The Art of Aquaponics

Hey, everyone!  Yoko here!  As I was flying to the credit union today, I noticed that almost all the houses I passed had some sort of vegetable or fruit garden growing in their yards.  Some gardens looked different from your typical garden, and I remember Kalea telling me about them before.  He called those gardens “aquaponics”.  I couldn’t remember what else he said about them, so once I got home, I decided to do some research.  Here is what I found about aquaponics:

Aquaponics, simply put, utilizes fish waste instead of soil to grow crops.  It’s a method that has been used for centuries; evidence of these methods were found in various parts of Asia and as far as ancient Aztec civilization.  The aquaponics that we know today uses a closed system of tanks, tubes, and pumps to cultivate both fish and crops.  It doesn’t require a lot of room, and some systems can be stackable.  Whether you live in an apartment or plan to build a system in your yard, anyone can do this anywhere!  The aquaponics system sustains itself with little effort on your part.  Once your system is running and stable, all you really need to do is make sure the fish are fed regularly.

 

Here’s how it works:

aquaponics

I learned that most vegetables can grow in an aquaponics system.  Some of the easier ones to grow are salad greens, such as lettuce, spinach, and kale.  Bok choy, watercress, and even tomatoes grow well too.  This is really great because Kalea and I love eating all types of veggies!

As for fish, if you plan on cultivating fish for the dinner table, many local aquaponics growers use tilapia.  They are a sturdy fish that is raised practically all over the world, and they’re delicious too!  Other fish used around the world include trout, catfish, perch, and bass.

Not planning to eat the fish or want to utilize the fish you already have in your tank?  Goldfish, guppies, tetras, pacu, oscars, and other tropical and ornamental fish can be used in your aquaponics system too!

All of this reading up on aquaponics really makes me want to try it out for myself.  My garden will look great next to my hot tub!  Feel free to share your experiences with an aquaponics system.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll be able to share some of mine too!

Game Day Wing Recipes

Yoko-Kalea-Football-WingsThis weekend and next are going to be HUUGE for football fans around the nation, Yoko and myself included.

Not only are we lucky to witness the ProBowl once again at Aloha Stadium this Sunday, but next Sunday will be the long awaited SUPERBOWL 50!

Yoko and I are definitely going to watch both games.  And what’s a football game without food?  Not just any food, I’m talking about chicken wings!

Did you know that more than a billion chicken wings are consumed during every SuperBowl weekend?  That’s a lot of wings!

You can expect all the chicken joints to be super busy on the ‘Bowl days, so Yoko and I are sharing our favorite, WINNING recipes from www.RachaelRayMag.com:

Baked Buffalo Queso Fresco Wings
(Raechel Ray)

iStock_000017156614_Large

Ingredients:
3 lbs chicken wings, joints separated, tips discarded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot sauce
Celery Sticks
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Sliced Scallions

Directions:
1.  Arrange wings on baking sheet and season with salt
2.  Broil on top rack of oven, turning once, until skin is golden-brown, 25 minutes
3.  Transfer wings and pan juices to bowl.  Toss wings with hot sauce and crumble queso fresco and scallions
4.  Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.  Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet & Lemony Wings
(Raechel Ray)

Spicy Chicken Wings

Ingredients:
3 lbs chicken wings, joints separated, tips discarded
2 quarts vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (such as parsley, oregano and thyme)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  
In a large bowl, combine juice and zest lemons, fresh chopped herbs, honey, and crushed red pepper

2.  Let the chicken wings sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the oil until the temperature registers at 300 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer, about 5 minutes

3.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.  Season the wings with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then toss in the flour to coat.  Add half of the wings to the oil, partially cover the pan and fry, turning occasionally with tongs, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet; blot with paper towels, then discard the towels.  Keep the first batch of wings warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining wings.

4.  Toss the wings in the lemon dressing to coat

5.  Serve and enjoy!

 

Try them out and let us know what you think!  Enjoy the games, and stay safe!

