Adventures in the Valley Isle! Part Deux

I know the is a very long overdue part two of this trip, since I just noticed I published the first part a month ago. But you know how it is, growing a human inside you is tiring! I need to take several naps! There are seriously endless amount of sites to visit in Maui and there is a trip you can customize for anyone. Whether you’re looking for an adventure trip, a foodie trip, beach and relaxation – it honestly has something for everyone. Since it was our first time there, and we may not be back for a while as our lives are soon to change in a major way, we tried to sample a bit of everything.

We spent a day doing a lot of driving and went up country to the Iao Valley and to see the Iao Needle. Ryan videotaped some of it and said it felt like he was in Jurassic Park. You can see why they choose so to film so many movies and shows there, the scenery is so lush and the valley is all dense rainforest. The temperature changes significantly when you are upcountry compared to being at the beaches.

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The Iao Needle, a lava remnant rising 1,200 feet from the valley floor.

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It’s beautiful in such a unique way up there, totally different vibe than down on the water.

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Next we went to check out La Perouse Bay, which is the most recent volcanic site in Maui. You have to drive past Wailea and Makena to get there, and made several roadside stops for tacos and coconuts.

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Tacos have really been my only pregnancy craving.

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I loved La Perouse Bay, I thought it was so gorgeous. On the drive up you can see where all the lava flowed down and  basically got frozen in time. There is hardly any sand and you wouldn’t want to swim there but the water is so clear and blue and it was a great walk. One word of advice, it is very windy so don’t put your camera on a rock with the timer on to take a picture – if you’re like me it will fall and break.

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Look at that water!

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Indeed!

That night we went to dinner at our favourite hotel (again!) The Four Seasons at the restaurant Duo which was delicious (one of the best meals we had) and went for drinks at Ferraro’s which sits right on the water with incredible views and is a sweet and romantic setting. I would recommend both.

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One of my absolute favourite things we did the whole two weeks was take a snorkel excursion to turtle town (a spot with lots of sea turtles to snorkel with) and Molokini. Molokini is a partially submerged volcanic crater that basically creates a naturally protected habitat for sea life. It was incredible, I have never seen water that clear or that many fish so colourful and vibrant.  At turtle town I was snorkelling about a foot away from a huge turtle, if you stay calm they will just swim right on by you and check  you out – they’re so chill. I loved snorkelling, it is really a whole different world down there. Ryan did snuba which allowed him to go deeper while still attached to air on a float above him, he ended up being able to see a bit more than me that way but they say it’s not safe for pregnant women because of the pressure.

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Molokini in the background.

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We did the excursion through Snorkel Bob’s which was pretty bare bones, but I think it’s all you need. Doing a smaller boat I felt was better because it was not a party vibe at all and you got a basic breakfast and lunch, but really the same snorkel experience for a better price.

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Lots more to come! Stayed tuned, I’ll try not to make part three a month away!

 

 

 

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Adventures in the Valley Isle!

Ryan and I usually like to take one big trip a year, we had talked about doing Italy and Greece in the fall and had even started researching and planning it. But surprise! There’s a baby in me and it’s coming early November! So after some discussion we decided to take a two week trip to Hawaii, somewhere neither of us had been but always wanted to go and went in May for our anniversary. I’ve never talked to anyone who hates Hawaii, for the most part people say it’s heaven and their favourite place in the world. After consulting our friends who are Hawaii veterans we decided on Maui, and it was the best choice! Amazing weather, great food, gorgeous beaches and so much to see and do. Two weeks went by in the blink of an eye and there are so many things on our list that we would go back for.

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We stayed in Kihei, but in a condo in North Kihei where it’s a bit quieter but still really close to the bustling town in South Kihei. We were on Sugar Beach, which isn’t the most gorgeous beach of all that we went to but has miles of beach that we went on several walks down. The above photo is the view from our balcony.

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I’m just starting to get used to having a changing body for baby so there will be a long showcase of loose tops in all these pictures!

This first day we spent some time walking the beach by our condo and drove into Wailea and Makena, stopping at Makena Cove for some swimming.

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A friend of mine suggested we go to Costco and buy snorkel gear then go to different beaches to snorkel. Do it! Some of the snorkelling is so incredible, it was one of the best things we did.

We also went for our first taste of shave ice! In the heat and humidity it is an absolute must! I don’t usually like sweet things so the couple of times we went I got half watermelon and half lime, it was so good and refreshing! There are hundreds of shave ice places in Maui, you just have to find your favourite!

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That night we went to check our more of Wailea, which I would basically describe as the Beverly Hills of Maui. It’s where a lot of luxury resorts are, it’s beautifully maintained, gorgeous beaches and views. We actually got lucky when we were there because it was Wailea Restaurant Week, so a lot of the restaurants have special preset “taste of Wailea” menus that are heavily discounted and a portion goes to charity, so we took some advantage of that. This is the Four Seasons, which was by far our favourite of all the hotels we went to.

