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Guilt Free Hogs & Everything Else

[Not-so] Detailed 5 day itinerary for Big Island, Hawaii + Restaurant Recommendations

Big Island of Hawaii is HUGEEE!!!  This is the youngest island out of all other Hawaiian islands and also the biggest. East side (Hilo) receives a lot of rain resulting in lush green jungles and breathtaking scenery. West side (Kona) is called the “dry” side with lot of sunshine through the day. We split our stay between West and East side (with lodging@ Volcano Village)

Sharing the itinerary we followed, hope it helps =)

Stay at Kona: https://www.hawaii-bnb.com/ ( ~ 10 miles from KOA Airport)

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Stay at Volcano Village: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/28565104?source_impression_id=p3_1575494045_jBh%2Bwq%2FYGzqe%2Bzeo

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Flight from SFO —> KOA.

Day 1: (Drive to North of Kona)

  • Drive to Waipi O’ Valley (Very steep/strenuous hike, be sure to book shuttle ride in advance to skip the hike. Shuttle ride takes you down to valley floor, black sand beach, small river, amazing views. $65/person) https://www.waipiovalleyshuttle.com/
  • Polulu lookout
  • Hapuna Beach – Beautiful family friendly white sand beach
  • Magic Sands Beach
  • Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park – To learn about Hawaiian history/ Good photo spot
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    Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park
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    Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park
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    Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park
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    Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park

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    Papakolea Green Sand Beach
  • Dinner at Ali’i Drive/ Beach side chill+dine at Lava Lava Beach club

Day 2: (Drive to south of Kona)

Checkout from BNB.

  • Papakolea green sand beach ( 60 miles to south) GET CASH!! $20/person for bumpy pick up truck ride by the locals!!! Hiking can be exhausting, not flat land.
  • Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
  • Stop by famous Punalu Bakery (Check Yelp!) – They sell out of popular items by evening.
  • Drive to Volcano village

More places @ Kona we could not visit:

  • Mauna kea beach (36 miles north)
  • Kiholo Bay (31 miles to north)
  • Kona Cloud Forest (10 miles north)
  • Manini’owali Beach (Kua Bay) 17 miles north

Day 3:

  • Hawaii Volcano National park. Go to Visitor Center to get more info on the current conditions /open trails.
  • Trails open to visitors during Nov 2019:
  • Crater Rim Trail
  • Sulphur Banks/Steam vents
  • KILAUEA’IKI TRAIL was the highlight of our trip ❤

Day 4:

  • Return to Volcano National park if missed out on anything.
  • Drive to Hilo (1 hr drive), breakfast at Ken’s pancake house ( Open 24/7 365 days)
  • On the way, make a quick stop at Macadamia Nut Factory for a free self guided tour https://www.maunaloa.com/visitor/
  • Hilo farmer’s market
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Akaka Falls
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical garden ($25 entrance fee)

Day 5:

  • Drive back to Kona via Saddle Road
  • On the way, make a 30 min pit stop at Kaumana Caves. If you wish to explore these caves, carry couple of flash lights and tennis shoes. Rocks can be pretty slippery.
  • We took the free coffee tour at Mountain Thunder. It was pretty interesting. Spent about 40 mins
  • Manta Ray Night Snorkel

COFFEE TOURS @ KONA

  • Mountain thunder Kona Coffee: Free tours every hour. 7 days/week
  • Greenwell Farms: Free tours every day 9-4
  • Kona Joe: Open all days from 8 am to 5 pm. Free self-guided tours and paid guided tours

MUST DO : Manta Ray Night Snorkeling. Some tour operators with good reviews:

  1. Sea Paradise
  2. Sea Quest
  3. Hawaii Oceanic
  4. We took the tour by “Hawaii Island and Ocean Tours” ( WOULD NOT recommend )
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Hōlei Sea Arch @ Hawaii Volcano National Park
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Hawaii Volcano National Park
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Hilo Farmers Market
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Secluded beach near Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
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Rainbow Falls
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Pu’uhonua O Hunaunau National Park
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Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Where to eat?

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Cookie Monster Acai Bowl @ Makani’s Magic Pineapple shack
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Makani’s Magic Pineapple shack
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Best  Chicken Wings @ Hilo Town Tavern
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Punalu’u Bake Shop

 

 

 

No Bake Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Bars

Detailed blog post – Coming soon!

Tofu Tikka Skewers

Detailed blog post – Coming soon!

  • Cube sized firm tofu, bell peppers, onions marinated with curd+spice powders.
  • Fry on pan/air fryer 🙂

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Healthier – Moist – 100% Whole Wheat Banana Bread

So I’ve been trying to cut off refined white sugar completely from my diet, which meant avoiding the traditional banana bread recipe only until I stumbled upon this recipe on a random YouTube food channel.. This one is my adaptation of the recipe 🙂

We always have a bunch of bananas at home and ripe bananas work best for this!! After multiple trials, I decided to stick to this recipe as it turned out super delicious, moist and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness.