-Kalea

 

My Favorite Time of Year

It’s the most wonderful tiiime of the yeeear…
shakasantaCan you believe that Christmas is already tomorrow?  I am so excited for all the Christmas festivities like opening presents, eating food, and most importantly, spending time with loved ones!

Christmas is my most favorite holiday.  Back in the day, Mama Ladybug would always take my siblings and I to Honolulu Hale to see Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele hanging out by the fountain with their friends.  It is a tradition that I cherish and still practice to this day.

This year, Kalea and I got our Christmas tree early.  Every year, tons of Christmas trees get imported from the mainland just in time for the holiday season.  But did you know that some trees don’t need to be imported?  The main Hawaiian islands all grow the Norfolk Island Pine trees and the Cook Pine trees.  Although mainly used as lumber trees and for reforestation, some local farms do use these as Christmas trees as well!

Finding out about the local Christmas trees had me wondering what else I didn’t know about Christmas.  Here are a few fun facts that Kalea and I discovered:

  • It takes an average of 7 years to grow a Christmas tree, some up to 15 years!
  • For every tree that is harvested, 2 to 3 trees are planted in its place
  • The Poinsettia is a traditional Christmas plant that originated from Mexico. They are especially popular here in Hawaii!
  • Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) is actually not the busiest shopping day. What is?  The Friday and Saturday before Christmas!
  • Before there were fancy and colorful ornaments, Christmas trees were traditionally decorated with foods such as apples and nuts.
  • If you received every gift from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you would have a total of 364 gifts. That’s a gift a day for a year!
  • Caroling started as an old English tradition that was originally called wassailing, which was a toast to a long life.
  • Before Christmas was introduced to the Hawaiians, they celebrated a 4-month long tradition called Makahiki, which was a peaceful time of feasting and games. War was prohibited during this time.

Christmas may be my favorite holiday, but there was still so much that I learned about it!

Well, now it’s time for me to water the poinsettias and practice my wassailing for tonight.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Mele Kalikimaka!

-Yoko

Fun Facts of Halloween

Spooky silhouette of a tree against a large moon in a night sky

Halloween is just around the corner!  It’s one of Yoko’s favorite holidays and my all-time favorite of the year.  I can’t wait to dress up and eat all the candy!

Ever since I was a little honu, Halloween has always been super fun.  Every year, we go to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern.  We also dress up as our favorite characters and eat a bunch of sweets.  Now, there are even a bunch of spooky events to attend in the spirit of Halloween. Have you been to the Haunted Plantation or the Haunted Maze yet?

It wasn’t always like this though. Halloween has been celebrated for centuries all over the world and has gone through quite a few changes to become what it is today.

Here are 5 interesting Halloween facts that Yoko and I discovered:

  • In many different cultures, October 31st represented the end of summer and the start of the harvest season
  • Halloween was first introduced in America by Irish and Scottish immigrants. This was during the late 18th to early 19th centuries
  • Trick-or-treating only started to become popular in the United States during the 1930’s
  • Before there was chocolate and candy, children received fruits, nuts, and even coins!
  • The first Jack-o-Lanterns were actually carved from turnips and were named after an Irish legend of a man named “Stingy Jack”

There were so many more interesting things that we learned about Halloween, and you can read more about them here.

Now that our history lesson is over, we are ready to dress up and hit the town for some candy!

Have fun, and stay safe.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

-Kalea

Weathering the Storm

Hey, everyone, Kalea here!  Have you all been staying safe and dry this week?  Monday was quite a day for Yoko and me, as I am sure it has been for a lot of you too!  Tropical Storm Kilo passed below our islands and left behind a downpour of rain on Monday and a little on Tuesday too.  Some places even got flooded or lost power!  Thankfully, Yoko and I were prepared and equipped ourselves with raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas.
yoko_kalea_rain

Did you know that during this hurricane season alone, the Pacific has had more than 10 different hurricane/storm systems?  That is a lot!  Have you ever wondered how they keep track of them all?

