Christmas Wreath

 

I love red and gold during christmas. I decided to focus my decorating using them as my main colors. I wanted to make a wreath for indoors similar to the one I made this fall. You can find the directions here.

For this wreath I used:image

  • Red burlap ribbon
  • various berries
  • center flower
  • hot glue gun
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Sweet and Sour Chicken

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I tried my hand at some Sweet and Sour Chicken and it was delicious!

What you need:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

Directions:

  • Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces
  • Place 1 cup cornstarch into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, add chicken and toss to coat
  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pan
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together 3 eggs. Dip the cornstarch chicken pieces into the beaten egg, coating both sides then transfer the chicken into the hot oil
  • Cook chicken in hot oil about 30 seconds per side or until golden. (if you want you could deep fry it until its crispy.
  • Transfer chicken to a baking dish
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 4 Tbsp ketchup, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Pour sauce over your sautéed chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  • Bake uncovered at 325’F for 1 hour, turning the chicken twice while baking to coat with sauce.

I also cooked up some rice and broccoli to go with it!

Paper Ornaments

imageI saw a photo on Pinterest which inspired these ornaments. They’re pretty simple but messy to make.

imageWhat you need:

  • Ornaments (from the dollar store)
  • Book (I got mine from Goodwill because I liked the paper)
  • Glitter

I made the paper mache out of flour and water till it had the consistency of pancake batter. I ripped up the paper into strips and glued them onto the ornaments, while they were still wet apply glitter and let dry. It’s that easy!

 

Chorizo and Butternut Soup w/ Cheese Quesadillas

 

I’ve been trying to cook more and eat out less, which is quite the challenge for me. This is one of the greatest recipes I have tried so far. I got if out of Rachel Rays 365: No Repeats cook book. I’ve adjusted it a little for my personal taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (twice around the pan)
  • 1/2 pound chorizo, casing removed, chopped (I liked mine a little chunky)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (a palmful)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 10-ounce box frozen cooked butternut squash puree, defrosted
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 4 12-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Pepper Jack
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions:image

  • Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EOO, then
    add the chopped chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the butternut squash puree. Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, preheat a nonstick skillet or griddle pan to high heat. Blister a flour tortilla for 20 seconds, then flip.
  • Cover half the tortilla surface with some of the shredded cheese, chopped scallions and cilantro.
  • Fold the tortillas in half and cook for a minute longer.
  • Cut the quesadillas into 4 wedges and serve alongside soup.

What to do in Oahu

We tried to pack as much as we could into our 3 day stay in Oahu. Here are some of the places we visited.

Diamond Head Crater

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Most reviews say it’s an easy hike and for beginners. While this is true, it’s still a lot of effort. I suggest start as early as you can to try to avoid a lot of tours and before it gets too hot outside. Once you get up their it’s a pretty great view. Take a few moments to get some pictures but don’t forget to just relax and enjoy. If you’re feeling 12036719_10153510742941747_5906069088914900298_nrisky (which we were) there is a second bunker a couple yards away which is much less crowded. To get over there you’ll have to hop a rail and walk along the small
trail, just be careful. This hike takes about an hour and a half to two hours.

Manao Falls12074528_10153510745211747_5919936599132611795_n

This hike is much easier than the Diamond Head Crater. This hike is more through the rainforest and is about the journey rather than the destination. Bring bug spray and watch where you step, it gets very muddy and slippery. The hike only took us about an hour and has a nice waterfall at the end.

Waikiki Beach – Paddle Boarding

While my parents golfed, Matt and I rented paddle boards for an hour. It was $30 from the near by hotel, which we thought was expensive, but as our trip continued we found $30 to be reasonable.

Underwater Scooter

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This was definitely the highlight of our trip! The underwater scooter portion only lasted 15-20 minutes but it was well worth it. You get to be up close to the fish and they even give you food to feed them. Let’s just say the fish surrounded you which was amazing! If you get claustrophobic snorkeling (like my father and I do) no worries! This is easier than you think. You’ll be glad you take the plunge, just remember to keep your ear pressure popping as you go down in depth.

Byodo-In Temple

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This was a fun stop on a day of driving around. It was $3 and we spent about 15 minutes here. We probably could’ve spend more time but it started to rain. You pass the Chinaman’s hat on the way to Turtle Bay Beach.  If you can pull off to the side to get a picture, feel free. My mom definitely wanted a picture of this unique landform.

Turtle Bay Beach

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Make sure you have your GPS on or you’ll drive right passed it. You have to go to the actual resort and then follow the signs for beach access. This area is pretty busy, so I doubt their were any turtles but if you go farther down the beach there are some very quite areas. To walk on the rock formation, WEAR GOOD SHOES! Flip flops would be very painful and watch your step. There are some blow holes and you don’t want to fall since the rocks are very sharp. It was a great view of the waves. It’s a fun stop if you’re looking for something else to do.

Sunset Beach

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This was our final stop of our drive around the Island. It’s a pretty long beach, where we parked was just on the side of the road. The beach isn’t really meant for swimming but a lot of locals still skim board and and goof around. If you do want to swim, the waves are very big so be careful. If you want to gather shells this was a great beach to do that at. The sunset was nice but the one we saw on our first night in Waikiki was much better.