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The fabulous four seasons! We went back several times for dinners and “drinks.” We look like sorbet in these outfits!

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It was really nice to stay in a condo because Maui can be very expensive, being able to go to Cotsco and Safeway for groceries makes a huge difference. We went out for quite a few dinners but also barbecued at the condo and ate our own breakfast at home everyday but one.

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On our 2nd or 3rd day we went to the Alii Kula Lavender Farm, I’d say it was probably our biggest disappointment of all the things we did. Some of it is beautiful but it is very underwhelming and not nearly as polished and maintained as we expected. The weather was also extremely overcast in upcountry that day so that didn’t help either.

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We went to a Luau that night and it was really fun, definitely a highlight from the trip! There are a lot of options for different Luau’s throughout Maui, we went to the Marriott where they do it on the roof top so the views are gorgeous. The entertainment is fun and we enjoyed the food, they don’t do the ceremonial pig in the ground so that was really all it was missing. We really had fun, I would recommend doing one.

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Before we went to the Luau that evening, we parked at the Marriott then went on this long stretch of beach walk in front of the hotels in Wailea, it’s some of the most gorgeous natural beaches. It connects a lot of those luxury hotels in the area and you can walk and walk, which was difficult in the outfit I had mistakenly chosen but worth it for the beauty.

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There are so many gorgeous beaches, all public, to explore in Maui. Some of our favourites were Kamaole 3, Wailea Beach, Makena Beach State Park. But there are really endless options to try.

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Wailea Beach

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Serious burn to that little baby bump!

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Makena State Park

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There was so much more to see and do on this vacation! Soon I’ll post about our fun in Lahaina, the Road to Hana, snorkelling at Molokini and more. Have a great week!

 

 

 

Summer Salad Rolls

These Vietnamese style salad rolls are my new obsession! I cannot stop making (and eating!) them, I made the first batch last week and have made two more batches since. They are so tasty, light and relatively easy to make once you get the rolling down. Salad rolls are usually done with shrimp but I’m allergic so it was chicken for these guys. I think adding a little bit of fruit made them really special, it brings a sweetness and tones down the spicy sauce a bit.

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The most tedious part is the prep. You have to do a lot of chopping, once everything is ready and you start rolling things go pretty fast. The best part of these is that you can basically put in whatever you want and substitute or add things the more you make them. This batch I put in plums and cabbage, then took that out next time and used pink lady apples and spring mix instead, I think the apple was better.

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What you’ll need for the wraps:

  • One – two red bell peppers, sliced thin
  • english cucumber cut in half then sliced thin
  • 3 plums, cored and sliced thin
  • red cabbage cut into thin slices
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks (I bought a bag of pre cut matchstick carrots to save myself some time)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • Rice vermicelli noodles (find in the “asian” section of any grocery store – cook as directed)
  • rice paper wrappers (find in the “asian” section of any grocery store)
  • one bunch cilantro, use to your liking

A note on using the rice paper. I fill a pie plate with luke warm water, and the key with these is to get them just the right amount of soft and wet. I soaked two at a time, about two and a half minutes. If you have never used them before, they start out hard and crispy. Lie them in the water, touch them periodically to see how soft they are getting. It might take a few tries, but don’t get discouraged – too soft and they’ll rip, still too crisp and they’ll rip. Once you get a few good wraps you’ll know the right texture to take them out at. I also found wrapping them on a wooden cutting board was the easiest because the wraps will be soaked when you take them out of the pie plate, it will absorb a little bit of that water so they’re easier to work with and they won’t slide around like on a plate.

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What you’ll need for the dipping sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons natural rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
  •  1 tablespoon all natural honey

Whisk it all together! This sauce does definitely have a bite to it, my husband preferred it with a little more peanut butter, I prefer it with a little less – do whatever works for your tastes.

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Now start rolling those babies! Soak your rice paper then transfer to your rolling area. I always build in the middle of the paper then wrap them like a fajita; fold up the bottom, fold up the sides and roll up to the top – you really want to tuck as you’re rolling to the top or they can get messy, the wrappers will get a little sticky as they dry and self adhere. I usually did my rice noodles first, laid peppers on one side of the noddles and cucumbers on the other, topped with plum, chicken, then finished with cabbage and carrot, I added cilantro to all of mine but I love cilantro, I know some people hate it.

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Your final product should be a pretty snug wrap, it might take a few times – I had no clue what I was doing at first.

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Then you can drizzle the wrap with the peanut sauce or dip as you eat.

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These refrigerate really well, just make sure they’re in an air tight container or the wraps will harden and get stale. I made a bunch and ate them for lunch all week. Then when those were gone I made a new batch with a few changes to the filling and made my husband eat them for dinner, I love them!

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This recipe was adapted from buzzfeed.

Enjoy! Have fun making them and mixing up the recipe!