This is the only banana bread recipe you will need. Try it, cuz you’ll love it ❤

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Preheat oven to 370 F .

Start off by mushing the ripe bananas – about one heaped cup. Don’t worry if you got some lumps left in it as it will cook right up & turn out to be absolutely lovely!

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Mix in all the wet ingredients at this stage.

1 Egg

1/3 Cup Honey (I used some Maple Syrup too)

3/4 Cup Almond Milk

1 Sp Vanilla extract

Mix well.

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Now, combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl

1.5 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup Rolled Oats

1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

3/4 Tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1 Tsp Cinnamon

Lightly mix it together

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Combine the dry & wet ingredients together

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Scoop all the mixture onto a well greased loaf tin. You could use cooking spray / butter / oil to grease the pan.

You could add Oats..Linseeds..Walnuts… go crazy with the toppings. I added some raisins, oats & drizzled some chocolate syrup just to make it more attractive 🙂

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Put it in the oven for about 60-70 mins **Loved how my kitchen smelled while the bread was baking**

The cold rain slamming against the windows, a mug of tea in your hands and the waiting for the cake to be ready! For me, its the ultimate weekend feeling!

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When the timer has gone off, make sure the cake is well cooked by inserting a knife. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready. Let it cool off for a bit and then try not to eat it all at once!!
Hope you’ll love the recipe!

Until next time,

Stay Happy & Healthy!

Love,

Sam

 

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Quick Egg Muffins for crazy mornings!!

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High Protein – Low Carb and Surprisingly filling too…. Watcha waiting for ?? 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F , lightly  grease the muffin pan / use muffin liners to enjoy a mess free day ahead 😉
  • Beat egg whites in a large bowl, add in finely chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and seasoning
  • Optionally, add in some hot sauce, Cheese gratings, chilli flakes..just about anything! Hot sauce taste great!!
  • Fill the muffin cup 1/3 with the egg mixture
  • Bake for 25 – 30 mins until knife comes out clean. The muffins will puff up but deflate as it gets into room temperature. ALL DONE!

Bon Appetit 😀

Feel free to play around with the add – ons and ratios, just don’t flood the muffin cups 🙂

Can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days (Every busy person needs this!!)

It’d be great if you could invest in a non – stick muffin tray if liners are not available ( Who likes to scrape around after baking 😛 ) ( Easily available for less than 10$ )

 

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Tofu & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Back with another Broccoli delight 🙂 We absolutely love this dish when we are looking for some light and healthy meal. Stir fry has always been the time tested way to cook with less fat.  This can be easily recreated at your home kitchen with ur favorite veggies in case ur facing picky eaters 😛 Mushrooms, carrots, shrimp and Bell peppers make excellent additions to this…I mean, who doesn’t love a meal as colorful as this would turn out 🙂

You Will Need

tofu

Firstly, fry thinly sliced onions in 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil along with minced garlic for 2 mins in a large pan. I added some jeera too 🙂

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The extra firm Tofu works best for this.

**Look for the ” EXTRA FIRM TOFU ” on the package**

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I used the all natural Extra Firm Tofu available at all major supermarkets

My experiment with the regular Tofu  was all scrambled  by the end of it 😀 haha… *lesson learnt*

*Make sure you press the water out of the tofu block before you start cooking. Keep the block between paper towels and place a bowl on top of it. This will drain out the water from it.*

Prep the Tofu by cutting into evenly shaped cubes.

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Once the Onions are slightly fried, throw in the Tofu cubes. Cook Tofu until brown on all sides. I used up some left over BellPeppers here .. Let it cook for 10-15 mins before adding in the Broccoli florets. Fry well until the florets are cooked. Add 2 Tbsp of water to help the florets cook well.

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At this stage, add a dash of Soy sauce and stir until the Broccoli is coated well…Sprinkle some Chilli flakes, Salt and Pepper. Feel free to go creative with the seasoning here. Mix well and cook for a few minutes.

 

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VOILA !! Serve and Enjoy!

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If you liked this recipe, don’t forget to check out my other Broccoli recipes Easy Peasy Broccoli Tots

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Source : Cornell University, Food Psychology

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As I wander through “THE BREAKERS”

While I was at Rhode Island just for a day, with a seemingly endless list of things to do, I decided to visit THE BREAKERS. …Considering it to be by far, THE most magnificent mansions among the many at NewPort, what attracted me the most were the stunning vintage chandeliers, European style ceilings, beautifully themed rooms, Renaissance architecture and getting to hear the stories behind all of it…..Floored by its sheer beauty, THE BREAKERS  got me believe in fairy tales, all the more.

Lucky enough to be allowed to photograph the interiors of this ornate mansion to my heart’s content, sharing few of my hundreds-of-clicks 😉

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The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a member of the wealthy United States Vanderbilt family and President of NewYork Railroad system .

