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Island Life. Recipes. Frugal and Sustainable Living.

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Zero Waste

Zero Waste

The smallest implication of a zero waste lifestyle is a wonderful thing in itself. It does not have to be an all-or-nothing experience, and any waste reduction, small or great, will encourage a cleaner, sustainable future for all of us. The simple act of trying […]

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Eruptive Disruptions

Eruptive Disruptions

Aloha. Initially, I didn’t want to address the situation currently happening on the Big Island, and was a topic I was avoiding like the plague. Mainly because my life is almost entirely consumed by it at the moment and I am literally living and breathing […]

Blue Ginger

Blue Ginger

This Aloha Friday I wanted to feature a colorful beauty that grows very well in partial or full shade in my yard. It is referred to as blue ginger, or Dichorisandra thyrsiflora, and is actually not a true ginger plant, but more similar to a spiderwort or wandering Jew. I was excited to learn this was in the same family, because I have some wandering Jew plants that are doing great, and I had intended to share them on an upcoming Aloha Friday post.

Blue ginger is such a great plant for those low light, moist areas of the yard that don’t require much attention. My environment just so happens to be quite humid, and with plenty of areas in my yard that have shade, this is a perfect match for those spaces that needed a little something extra. The green, waxy leaves are very similar to the leaves on real varieties of ginger, and beautiful purple-bluish flowers crown the top of a long stalk that comes out the top.

If you live in certain places in California or Florida, this may be a great plant to put into your landscape in a low-key, shaded area that will keep the soil moist. I have included some links that I came across in my quick search about blue ginger should you decide to start growing this plant. The first link is from the University of Florida, and the second is a very detailed  assessment of the pros and cons of growing and other useful information, by ‘Louis the Plant Geek‘. Happy Aloha Friday!

The SAK Women’s Rhythm Rain Boot
Wasabi

Wasabi

This Aloha Friday I wanted to feature my newly harvested wasabi plant. It grows exceptionally well in Volcano, and once it starts sprouting keikis (offspring), it is easy to separate into smaller pots and start growing even more. Rumor has it that wasabi is hard […]

Aloha Friday

Aloha Friday

In celebration of the upcoming Earth Day, I’m going to begin a new tradition of sharing photos of my backyard horticultural adventures and other botany around the island, on Aloha Friday. It’s such a feel-good way to positively kick off the weekend and celebrate the […]

Earth Day

Earth Day

After a much needed spring break, I have returned with my newest creative project and frugal living idea. On Hawaii Island, we have a ban on plastic bags, and are encouraged to bring our own reusable shopping bags to grocery and retail stores; therefore, it’s always handy to have a few in your car in case you need them. This latest creation happens to be a fabulous idea to celebrate Earth Day and at the same time, repurpose something I have plenty of: animal feed bags. There are plenty of fun ideas and great ‘how-to’s’ all over the internet and you don’t need to be a master tailor or seamstress to make one. I took inspiration from two different places, and they are essentially the same style of bag, and both have similar instructions. It depends on if you want to make them a little smaller like a grocery sack, or bigger like a beach bag. Really, the possibilities are endless. Also, keep in mind, that you can alter a few things to your liking, such as the material, or length and position of the handles. I used longer, thicker handles for the pigeon beach bag (bottom of post), and used shorter, thinner handles for the cat food grocery bag (above). Some people use the scraps from the bag to make handles, but I think various other materials can make it a more stylish and comfortable carrying bag. In the photos featured on this page, I used some old children’s curtain material that was both colorful and stain resistant, as well as water resistant outdoor table cloth material for the handles.

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The best part about upcycling feed bags, other than the frugality of it, is that they are unbelievably durable and easy to clean. The slick, smooth plastic can be rinsed or wiped down with a sponge and soapy water. The flimsy cloth bags that most grocery stores sell for $1, often fall apart after several uses and have pretty weak handles, unlike these. Since I began making these bags, I have almost completely eliminated using cloth bags that get stained and smelly, even with occasional washing. Additionally, most animal feed bags are made with some form of woven plastic, and will sadly take forever to biodegrade if sent off to a landfill. It’s a great feeling to keep them from hitting the trash can and do something fun with them. My cute, upcycled feed bags are so durable, they are going to be around long after a zombie apocalypse. In the meantime, I am going to be busy making a few more as birthday gifts and also for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday. They are a perfect gift for someone who loves to recycle and they will last a very long time.