Well, the National Hurricane Center actually has multiple, alphabetical lists of names that are already picked out and cycled through to last for 6 years.  Then the list is reused again and again.  Have you ever noticed that a lot of the Pacific storms have Hawaiian names?  That’s because the National Hurricane Center has different lists, depending on the location of the storm.  The Pacific has its own set of lists as does the Atlantic.  They even have a list of retired hurricane names!

So, why do they name the storm systems?  Simply put, it is to better keep track of the storms.  Instead of using their formal name (which includes their latitude-longitude and can be confusing), they use simple names that are easy to remember.  It’s very helpful, especially if there is more than one storm going on at the same time!

Kilo may be far away from us now, but the hurricane season is not over.  Tropical Storm Ignacio is just around the corner, so be sure to take any necessary precautions to prepare.  Stay safe, everyone!

Aloha,

Kalea

Tagged , , , ,

Cool Summer Salad – SOMEN

Octopus

Happy Birthday America! Imagine being 239 years old. That begs for a celebration for sure. This holiday weekend we had lots of grilling, marinating, chilling and freezing. It is such a production but when you see satisfaction and delight on everyone’s faces as they partake in the feast – it all feels worth the work.

These past few weeks it has been extremely hot. In planning for the 4th we knew we would have to have some cold dishes. Yes, cold watermelon, cold potato salad or cold desserts are good but nothing like cool somen noodles.

Here in Hawaii we love our noodle dishes. I don’t think any party, buffet or plate lunch house doesn’t have some type of noodle dish. As a young girl I fancied vinegar. Shoyu, sugar and vinegar was a go to mix for vine ripened mango and guava. At an aunts house I tried somen salad and I was in love. However as I grew up I quickly found out that not all somen’s were made equal. I’ve tried many recipes, pre-made bottle sauces and non-compared to aunty’s sauce. This is a winner, tried and true potluck dish you would want to share.

Ingredients:

2 Bundles somen noodles

½ Lettuce head sliced julienne style

You can also chop your veggies!

Cooked Meat sliced julienne style (Char siu, ham, spam, luncheon meat)

2 Cooked scrambled egg sliced julienne style

1 Kamaboku sliced julienne style

2 Carrots sliced julienne style

1 Cucumber sliced julienne style

Green Onions chopped (enough to sprinkle as garnish)

Toasted Sesame Seeds (enough to sprinkle as garnish)

Sauce

Individual serving cups with chiso or lettuce cups

You can also try individual serving cups with chiso leaves or lettuce cups.

1 T oil

2 T sesame oil

¼ C vinegar

½ C sugar

½ C shoyu

Directions:

Boil noodles according to package instructions. Drain. Rinse until cool. Drain well. Grab a serving of noodles (fist size) and twirl into a ball. Continue to make single serving balls to cover the bottom of a large platter. Layer vegetables, meat and egg over the noodles. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Combine ingredients for the sauce. Mix well. Allow guests to put their own sauce.

Variations:

Vegetables are normally in this order: Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, meat, eggs and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

I’ve made it where each topping item was in a separate dish where guests could make their own.

I’ve tossed the entire dish together with the sauce. I do it this way only when I know I will not keep the leftovers or there will be no leftovers. Noodles sitting in sauce over night is not good. It gets mushy and spoiled fast.

My favorite is to make a pretty design. Lettuce is key. You can never have enough lettuce, so I sometimes layer the lettuce like a hedge around the dish covering half of the noodle surface. I then place the vegetables strategically such as a row of cucumbers, a row of carrots, a row of kamaboko, row of egg, row of meat and repeat until the entire surface is covered. Then sprinkle the garnish.

Another favorite topping is ocean salad. I love the crunch and salt that it brings to the dish. Just beware that your noodles will turn green wherever the salad is sitting. If your guests are familiar with ocean salad – no big deal. If not, you may want to leave on the side so they can add as garnish.