The Breakers is a Mansion located at NewPort, Rhode Island which is now operated and maintained by the Preservation Society.

 

 

The Great Hall  as I entered . . . 

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The kitchen : situated on the first floor  away from the main house to prevent the possibility of fires and cooking smells reaching the main parts of the house. An intercom system allowed the butler to direct the necessary servants to their needed locations.

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A typical day’s Menu

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 The Music room  was used for recitals and dances.  The room had a  ceiling lined with silver and gold with  inscription in French of song, music, harmony and melody.  Mr. Vanderbilt was known to play the violin and Mrs. Vanderbilt, the piano.

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Stairway built such that the ladies could step down in long gowns, with much ease.

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Miss Gertrude Vanderbilt’s Bedroom : Vanderbilt’s daughter who wished to be loved for her personality rather than her wealth, grew up to be an artist. She moved into the Breakers when she was 19. A portrait of her when she was 5 can be seen in her room.

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Mr. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom : The Master Bedroom has more memories of friends and family, though Mr. Vanderbilt lived only a year at this Mansion in good health  before he died of a stroke.

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Countess Szechenyi’s Bedroom – Designed in  simple elegance style, this room had ivory and cream colored design.

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There is something so lovely about the history and stories behind this 70 – Room – Mansion!!

The inside audio tour was highly detailed, giving enough time to take a tour of the mansion.  It is open on all  days of the week for public visit 🙂 If you ever find yourself wondering what you could do for the upcoming long weekend, I’d highly recommend a visit to the Newport Mansions.

 

 

 

Tri Color Spicy Egg Rice

Here I was, craving for something spicy this lazy chilly Friday evening.  That’s when  I made this fabulously flavourful spicy rice . Perfect meal to use up some leftovers!!  Feel free to add in chicken, Prawns, veggies, or any other proteins you like as well. This meal comes together very quickly once you start cooking, so make sure that your ingredients are prepped and ready before you turn on the heat!
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Step 1 : Heat Oil in a pan and fry garlic until golden brown. Add in chopped Spring Onions and fry for 2 mins. [ Reserve green portion of Spring Onions for garnish ]

Step 2 : Add tri Colored squarely chopped  BellPeppers and fry . Do not fry for too long as it tastes best when crunchy! Some other veggies which go well with this would be thinly sliced beans and cabbage. Note that these would take longer to cook 🙂

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Step 3 : At this stage, lower the flame and add 3-4 Tbsp of Schezwan sauce. This sauce can be made at home too.However, I used store bought Ching’s Secret Schezwan Sauce . Mix and cook on low flame for just a few mins. Can pour a teeny weeny  drizzle of Soya sauce as well ( Again, optional )

 

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Ching’s Schezwan Sauce

 

Step 4 : Break open eggs onto a separate heated pan smeared with oil , sprinkle some seasoning (Optional) 😉 I have added some Oregano, Salt and Pepper powder. Scramble and add along with the Bellpeppers.

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Step 5: To this, add cooked Rice + Salt and mix carefully. **USE COLD RICE ** 

Lastly, Garnish with some spring Onions aaaaaand you are good to gooo! 

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This spicy rice can turn out to be addictive!! There is just soo much flavour going around here…. Gotto taste this a couple of times to adjust the flavour!! Perfect for chilly winter evenings.

Oh yeah!! Did I mention, this took me just 15 mins to make?! It’s gonna be ready in no time!! Enjoy!

Until next post,

Stay Happy, Eat Healthy!!

Love,

Sam

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Nutritious Green Gram pancakes

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1 : Grind together – soaked Green gram and Rice, along with Ginger, Chilli, Asafoetida, Onion and Turmeric + some Water.

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Step 2: Transfer the contents to a large bowl . Add in cumin and salt, mix well. Add more water if needed. The mixture needs to be of just the right consistency!

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Step 3 : Heat half a spoon of oil in a non stick pan and pour a ladle of this mixture to form thick pancakes. I sprinkled some onions and chilli flakes on top just to make it more attractive 😉 Switch sides until evenly cooked on both sides.

Slightly press the onions with the back of ladle so your toppings don’t fall off :P.

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Serve with chutney or ketchup!!

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Recipe inspired from Pesarattu, a popular breakfast dosa variety from AndraPradesh 🙂 Came across this on my Aerobics instructor’s fitness blog  and decided to give it a try! This has made its way into our breakfast menu quite often now 🙂 

Quick. Easy and Guilt Free 🙂

P.S : Tastes best when freshly made. Recommend using the entire batter mixture for the same day 😉

Green gram is considered to be this superfood which keeps you feeling full for longer! Trust me! This works!!  If you’re having trouble losing weight because you feel too hungry whenever you cut back on calories, consider adding green gram to your diet. A 1-cup serving has 15 grams of fiber. Fiber in food fills you up and makes you feel satisfied.

 

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