Dining Outside the Home: Chip-Wrecked Da Kine Nachos in Poipu, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Chip-Wrecked Da Kine Nachos in Poipu, Kauai! Ever wonder why we love nachos so much? Might it be the crunch of crispy tortilla chips smothered in a lava flow of melted cheese? Or possibly the mountain of tender spicy meat engulfed in shredded veggies and fresh fruit? Chip Wrecked takes you on a voyage for your bellies. Their secret? I’m told it’s the homemade flour tortilla chips individually dipped into a vat of five gooey cheeses to give your tastebuds explosive flavor in every bite. After all, naked chips are pretty dull. Check out the Black Pearl, Castaway, S.S. Minnow, Hurricane, or Mermaid with Avocado. Aargh! Be brave, mate! Add on the Lilikoi Passion Fruit Habanero sauce for good measure. It’ll make a landlubber out of you!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: “Quazy” Carrot Cake!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Quazy Carrot Cake! “What’s up, Doc?” is something we’ve all heard Bugs Bunny say more than once. You may find yourself asking the same question when you take a bite of this tasty version of Carrot Cake. It’s loaded with fresh carrots, pineapple tidbits, and chopped pecans. The crowning moment comes when you smack your lips together over the wonderful cream cheese icing. I have seen expressions of jubilation over this award-winning dessert. Treat yourself to something special this weekend.



2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

3 cups carrots, grated

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup pecans, chopped

Ingredients for Icing:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x13″ pan with nonstick oil. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Transfer to baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and Neufchâtel cheese. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. When cake is cool, top with cream cheese icing. Garnish with a pecan half.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter P

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Pina Colada Pie! Sometimes it’s necessary to serve your guests a dessert low in sugar. This one is perfect because it boasts tropical flavor with enough fruity sweetness to satisfy that sugar craving which follows at the end of a meal. Please note you may substitute a sugar-free graham cracker crust for the homemade cookie crust. 
Ingredients for Homemade Cookie Crust:

2 cups Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies, crushed

1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix crushed shortbread cookies and melted butter. Press crumb mixture into a pie plate sprayed with nonstick oil. Bake 10 minutes. Cool before filling. 
Ingredients for Filling:

2 8-ounce blocks of Neufchâtel cheese

1 small box Sugar Free/Fat Free Lemon Jello

1 small box Sugar Free/Fat Free Vanilla Instant Pudding 

4-ounce of Lite Cool Whip

1 8-ounce can crushed Pineapple in Natural Juices, do not drain

1 teaspoon Coconut flavor

Soften Neufchâtel cheese and add other ingredients. Stir until well blended. Pour into pie crust and chill for several hours or overnight. 
*Garnish: Toast 1/2 cup flake coconut in 350° oven for 4 minutes. Watch! Set aside to cool. Fresh strawberries also make an appealing garnish. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter O

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Overstuffed Pineapple Boat! If you’re looking for the WOW-factor for the next social gathering, bookmark this recipe for a standing ovation. It’s that good! Not only does it satisfy the meat and seafood lover in all of us, it also has “healthy” written all over it. You gotta admit, the pineapple presentation is a show-stopper. And the best part is, with a little planning, anyone can pull it off. 

1 whole ripe pineapple 

1 pound frozen cooked shrimp; thawed, tails removed

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Chesapeake Bay Style seafood seasoning 

1/4 teaspoon dill

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 cup butter

1 cup instant rice, brown or white

1 1/2 cups fine home style noodles

10-ounce can chunk chicken breast, drained

14-ounce chicken broth

4 green onions, chopped

8-ounce can of slivered water chestnuts, drained

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup soybean seasoning sauce

Cut pineapple lengthwise; cut around the inside, following the edge to create a “boat”. Do not pierce the underside. Cut the pineapple flesh into chunks. Scoop out and place in a bowl. Set pineapple aside. In a deep skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add seafood seasoning, dill, and lime juice. Cook 1-2 minutes, turning once. Remove sautéed shrimp and place on paper towel-lined plate. Melt butter in the same skillet. Do not burn. Add white rice and thin noodles. Coat well. Cook them over medium heat 3-5 minutes, turning often until golden brown. Stir in chicken broth and chicken chunks. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add chopped green onion with tops, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and soybean seasoning sauce. Mix well. Gently fold in sautéed shrimp and pineapple chunks, to taste. Refrigerate leftover pineapple in a covered container. Fill pineapple boats. Serve on platters. Garnish with cilantro leaf. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Island Coconut Shrimp! After making this popular seafood appetizer at home, I realized what a bargain it was to do it myself. No more puny orders of 4 or 5 shrimp to share like when we go to a restaurant. lol. I’m sure my husband appreciates that little detail. Every ingredient was already on hand in my kitchen, making it a breeze. If you’re a shrimp-lover, like I am, put this recipe in your file entitled, “My Favorites!” 

