Maui on a budget

I have wanted a dreamy Hawaiian vacation ever since I was a little girl. My mom was flipping through channels on the tv one day when I was quite young and paused on a commercial featuring the beautiful islands – I’ve been hooked since. I was lucky enough to go last year… the trip didn’t quite meet my ridiculously high expectations. Everything that could go wrong did. And I think part of my problem was that I did a ton of research on all of the cool things I wanted to see and do and made a crazy to keep schedule and ended up being disappointed when we didn’t get to do most things. This year was different, I had no real expectations other than a relaxing vacation and it turned out to be my favourite trip to date.

**Be warned. I had a super hard time sifting through the gagillion pictures we took and want to share a bunch with you – feel free to skim & scroll through if you’ve already been or aren’t really interested. But those of you who would like to go and don’t know much about the island of Maui, I am putting together a series of posts to help you plan a trip there. This post focuses on what to do while staying on a budget. I’ll do another post on a few things we did spend money on and of course there will be a post on Maui eats =D Stay tuned for these!

Flights to Maui

If you’re lucky like me and happen to live on the west coast, the flight isn’t so far and you can find deals. Alaskan Airlines frequently has seat sales and I kept my eye out and snagged some inexpensive seats. It also helps if you travel during the winter months as the peak and more expensive times to visit are spring and summer. And if you sign up for a mileage plan with the airline, you can take advantage of the Companion Fare Discount allowing you to take a friend on a flight for $99. I haven’t actually tried this out, but a friend swears by it.

Accommodations in Maui

I have talked about this before, but I’ll talk about it again. I seriously love using Airbnb. It is such a great service and is so much less expensive than booking a hotel. I’ve used it several times, have saved a ton and have never been disappointed. This time around, we rented an entire house for ourselves in the central part of the island, up in the mountains and loved every second of it. I compared the price we paid to hotels and we saved hundreds. I also picked a place in a town called Haiku, which is far enough away from the touristy areas and beaches that we got to experience true island life. It was quiet, relaxed bliss.

We spent our first afternoon & evening lounging around

Sunset from our lanai

Maui Sights

We had an easy time keeping a budget here. Many people I know told me of the really cool adventures in Hawaii, like taking a cruise around the island, scuba diving, zip lining, ATV’ing, etc. But we thought we would just drive around and find things on our own. And did we ever! I will mention that my friend Lizzie lent us her Maui Revealed book and it was a great thing to have with us so we knew where to go looking.

We started our adventure on the Road to Hana. It is a great day trip to drive along the coast and see some amazing sights.

My tips: Rent a compact car as the roads are super narrow and you have to negotiate with other drivers when it narrows to one lane. Bring some cash as a lot of places don’t take credit. Wear sunscreen! The sun is blazing hot. Bring lots of water as you dehydrate quickly. And be sure to bring some hand sanitizer as a lot of public washrooms don’t have soap. There are dozens of turnouts along the way so you can stop and explore & take pictures. If you miss one, don’t get discouraged, there are a lot and many have gorgeous views.

View from a bluff

Ching’s Pond

My hair shows the humidity by late morning ;p

Wai’anapanapa State Park Beach


The Seven Sacred Pools (part of Haleakala National Park)

Day 3 brought us to the Haleakala Crater. It’s a 10,000 foot elevation on a windy (but smooth!) road. It doesn’t take long to get up and the views are amazing. My tip – bring a *ton* of water and some snacks. I got symptoms of altitude sickness (nausea, headache, dizziness) and had to guzzle back a few bottles of water to feel ok. A full stomach really does help in this case. Budget-friendly tip: Save your receipt from this park or when you go to the Seven Sacred Pools. It’s a $10 entrance fee for the parks, but you can reuse it for up to 3 days within anything considered part of the park. So if you visit the crater and sacred pools within a few days of each other, you’ll only have to pay one entrance fee.

Nothing beats feeling like you’re up in the clouds…

Terry is smart with hat & sunglasses… I could have saved me some sunstroke :/

Day 4 lead us to the Iao Needle. Very picturesque with mountains and waterfalls all in one setting. And you can’t beat the $5 parking fee!

Although I don’t have any non-food pictures of a half day trip in Paia, I highly recommend it. It is a super cute little town with fun shops for souvenir buying. Check out several stores before committing to your purchases as you may find the same item cheaper elsewhere. It was one of my favourite things we did.

We also checked out a town party in Makawao, which was free. They had local artists set up with handcrafts and food trucks with inexpensive food. It was a fun night!

