York Steak, Potatoes, and Herb Garlic Butter, and added a small side salad.

Another night I made da CHEFS box's Lemongrass Chicken, and simply cooked rice.

And on another night, I made pasta, along with da CHEFS box's Saffron Risotto Milanese, and Rosemary Loaf with the Herb Garlic butter. 

Visit https://chefzone.com/dachefsbox/ to find out what's in upcoming boxes!
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Going Back to School

In Hawaii, plans are in the works for students to return to school in a sort of hybrid experience - part distance learning, part in-person.

I know there are many, many concerns on both sides.

Besides the obvious - the virus, there are worries about the kids wearing their masks all day and enforcing social distancing. 

On the other side, there are students who are struggling with distance learning, who don't have the resources (laptops, internet, etc.), and there are many concerns by teachers that distance learning is not an effective way for a child to get an education.

I personally am very nervous about my kids going back to school.  However, one of my kids did go to in-person summer school.  I was very anxious about letting him go, but in the end, I knew that the school and the teacher would do everything possible to keep my child safe.  The last thing the teacher or school would want is for any kind of negligence to occur.  My child would be in their care, and I know the school did not take that lightly.

As far as the experience went - the kids took their temps upon arrival, sanitized / washed their hands before, during, and after school, and wore masks.

Tables were distanced appropriately (there were only 6 students in my son's class), and the teacher wore a face shield and used a plexiglass shield for when she needed to go near the child (eg to listen to a child read).

Children were encouraged to wear masks, but they were not required.  My son wore his mask during class (class was only 1.5 hours). 

I asked my son often about other kids taking off their masks and the social distancing, and he'd tell me if kids took off their mask or if anyone tried to get too close.

It's challenging - they are kids.  They want to be next to each other and play together. 

In addition to trusting the school, I'm also trusting other parents to not send their child to school if sick or with symptoms. 

Summer school is now over, and my son had a great time.  I was nervous on the first day, but as the session went on, I was less and less nervous. 

School is to start in a month.  I'm not going to lie - I'm nervous again, but it's still a waiting game, as things could still change at a moment's notice. 

Are you nervous about sending your kids back to school?


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July 2, 2020

Firsts Since Shelter-In-Place Began

Have you experienced any "firsts" since shelter-in-place began and was subsequently uplifted?  Dining out?  Going to the gym?  Traveling?

Today, I put in gas for the first time since March!

It was nice to see that the gas station offered a disposable glove for those who wish to be extra careful. 

I still can't get used to this "new normal."


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Easy Eggplant Parmesan

I love Eggplant Parmesan, and I made some recently with some typical pantry finds.

I simply sliced up two eggplants, pan-fried them until golden brown after dipping in flour, egg, and panko, then layered them in a 9x13 baking pan with some spaghetti sauce.  I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese, and baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.

It turned out delish.  It was definitely a quick and easy meal!
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July 1, 2020

Aiea Loop Trail


Aiea Loop Trail is located in Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Center.  The hike is rated moderate and is 4.8 miles.  The trail is kid friendly, but can be very muddy.

I took my 9 year old son on this hike to get him out of the house and I didn't tell him exactly how long the trail was for fear of mutiny.  We both enjoyed the scenic trail with views of the H3 and Halawa Valley, but it is long so I had to promise him ice cream.  At times, it seemed the only thing keeping him going was the thought of 2 scoops of Dave's cotton candy ice cream.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed the shady hike so much that I went again 3 days later with my 13 year old daughter and friends.  This time the majority of the hike was muddy and we ran into 3 small wild pigs so it was not as good of an experience as the first time. 

There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and also restrooms.  The park is open daily from 7am to 6:45pm.

View of the Valley

We think this is some of the remains from the B-24J Crash Site

This is roughly the width of most of the trail.

First H3 sighting!

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Nairagi Puttanesca Recipe

da CHEFS box comes with a lot of prepped as well as fresh foods, and one of the fresh items was nairagi (local marlin).

Thankfully, Chef Brian Hirata of Na`au Hilo gave me a very easy recipe to incorporate the Nairagi in - Fish Puttanesca!

It was so tasty - the kids ate it up!  I definitely want to try it with chicken (but even with just the spaghetti, it was still very delicious!).

Nairagi Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs nairagi, cut into 4 portions
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 T capers
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 2.25 oz can sliced olives
  • 2 T parsley, chopped
  • 1 pinch of dried thyme
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • red wine vinegar (optional)
Directions:
  • Place fish on a paper plate or paper-towel lined plate.  Salt and pepper fish and set aside.
  • In a pan on low heat, add olive oil and garlic.
  • Once the garlic starts to bubble (about 5 minutes), pour in the stewed tomatoes, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add olives, capers, and anchovies, and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a teaspoon of red wine vinegar if the sauce needs acid.
  • Simmer 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off heat, and submerge fillets.  Cover pan with a lid (or foil, if you are in a pinch).
  • Flip fillets after 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with pasta.



Visit https://chefzone.com/dachefsbox/ to find out what's in upcoming boxes!
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Fishing Farms Hawaii


Fishing Farms Hawaii, managed by Ali'i Agriculture Farms (and formerly known as such), is a great place to introduce kids to the sport of fishing.



They have three fresh water ponds like the one pictured above, and they are all well stocked with tilapia, catfish, and grass-carp.   



Our fishing adventure started at the Fishing Shack, where we purchased our poles and bait. We rented two poles (each pole comes with 1 ball of bait) for the four of us, which was more than adequate.



After paying for our poles and bait, we selected our bamboo fishing poles, grabbed a bucket, and headed to the pond.  Hint: choose the longest poles, because that will enable you to cast your hook and bait farther out from shore, which is where the bigger fish cruise.  Also, buckets are only for those who are planning to buy fish (read the rules before taking a bucket).  If you just want to catch-and-release, do not take a bucket.



It was a short walk to the ponds. We looked for a spot that was away from other people (social distancing is in full effect!).  Since we came a little after 10 am, there were many open spots available.  Note - the best time to come is when they open at 10 am - there's plenty of parking and you have your choice of spot to fish.  





Here's the amount of bait that comes with each pole. It doesn't look like much, but it was actually a lot of bait, since the amount of bait you use is very small, like the size of a pea.


We loaded our hooks for the boys because we did not want them to get cut by the hooks. What's great about this place is that the hooks are already tied to the lines, therefore you do not need to have any background knowledge in fishing to fish here!  And if your line breaks, just return the pole to the shack and pick another pole.



It took a few minutes for the boys to catch a fish. The fish kept stealing our bait!


But once they caught one, they were all smiles!  This one was too small to eat, so we tossed it back and tried again.


This is more like it! He's a keeper!


We also kept this one.


We fished for a good two hours before we rain out of bait. We were also getting really hungry so we packed up our things and headed back to the shack.




 For the fish we caught, it was $6 per pound.



Our two fish totaled approximately one pound, so we were charged $6 for the fish.


We then ordered the fish to be cooked by the food truck next to the shack. We ordered one steamed and one fried with salt and pepper.  

Fried fish with salt and pepper

Steamed fish cilantro, ginger, green onion, shoyu and fried garlic (Chinese style)


We waited about 20 minutes for our fish to be prepared.  It was so worth the wait! Both fishes were delicious! I wish we had caught bigger fish so that we had more fish to eat. Maybe next time we'll get lucky and catch the big one!

p.s. You can also ask them to catch the fish (the fish are kept in a separate pool) - they're bigger and cost a little more per pound

The boys are already talking about wanting to go back to catch more fish!

FISHING FARMS HAWAII
680 Whitmore Avenue 
Wahiawa, HI 96786

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