It seems like monthly subscription boxes are really popular right now. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and include treats for everyone it seems. From make-up, to organic goodies for you (or your pup) to boxes that are filled with strictly plant-based goods. To be honest, none of these really excited me. No offense intended, but I just wasn’t interested in receiving a box of detox powder or raw energy bars that “maybe” contained one thing I actually liked or would use. Then I discovered Hello Makana and the monthly Makana box.
Hello Makana is a monthly subscription box filled with products created and produced in Hawaii. Most of the products are made by small businesses or farmers. While this box is not strictly vegan, I find that the majority of the goodies are plant-based (always vegetarian) and made with natural ingredients. I can’t express how much I adore receiving this box every month. There is always some delicious or beautiful surprise waiting for me. I have gotten a range of wonderful items including handmade organic soaps and candles, delicious Maui guava jam and upcountry mustard (the BEST), organic green tea grown on the Big Island, a beautiful Hawaiian inspired tea towel, vanilla-macadamia infused sugar created by the students of Maui’s culinary academy and so much more. I look forward to getting my Makana box each month and finding what treasures lay inside. Since the box often includes delicious vegan products that I often use in my cooking and baking, I thought I might feature a recipe here and there that I create using something from my Makana box.
Recently, my box included some of Aunty Lilikoi’s Passion Fruit Syrup. I have seen this in the store while on Maui, but never tried it. It’s made from cane sugar, water, passion fruit juice and pectin. Just as a note, don’t fear pectin. Anytime you see pectin as an ingredient, rest assured that it is all natural. ALL pectin comes from plants, mostly apples. I decided to break open the syrup and use it in place of molasses in a recipe for baked beans. Also as another side note, I am now obsessed with Rancho Gordo’s heirloom beans. I never want to eat beans from a can again!
Lilikoi Baked Beans
*this recipe also utilizes Maui Upcountry’s Maui Onion Garlic Mustard which tastes like mustard heaven. While I did receive a jar of this mustard in one of my boxes, it has been one of my favorite mustards for years and I highly recommend it. All of the stuff I’ve had from Upcountry Jams & Jellies is awesome!
1 bag Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans, soaked overnight
1/3 c golden brown muscovado sugar
4 tbsp Maui Onion Garlic Mustard
1 Maui onion or other sweet onion, chopped
2 tsp liquid smoke
3 c vegetable stock
smoked sea salt, to taste (start with 1 tsp and work your way up, 1 tsp at a time)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon, to top
Throw everything, but the coconut bacon into a slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on the low setting and cook everything for about 3-4 hours. Make this recipe while you’re home, so you can keep an eye on it. Check on it after 2.5 hours to see how it’s progressing making sure to taste your cooking liquid. If the liquid is a bit bland, start adding more salt–it will depend on how salty your stock is. I have a newer slow cooker, which, even on the low setting, cooks things relatively fast. If you have an older model, you may have to cook this recipe for a lot longer. I wish I could give you a time estimate, but I haven’t tested or made the recipe in any other cooker but my own. When the beans are done, serve warm and topped with coconut bacon! Feel free to make substitutions with what you have on hand, although I highly recommend the lilikoi syrup. You can order it online if you won’t be in Hawaii any time soon.