That’s it for the sights on a budget. Stay tuned for Maui food and ways to spend money.

Healthy Vegan Friday #40

Happy, happy Friday to you! I hope you are gearing up for a fantastic weekend full of friend, fun & food =)

Let’s kick off this weekend by sharing our delicious plant-based recipes!

Are you new to HVF? All of the info you need is a click away.

But first, let’s check out some good eats from last week.

Paleo Pizza from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes:

Oh a girl after my own heart! Pizza is probably my all time fav food and I’m always on the lookout for a healthier way of enjoying it. I normally just resort to using rice wraps, but it’s kinda boring and usually falls apart. This crust sounds so good! I’m curious to see if it could be dehydrated for a rawsome pizza. Either way – sounds totally delicious!

Chunky Apple Walnut Almond Butter Protein Oats from Urban Naturale:

I seriously cannot get enough of Deborah’s awesome-sauce breakfasts. I think I just need to head on over to her kitchen table every morning ;p I love a good smoothie in the morning, but this sounds like the breakfast I need after a hardcore bootcamp workout. I think this will make it’s way to my tummy this weekend!

Sloppy Lentils from Nachos for Breakfast:

I never had Sloppy Joe’s in my pre-vegan days, but these lentils sound way better! I totally love that this is a slow cooker recipe too – minimal prep time involved! I’m really digging the roasted brussels sprouts on the side too – my fav side veggie. Yum!

This week, I’m sharing with you my healthy version of nachos – Nacho Noodles:

I look forward to see what you guys share this week! I’m gearing up for Easter Weekend next weekend – I need some ideas. Link on up and don’t forget to link back =)


Can’t get enough HVF love? Check it out on Facebook & Pinterest.

 

Spaghetti Squash Nacho Noodles

Nachos are such a great food! But I’m not a huge fan of the feeling I get after eating them, especially with corn chips. Corn chips and I don’t really get along. I think it’s the acidity… and the fact that they are deep fried just makes things worse for my stomach. Ick. I normally just stick to a nice burrito bowl. But was super intrigued to give nachos a try when I saw this at the store:

Beyond Meat came out with came out with some “beef” crumbles. I was intrigued as I generally stay away from soy and don’t have gluten… which avoids every current taco-like crumble on the market. But these are soy free, gluten-free, vegan (of course) and non-gmo. And they are packed with protein! Not to mention delicious.

There are a few different steps with this, but it can come together in about an hour and a half. Not much prep time, just a lot of spaghetti squash cooking time. If you make the cheeze sauce ahead of time, it makes things go much more quickly.

Spaghetti Squash Nacho Noodles (serves 2)

1 small spaghetti squash

1  cup of Beyond Meat crumbles

1 red pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped

2 handfuls of spinach, chopped

*See below for Nacho Cheeze Sauce & Enchilada Sauce.

Start cooking your squash. Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place it in a glass dish filled with a bit of water and cook for about an hour. Start making the nacho cheeze once the squash is cooking.

When there is only about 30 minutes left to cook the squash, start chopping your veggies and make your enchilada sauce. Heat a wok on medium heat and once hot, add a bit of oil and cook the “beef” crumbles for 5-7 minutes (according to package directions). Once cooked, set aside, but keep your wok on medium heat and add the bell & jalapeño peppers. Once they are soft, add the spinach and the enchilada sauce and sautée until the spinach wilts a bit.

Once the squash is cooked, rake it with a fork and scoop out the stringy spaghetti noodles. Now it’s time to make your nacho noodle plate. Start by spooning the noodles on your plate first, then the enchilada veggies, “beef” crumbles and some of the nacho cheeze stuff (I did 2 tbsp per plate). I finished it off by adding some of the fresh, chopped tomato. I stopped here, but I think it would be great to add some vegan sour cream or guac and some fresh cilantro.

Nacho Cheeze Sauce (this makes a lot for leftovers, great as a kale chip sauce!)

1 cup of cashews, soaked 4-8 hours

1 red bell pepper

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp each of paprika, chili powder, salt

the juice of 1/4 of a lime

a pinch of cayenne

a splash of liquid smoke (optional)

Drain the cashews and put all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Enchilada Sauce (just enough for 2 nacho noodle plates)

2 tbsp of tomato paste

1 tbsp of warm water

Stir the water & paste up and then add whatever spices you have on hand that would go well with this. I added a dash of garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cayenne & coriander.

