Coconut-Lilikoi Tapioca.

My favorite place on all of Maui is Kula. Kula is nestled up on the western slope of Haleakala. One of my favorite sights is looking up at Kula from further down the volcano; there is this breathtaking light and dark contrast up on the hillside, created by a mix of the sun, clear blue sky and the clouds that hover above and around the peak of the volcano. You see this bright, beautiful patches of bright green meadows intertwined with dark patches of forest, all illuminated against the grey and blue sky created by the clouds. It’s difficult to describe, but just…lovely.

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Orchids of Olinda & Lilikoi Orchid Tartlets.

Warning. This post is going to have a lot of orchid photos.

The first time I remember seeing orchids and hearing that word, was on the Big Island when I was a kid. We had been driving around the island all day. We met a man from New Jersey who grew coffee (and maybe some other things 😉 ) and sold ice cream. We went into a macadamia nut packing house where I watched a bunch of ladies in hairnets in front of a conveyor belt I Love Lucy style. And then after running around on a black sand beach, we headed back to Kona. On the way, we stopped by a giant greenhouse, which ended up being filled with orchids.

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POG Muffins.

I had my first taste of pog, on my very first flight to Hawaii (the Big Island). I can’t remember how old I was, but I remember the flight attendant handing me the little plastic cup of goodness with the foil lid. I looked at the pinkish juice and took a sip. A flood of sweet deliciousness! I have loved pog ever since, but it is only an indulgence saved for my trips to Hawaii.

I saw these muffins on Eat the Love before my last trip, so I bookmarked the recipe to veganize during my stay.

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Taro Cupcakes.

Some where….some how, I came into possession of this poi powder. For most of my unusual ingredients, I have ideas for things to go along with them. Not the case with this poi powder, which is dehydrated taro pounded into a powder. If I wanted to make poi, I know where I can get fresh taro, so what else could I do with this stuff? Then I remembered some of my other strange pantry powders, like my matcha green tea powder. So, I thought to myself….YEAH. Green tea cupcakes…..but I’ma sub out everything green tea and put in powdered poi magic. And so it went.

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Pineapple Pie and the Island of Lanai.

On a clear day in Maui, depending on what side of the island you’re on, you can see both Oahu and the Big Island. But even if the day is not so clear, you always have a nice view of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. On my last trip, my dad and I adventured to Molokai to explore what the island had to offer. This time around, I planned a day trip and picnic for my friend and I on Lanai.

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Guava Bread & Iao Valley.

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On my many trips to Maui, I always find myself exploring new places and experiencing new things. One may think you would quickly run out of things to do on an island so small, but that could not be further from the truth. I, without a doubt, find myself at the airport bound for Los Angeles listing and dreaming about all the things that I did not have time to do.

On my most recent trip, a friend and I decided to visit Iao Valley for the first time. I had heard of its beauty and wanted to see for myself. We arrived at the park, paid our $5 entry and read some signs about what the park offered. While the landscape was breathtaking, my friend and I were a bit disappointed at how short and small the trails were and how paved they were….Part of it almost looked like a garden planted at a museum (which are quite beautiful, but not what we were looking for). We took the short walk up to view the needle. It was a breathtaking day with the clearest of blue skies touched ever so slightly with perfect puffs of little white clouds.

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Coconut-Taro Rolls.

I love taro. It’s a starchy, nutritious tuber that is popular in various parts of the world, but has been a major staple crop and pretty important part of the Hawaiian culture and diet, since people started inhabiting the Hawaiian islands. It is most commonly (and traditionally) used to make a dish called poi; poi is basically just boiled, mashed taro with a bit of water. It’s easily digestible, and has a slight sweetness to it. There are many varieties of taro, coming in a range of sizes.

Taro rolls are common luau fare, but the rolls are typically loaded with butter and eggs…and dyed purple….but no matter as luaus are classic for being very un-vegan, so I won’t be finding myself at one in the near or distant future. These rolls remind me of traditional Thanksgiving day sweet rolls, which I used to eat loads of as a kid. They are great with a smear of tropical jam (guava, pineapple, lilikoi etc) or lovely with some Earth Balance Coconut Spread.

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