Noodles do not have to be twirled into a ball. I do that because the noodles can be a little sticky and it helps when guests serve themselves. It also gives me a good idea of how many servings I have.

I also like serving the noodles in a large glass bowl. I can quickly tell if too much water has settled from the vegetables and if too much sauce is sitting on the bottom.

The sauce, if served separately works well in a salad shaker bottle or condiment bottle where it can be shaken before application. The oils will separate and you will need to give it a nice shake.

I also double the dressing recipe. If you toss the salad yourself – the ratio is perfect. However, when guests serve themselves they tend to use more. It is so delicious that they just can’t help themselves!

Enjoy ♥

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yummy Summertime

barbeque pork ribs

barbeque pork ribs

When you think of summer – it always conjures up playfulness and fun! When attending school I always looked forward to summer break. It was pure bliss to hang out on the beach, at home or with friends. It was a time to be a kid. We played outside from sun-up to sun-down and we weren’t bogged down with homework and getting to bed by 8pm. As an adult, summer is also something to look forward to. Less to no traffic in the morning commute, family trips and summer food. Yes, summer food. This time of the year we get sweet local mangoes and lychee. In the stores the oranges, strawberries, cherries and melons are sweeter. The corn is fresher and the peas are crispier.

All this talk about food is making me hungry. In fact I smell something delicious. Ah, it’s Kalea eating ribs! Fall off the bone baby back ribs was a treat at the family bbq and it would accompany the local favorites of Korean chicken, somen salad, baked beans, steak, macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, baked salmon and more.

As Yoko is more interested in the fresh fruits and Kalea is more interested in eating – I’ll give you a family recipe for fall off the bone ribs that has been around for three generations. Enjoy!kalea

4 lbs Bone in Spareribs

Boil ribs 1 hr with 3 inch crushed ginger

Marinate  Overnight

  • 1 C Ketchup
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 C Shoyu
  • 1/3 C Oyster Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brown ribs for 20 minutes flipping the ribs once or fire up the grill and brown the ribs making sure the internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

2014 School Tools Recap

On Saturday, June 28th, a group of HiTel FCU employees rounded up to help out at the School Tools Drive at the Pearl City Sam’s Club. Our volunteers partnered up with staff from Helping Hands Hawaii and KITV to collect generous donations from shoppers as they were entering and exiting. Both Yoko and Kalea made a special appearance to meet and greet shoppers alike. Collectively over the weekend, according to KITV, we all raised $7,343! We would like to thank everyone who generously donated supplies, money and their time.

To view more photos from the event, visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/hitelfcu

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Globetrotters Honolulu

The famous Harlem Globetrotters entertained people of all ages at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Saturday, April 26th.  It was a day full of pre-game festivities followed by a delightful exhibition game.  When the doors first opened, HiTel FCU had a table set up for a drawing to win two side line tickets, and the lucky winners were announced just minutes before the game.

Both our athletic mascots took the court as they were announced as “Honorary Globetrotters Team Captains!”  Yoko and Kalea received a certificate of appreciation and had a paparazzi photo shoot with some key members including players, coaches, and their mascot Globbie.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ESPN 1420 Sports Festival

On Saturday, June 29, HiTel FCU employees were on hand at the 3rd annual ESPN 1420 Sports Fest at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. This action-packed event spotlighted the latest and greatest in sports and fitness products, featured autograph sessions by local celebrity athletes, a wrestling exhibition, food, games and more.

Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union employees were there to promote “financial fitness” and to let patrons know how good a Credit Union can be for one’s pocketbook. HiTel FCU’s very own loveable mascots, Yoko and Kalea, delighted keiki of all ages who flocked over to get their pictures taken.

The event was well-attended, and HiTel FCU staff had a grand time giving out prizes to the lucky spinners of our prize wheel and increasing public awareness of HiTel FCU’s wonderful products and services. Mahalo to all Credit Union members (and there were quite a few of you!) who stopped by the booth!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.