Out of Office Notification

I haven’t worked in awhile, but I sometimes used to forget to put my “Out of Office” notification on before going on vacay. I wish I could rig gmail to tell people I’m away and will respond when I return. If I return… I’m writing this post in advance because as you are reading this, there is a good chance I am laying on a beach somewhere soaking up sunshine and the smell of the ocean and feeling completely & utterly relaxed.

Can you guess where I am?

It rhymes with “Wowee!”

Well, I’ll leave you with that cute hint and will catch you when I get back and spam you with all of my vacation pics. And of course let you know all of the cool vegan eats I have so you can plan accordingly if you ever go there.

Mahalo!

Healthy Vegan Friday #39

Happy happy Friday! And happy first day of Spring!!!
“You make me feel so young… you make me feel so spring has sprung…”

Spring has definitely sprung over here in Northern California. To my Canuck friends, I truly hope that it is just around the corner from you. Here are some sightings from this past week on walks with my pup:

Sunny definitely enjoys stopping to smell the flowers:

And now… on to HVF!

It’s that time again where we share all of our delicious plant-based recipes. New to HVF? Check out the info here.

But first, let’s check out what you liked last week!

Pizza Pancakes from Vie de la Vegan:

I’ll admit that I generally do not have savoury breakfasts, but this just sounds too good to pass up. What a way to break that breakfast funk!

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes:

I love the sound of this energizing smoothie. I like the tasty twist of kiwi =)

The Joy of Juicing: Blackberry Beet Juice from Urban Naturale:

This juice sounds totally refreshing! And not only does this post have the recipe for this gorgeous looking smoothie, but Deborah has shared several thirst quenching juice recipes and tips and tricks.

I was a little late with the St. Patrick’s Day theme this year and this week I’m sharing my Spirulina Snackies:

I hope you have all had a great week! Had some fun St. Patrick’s Day activities and are gearing up for Spring. Today is the first day! Here’s to flowers and greenery and warm weather!

Link on up! Don’t forget to link back.



Have a super fantastic weekend!

Haven’t had enough fun yet? Check out HVF on Facebook and Pinterest.

Girl Scout Cookie Potluck

Oh yes, this happened. If you haven’t yet joined a vegan meetup group in your area, I suggest you do so pronto so you can have fun get together filled with delicious cookies like this! I am the organizer of a vegan group in the San Francisco Bay Area and it is so much fun. Robin and I try and come up with unique things to do with the group. It’s usually food-related, but we also go for hikes, roller skating and dance parties. I really like hiking and dancing and Robin is really good at coming up with distinctive parties, like our Nightmare Before Christmas Party. We also just had a cupcake party.  My favourite to date was our tea party.

This time round we had a Girl Scout Cookie Exchange. Robin was recently talking about Girl Scout Cookies and I told her that I had never had one. Her jaw just about dropped to the floor and she said that needed to be corrected asap! So we set up the meetup and asked everyone to make a vegan version of a girl scout cookie.

We had Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies:

Lemon Pastry Creams:

and Kookaburras:

Robin made Samaos:

And I tried my hand at making vegan & gluten free Thin Mints:

You can find the recipe here. They didn’t turn out very thin, but I have never tried the original. I LOVED the way these turned out. It was my first time making gluten-free cookies and have them turn out so well. They were delicious. And so simple to make! I didn’t temper the chocolate and they still turned out well.

We had the cookie party on π day, so we also had some pie to celebrate. I made a raw pie, but forgot to take pictures. Hope you had a fun weekend and enjoyed some delicious pie =)

What fun potlucks have you been to recently?

Six Ingredient Spirulina Snackies

Happy almost St. Patrick’s Day!!

I know this recipe is getting to you a little late, but better late than never, right?

I wanted to make something green. I had high hopes of making a green-themed pie last week to celebrate π day and St. Patrick’s Day, but alas, it didn’t work out. You can however check out my delicious pie from last year. I made some snackies instead.

My first edition of Snacky Balls were so popular that I’ve made a few different versions over the years. They are quick and easy to make and you really can make them any way that you like – they are versatile tiny treats!

Spirulina Snackies (makes 12 tiny treats)

1/4 cup of hazelnuts (any nut/seed will work)

1/4 cup of oats

2 dates (I would have used more, that’s all I had on hand!)

2 tbsp of maple syrup

1 tsp of shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/2 tsp of spirulina powder (use less if you are not used to the taste as it is a bit of an acquired taste)

Throw the nuts and oats in your food processor and process until everything looks well broken down. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Scoop out the mixture by the teaspoon-full and roll into cute, little balls. Refrigerate until ready to snack.