If you are interested in trying to make your own, you can check out my Pinterest board on Recycled and Upcycled Projects for this bag, and all kinds of other great ideas at: https://www.pinterest.com/mybestislandlife/recycle-and-upcycle-projects/

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This large pigeon feed bag makes a great beach bag. The perfect size for our island adventures.

 

 

 

Recycled Cement Bag Purse/Handbag

 

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox

Today is the first day of Spring, or the Equinox, and it was supposed to be the official end of my spring cleaning ritual and “Cookbook Challenge”. The spring cleaning tasks will be wrapping up in the next few days, but the cookbook challenge was […]

Encore: Revenge of the “Vedge”

Encore: Revenge of the “Vedge”

You just can’t keep me away from the cookbook, “Vedge”, by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. Everything I make from it is so dang flavorful and unique that I feel like a culinary rock star. In my search for recipes for this cookbook challenge, I […]

Cookbook Challenge: “The Garlic Lover’s Cookbook” Part 1 & 2

Cookbook Challenge: “The Garlic Lover’s Cookbook” Part 1 & 2

This cookbook has a little bit of everything for everyone and you can get as intensely garlicky as you want. Some of the amounts of garlic per recipe, range from as little as 1/4 teaspoon, all the way up to 40 cloves. When I’ve been asked before what my favorite food is, I have often responded with one word, “garlic”. So, I guess you could say I’m more of a 40 clove type of person, which is why I chose this next recipe, 40 Clove Garlic Chicken . Hooray for garlic!

This dish was tangy and flavorful and felt very indulgent. It calls for leaving the 40 cloves in their skins and baking them until soft, which makes the garlic sweet and smooth tasting. The lemon adds the acidity that balances out any heaviness the garlic may impart. I chose to lightly brown the pieces of chicken, skin-side down, before baking and also added half of a sliced onion.
I really liked this recipe and will continue to make this, or a variation of this, for a long time to come.

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I served the chicken with a second recipe from this cookbook, (“Part 2”), called Garlic Butter Crumb Tomatoes. I picked this particular one because I happened to have some beautiful heirloom tomatoes on hand from Ohana Organic Farm in Puna. They are super flavorful tomatoes and perfect for putting under the broiler as this recipe calls for. I did not use crushed stuffing crumbs, but instead, used panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt-free seasoning, and I used coconut oil instead of melted butter. This dish was so simple to make and pretty enough to serve as a quick vegetarian appetizer in the future.

After giving it some thought, I have decided not to keep this cookbook. It’s my feeling that if you’re going to call yourself the “Garlic Lovers” anything, it needs to smack me in the face just like the scent of raw garlic. Many of the dishes actually lack a substantial amount of garlic for my taste, and it was strange to think that some of them were actually entered into a garlic cooking competition. This cookbook will be donated to my friend who also appreciates garlic and she can make better use of it than me.

*As for this particular cookbook:

This cookbook is as much of a celebration of Gilroy, California as the garlic itself. The few photos provided in the book are of the annual garlic festival that has been held there for the past forty years. The beginning of the book tells a little about the history of garlic and it’s uses. Most recipes name the person who entered it in the cooking competition as well as any anecdotal and interesting information about the recipe, i.e., family history, origins, etc. As I’ve stated before, I am not a fan of cookbooks without any pictures of the final product, and this falls into that category. The book has some great inspirational recipes, but has plenty of redundancies, such as five different recipes for garlic bread, all using French bread, butter and garlic, with no huge difference between them. The contest winning recipes are in a chapter all of their own, and in my opinion, deserve to be placed at the front of the book, not the back, as they are the best quality. This book is for the true garlic fan, and because of the homespun-take on most of the recipes, it may be a nice addition to have on hand. 

“The Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook” from Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World.

 

Rainy Day Blues

Rainy Day Blues

Aloha Friends, I have been away for a few days because there was tragedy in our chicken coops. It was necessary to put my “Cookbook Challenge” on hold until I could figure out how to stop an evil predator, or more specifically, the Small Asian […]


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