Archive for ‘local’

March 3, 2012

Happy Girls’ Day!

Happy Hina Matsuri! Today, I hope you take a few moments to recognize the incredible contributions of the females in your life.

quote wall frame proverbs 31-25 bible verse she is clothed in strength

Last year I made carrot cake cookies on Girls’ Day. 

This year, being hapai has given me a different appreciation for [a] being a girl and [b] the girls in my life (because I just may be carrying a girl…).  I’ve been feeling the urge to connect to my ancestors a lot lately, so it just seemed appropriate this year to make something a bit more traditional to celebrate Hina Matsuri. 

The irony is that I won’t eat this recipe myself, as it’s chalk-full of white rice flour, white sugar, and even food coloring.  Nonetheless, traditions aren’t always healthy (and moderation is key!).  Plus, I’ve learned over the years that giving is much more rewarding than receiving, and the recipients of this chi chi dango recipe definitely appreciated it! 

Chi chi dango is a local sweet rice treat that is popular especially around Girls’ Day.  When I was a kid in school, someone would always bring homemade chi chi dango wrapped individually in wax paper for the class.  I decided to make a batch for Mr. Ben’s classroom as well as for a non-profit today. 


Chi Chi Dango



  • 3 1/2 c mochiko flour
  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • potato/corn starch


  • 1 [13.5oz] can coconut milk
  • 2 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • food coloring [optional – pink + green are most often used]


Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9×13’’ baking pan with parchment paper or grease.

In a mixing bowl, whisk or sift all the dry ingredients together.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients except food coloring.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet slowly while continuing to whisk, being sure to keep the mixture smooth [you don’t want any lumps]. 

Now stir in your food coloring [if using]. 

Pour the mixture into the baking pan.


[I made one batch with two colors for the kiddos.]

Cover tightly with foil [this is very important!] and bake for 1 hour. 

Sprinkle starch over top of the mochi as soon as it comes out of the oven [to keep from hardening], and allow the chi chi dango to cool completely before placing it on a starched cutting board and using a plastic knife to cut it into pieces. 


Dust off as much starch as possible and wrap individual pieces in wax paper, twisting the ends to keep everything closed. 

Enjoy!  [Don’t let the little girls eat too many of these at once or their little heads may explode from sugar.]


Yesterday, Ben and I spent our evening together covered in starch, cutting and wrapping three batches of these goodies[green, white, and pink] for Women Helping Women’s Big Hina Matsuri Sale today.  If you’re around Kahului, go check out the awesome sales at ReVive Boutique happening all day!  And as a bonus, pick up some chi chi dango. Winking smile 

Cheers to all the girls out there!  May we never forget just how powerful and beautiful we truly are. 

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

December 2, 2011

Snipbits from Thanksgiving

Just like last year, my family geared up to spend Thanksgiving with my brother Darren on the island of Hawai`i. 

We all had a blast with the randomness of last year [our feast featured a humungous fresh-caught mahi mahi rather than turkey], and this year was no disappointment either. 

I didn’t get many photos this year, as I spent most of my time feeling fatigued, grouchy, and dealing with the ebbs and flows of nausea, but I did want to post a few shots of the things I did capture. 

We relaxed, caught up, and played games. 

Mexican Train dominoes was our game of choice over the long weekend, but we also bellied up for a game of Bean Boozled, which is sort of like Fear Factor with jelly beans.  Everyone picks a white/yellow bean and chews; some people get buttered popcorn and others get rotten egg.  There were about ten different combinations.  I obviously did not partake in many flavors… although I do have to say that the toothpaste flavor really tastes like toothpaste! 


We hiked. 

Hawai`i island is massive in comparison to the other islands, as is the vast beauty there.  The trees on the east side are all lush and humungous, and they actually have wide rivers, whereas Maui just has streams.  Exploring there, especially on the east side, is so much fun because there is so much variety and everything is just so beautiful. 



[Waipi`o Valley]


[Umauma Falls]


[Lava Tree Park]

We drove to the north side of the island. 

Last year we spent our entire long weekend on the east and south sides of Hawai`i, so we were determined to venture north this year.  We hit Waimea and then headed up to see the heiau at Pu`uhokola. 


[Beer tasting at Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea]


[Pu`ukohola heiau]

We goofed off. 

Everything is fun when you’re surrounded by good people!  We checked out the astronomy center in Hilo town and went bowling at Hilo Lanes, since we can’t do either on Maui. 


[3D movie at `Imiloa Astronomy Center / Bowling at Hilo Lanes]

Most of all, it was just nice to be on vacation with each other.  My brother is preparing to make a big move soon, so it was meaningful for all of us to be able to be close to him for support.  Family time means the world to me!

Alright, I’ve got a TurboKick class to teach, followed by some seriously overdue studying for finals.  I hope I make it through today because the reward tonight will be so worth it – watching my Oregon Ducks take the Pac-12 Championship title!  Smile

Have a beautiful day, friends!


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