I’m not a green beer kinda gal, but I’m sure I’ll have a nice homemade thick, green shake tomorrow =) Have a fun St. Patrick’s Day!

Healthy Vegan Friday #38

Good morning! I am hoping to see some St. Patrick’s Day recipes next week! This week too if you have them =) Mine isn’t quite ready yet, I’ll have one for next week. Regardless of what you have – I look forward to your recipes this week!

New to HVF? Check out the info here.

You guys had great submissions last week – let’s check out your favs.

Avocado Raw Cashew Dip from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes:

Oh I am a huge dip lover. I love guacamole and I’ve made a million variations on cashew dip, but have never thought of combining avocados and cashews for dip. Sounds like a perfect companion to my favourite rice crackers =)

Panch Phoran Tomato Dip from Yes, I am Vegan:

I have never heard of a dip like this before, it’s very unique sounding and I’ll be sure to include some new spices to my grocery list so I can try it out soon. I especially love the sound of having it with a savoury crepe!

And you guys liked my Carrot Cupcakes =)

Honourable mentions goes to these Almond Chocolate Breakfast Cookies from Ex Sloth:

I made these for breakfast this morning to pair with a green smoothie after a killer workout and they are awesome! Totally felt like I was having dessert for breakfast without the guilt =) Check ‘em out – they are so easy to make!

This week, in tribute to orange season (well, here at least), I’m sharing my Orange Delicious Citrus Smoothie:

I didn’t get a chance to try any of your awesome sauce recipes from last week, I’ll try harder this week =)

Link your recipes up here and don’t forget to link back! Next week, try to share something green! Ooh or a pie! Next Saturday is Pi Day. Maybe a green pie? haha


Don’t forget to check HVF out on Facebook & Pinterest.

Orange Delicious Citrus Smoothie

It’s orange season here! We’ve been really loading up on the citrus. My favourite is actually satsuma mandarins. They taste like candy to me – sweet & sour. Perfect combo =) Terry is more of a blood orange guy. I prefer regular oranges myself, but really like any kind of orange.

I came home one night to him making himself a smoothie. It looked *SO* good. It had lots of great stuff in it like pineapple and banana and looked like citrus heaven in a glass. Then he told me it had coconut rum in it. Yuck :( I don’t like the taste of alcohol in any form. So I watched him drink and schemed about breakfast the following morning.

It wasn’t very hard to concoct a delicious way to start the day.

I had just come in from a workout and started piling things into the blender. I was not disappointed. Terry even had some and may have smacked his lips in contentment ;)

Orange Delicious Citrus (makes 2 generous smoothies)

2 blood oranges (regular oranges work too!)

2 bananas

3/4 cup of frozen pineapple

1/4 cup of frozen raspberries

1.5 cups of coconut milk

1/2 cup of coconut water

2 tbsp of shredded, unsweetened coconut

2 tbsp of hemp seeds

Blend and enjoy!

Oh, btw – Sunny says hi =)

I’m sharing this smoothie with my fav blog hops: Healthy Vegan Fridays & Plant Based Potluck Party

Dinner in the City

I first heard of Millennium restaurant in San Francisco before I even moved to Northern California. Alicia Silverstone talked about it on her blog and I was so excited to try it out. I had tried it out a couple of times actually, but Terry and I decided to make the final trek when we heard they were closing their doors April 30th of this year. We had a celebration to enjoy after all. Friday was our 16-year dating anniversary =) I know… who celebrates dating anniversaries anyway? Well… we do! Especially since we were dating for like a million years (or in actuality 7) before finally getting married. I didn’t want to start from scratch with the wedding anniversary. So we celebrate both. That generally means a nice dinner out and we don’t tend to go super fancy places as I’m happy enough going to the Whole Foods hot bar haha. But it was a great night! My apologies in advance for the terrible picture quality. I didn’t bring my camera and my phone doesn’t take great pics in dim-lighted places. We started off with roasted fingerling potatoes and made our way to the entrées.

Brok Pastry Purse

 

Achiote-Grilled Portobello Mushroom

 We were pretty full… but not too full for dessert!

Lemon Curd Tartelette and Chocolate Almond Midnight

The food was even better than we remembered. Just amazing =) There really isn’t anything else like it in our area and I was sad that it would be the last time I would experience such excellent food. Fortunately, they are relocating to Oakland and opening up mid-June. *phew*

Happy 16-year dating anniversary to my awesome-sauce husband!

What’s your favourite fancy restaurant?

Powered by WordPress