1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed with tails on

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

Vegetable oil for frying

Jezebel Sauce for dipping*

Fresh Pineapple chunks

Combine coconut flour, sea salt, and cracked black pepper on a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs until blended. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together Panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut. Set aside. Working one at a time, dust the shrimp with the flour mixture. Dip the flour-coated shrimp in the egg batter, then dredge it in the coconut mixture. Coat well. Place the shrimp on a platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been breaded. Using an iron skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Heat oil on medium heat. Working in batches if 5-6 shrimp, fry the coconut shrimp 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Watch carefully. Remove shrimp and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been fried. Serve on skewers with Jezebel Sauce* and pineapple chunks. 
*Follow the link for this tasty Jezebel Sauce. 


Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Yogurt Tropical Breeze! Breakfast never tasted so good. Elevate an ordinary yogurt serving to something extraordinary by switching to tropical fruits like juicy ripe pineapple and buttery sweet papaya. Instead of granola, sprinkle on toasted coconut for a refreshing taste that will transport you like a summer breeze on a tropical island. 

16 ounces Greek yogurt

15.25 ounce can tropical mixed fruit; pineapple, red and yellow papaya*

1 small seedless orange, separated into segments 

3 strawberries, sliced

2-3 tablespoons toasted coconut 

Fresh mint for garnish 

Drain fruit, save reserve juice for later. Divide Greek yogurt into serving dishes. Add topical fruit, orange segments, and strawberry slices. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with sprig of fresh mint. 
*Kroger brand Tropical Mixed Fruit in fruit nectar, 15.25 oz can. I receive no recompense for recommending this product. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Macadamia Nut Pineapple French Toast! Forget the maple syrup. Indulge instead in a tropical fruit explosion of flavor. Some compare this breakfast specialty to caramelized pineapple bliss. I suppose the taste could remind you of a tropical Pina Colada cocktail. It’s that good. For your next “Staycation”, why not treat yourself to paradise on a plate. 
Ingredients for Sauce:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut syrup

1 teaspoon almond extract

8-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 smidgen nutmeg

2 tablespoons shredded coconut 

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Do not scorch. Add brown sugar. Stir. Gradually bring to a boil. Add cream, stirring constantly. Cook until thick, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to lowest setting. Add maple syrup, coconut syrup, and almond extract. Stir until smooth. Add pineapple chunks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and shredded coconut. Cook until tender. 
Ingredients for French Toast:

4 slices Hawaiian sweet bread, sliced thick

3 whole eggs, beaten

1/2 cup light cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons butter

Macadamia nuts, chopped

Fresh strawberries 

Whisk together eggs, light cream, and vanilla extract. In a shallow dish, place 4 slices of Hawaiian bread, single layer. Pour custard egg mixture over bread; turn to coat both sides completely. Let moistened bread rest to soak up liquid. In an iron skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter on medium-low heat. Transfer the soaked bread to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side. Add butter as needed. If cooking in batches, transfer browned French toast to a wire rack on a baking sheet and kept warm in a 200° oven. To serve, place one piece of French toast on a plate. Cover with pineapple sauce. Top with second slice of French toast. Add more pineapple sauce. Garnish with sliced strawberries and macadamia nut pieces. Dust with powdered sugar. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter J

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Jellylike Jezebel Sauce! I first heard about this sassy southern sauce with a spicy kick from fellow blogger, Camellia.* She piqued my interest since I sometimes crave the heat of horseradish to liven up ordinary foods. Talk about eye-popping sizzle! Yes, Ma’am! Then recently my husband and I travelled to South Carolina where I had a first-hand opportunity to taste it at a waterfront restaurant there. One bite of Coconut Shrimp dipped in Jezebel Sauce aroused my taste buds and the rest was history. Bless your heart, Camellia!

18-ounce apple jelly

13-ounce jar apricot preserves 

8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

8-ounce jar creamy horseradish, double strength 

2 tablespoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons black cracked pepper

Warm apple jelly in microwave for 30 seconds. Combine apple juice, apricot preserves, crushed pineapple, Creamy horseradish, dry mustard, and cracked black pepper. Stir to blend well. Pour into jars. Chill one hour to enhance flavors. Store in the refrigerator. 
*Please visit Camellia for her variation of Jezebel Sauce. 


Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter U

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Upside-Down Pineapple Bundt Cake! This light and easy alternative for dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on the pounds. The secret is the tropical taste of pineapple. 

1 box Angel Food Cake Mix

1 20-ounce can of Crushed Pineapple with Juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

Set oven rack to lowest setting. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray Bundt pan with non-stick cooking oil. Sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom of the pan. Mix the Angel Food Cake Mix with the Crushed Pineapple, including juice, by hand for one minute or until well blended. Pour into Bundt pan and place in oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and the cake is set. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
Option: Garnish with a sprig of tarragon and top with maraschino cherries, stems removed. 
Serving Suggestion

Mixed Berry Sauce:
1 pound of fresh blueberries 

1 pound of fresh mulberries 

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar
In a medium sauce pan add berries, water, lemon juice, and sugar. Cook on medium heat, while stirring until the berries reduce down. Change the heat to low setting and press the berries against the side of the pan to make them burst. Continue cooking for 30 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add 2 drops of lemon extract while stirring with a spoon. Pour into jar and store in refrigerator. 

Hint: This is delicious on toast or pancakes or ice cream.