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‘Family’ Category

  1. A Rainy New Year

    January 8, 2014 by

    Happy New Year to all of you! We had quite a storm over the It is a dark and rainy morning here. I am welcoming it. It has been dry and this brings the ever needed green-ness that I love. The cast iron tub that Jim and Isaac restored for me for Christmas sits in the back, filling up with the cool rain. Today is usually the day Jim & I do our seven mile run–well, almost seven. It’s really about 6.5, but I like to round up. I love our runs and we need to take a camera with us one day to capture the magnificence of the mountain side. I will end up carrying the camera though (my shorts have a cute little zippered pocket, perfect for an iPhone), and am unsure of the added discomfort, hence, the reason there have been no photos.


    Did I mention how good I am at the downhill parts? Uphill…not as good. In fact, pretty slow going. It is a steep incline for about 2.5 miles and I try to find two good, long walking sticks to assist in getting uphill. I’m sure Jim would be home a half hour sooner if it was not for my slow going, but he always just grabs me around the waist and says how much he loves spending time with me. A keeper for sure.


    In lieu of a run, Jim has roused the boys to engage in some P90X kempo. Some of the boys (who will remain nameless, but you know who you are) were not particularly enthusiastic about this endeavor, but when promised some time on the Xbox (a contraption that I despise, but will allow for special occasions or a treat), they complied. We usually work out in the converted garage-into-TV room, but there was not enough room for all four, so we set up space in the living room. Wendy (Aidan’s kitten) is attempting to attack them and poor Ipo is sitting outside the front windows under the dribbling eves watching them with the sad eyes that only a labrador can give.

    P90X photo


    Then, they took the opportunity to cool off in my new/old tub.

    Elliot in tub photo Isaac in tub photo



    Over the holidays, we had the wonderful pleasure of listening to Emma sing with her band, the Blue Moon Trio (turned into the Blue Moon Messengers since Jacy’s friend Eric was sitting in on drums, making the trio a foursome). The performed at the Red Water Cafe. I always get their Caesar salad with lemongrass and basil and shrimp fried rice and always love it–there is usually enough to take home and I had to make Jim stop eating what I didn’t finish so I could enjoy my leftovers today. He ordered a half-rack of baby back ribs with wasabi mashed potatoes and asian slaw. Delish. We always love that place and if you are ever in Waimea, you should stop by. Their happy hour menu has wonderful sushi, too.


    I have not been very good at keeping up with this blog, but with the end of the year approaching, I am going to try to make 2014 a banner year and my word for this year is CONSISTENCY. There are so many areas of my life that need this and I am going to make a little 3×5 card to put up on my bathroom mirror to remind me of this. I hope 2013 has been kind to you. I have so very much to be thankful and truly grateful for. For today, I am thankful for the thunder and boys and bread and cheese for dinner tonight. Happy Sunday to you.


    ***Update–we got to do our run a few days later–the rain let up for about 6 hours and we got to go and see all the damage and all of the gulches were running! Here is some video footage. The first one is the gulch closest to our home during the storm–Isaac took the footage. The other videos were taken by me during our run (yes, I took the IPhone, and it wasn’t heavy at all!)–take a look at some of the debris and damage that the force of the water caused!

    gulch running IMG_0140

    Issac and Aidan catch upIMG_0151

  2. Summer Cilantro Salad

    May 24, 2013 by

    Cilantro 1-crop

    Today is the beginning of Summer for us. It always starts with a bang because we have 3 birthdays within a 3 week period (Elliot is 13, Jim turns 50!!! and Grandpa turns 87). We are having a party with all of Elliot’s friends this afternoon.

    We have been working on a Farm Stay for quite a while now. As funds allow, we have been working on it in sections. It is going to be quite a sweet space with enough room for 6. We should start to offer it up for farm stay visits within the next few weeks! A beautiful deck on the front is going on this week, and all the lights go in next week. It will be completely off-grid, so it will be the perfect place to come and unplug for a lovely stay in the country. And of course, all visitors will get to join in on one of our functions up at the Mill (A Tasting, Farm Tour, Vanilla Luncheon Experience, or Upcountry Tea). We can’t wait for you to visit!

    Cilantro 1

    You can see in the photos some of our plots where we grow all of the greens we serve at the Mill, plus a ton of cilantro, which I had to use because it was going to seed. I was so happy to find this recipe.


    Cilantro 2



    This Summer Cilantro Salad I served 3 times last week, and Isaac actually picked every last piece of cilantro from the bowl–yes, it’s that good. I got it from the very first blog I started following, 101 Cookbooks–it’s a lovely site so make sure to check it out. Of course I doctored the recipe up a bit with vanilla and loved the results.



    Cilantro 3



    1/2 Cup Extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 Cup onion, diced

    4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

    4 Cups cilantro, leaves and stems (but not thick, tough stems)

    1 pound asparagus, stemmed and sliced thinly

    1/4 Cup Shoyu (soy sauce)

    1/4 Cup brown sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 Cup peanuts, roughly chopped

    3 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white)


    In a heavy bottomed pan sauté onion and garlic in olive oil using the lowest heat and a cover to allow the onions to sweat. Allow to cook for 15- 20 minutes, until the onions are very soft and the oil fragrant. Pull off the heat and allow to cool.


    Blanch the asparagus: bring a medium sauce pan of water to boil and blanch the asparagus for about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and place in the bowl you will be serving the salad in.


    Trim the tough stems from your cilantro, wash and dry thoroughly. Add to the asparagus. Toss in peanuts and sesame seeds.


    In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine shoyu, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.


    Add your onion, garlic and oil to your salad. Then add your shoyu mixture. Toss gently.


    **Make sure when you are serving to stir up the bottom of the bowl because the asparagus and peanuts like to hang out down there!




    xovoxo, (vanilla hugs & kisses)

    Tracy Reddekopp













  3. Leftover Peppermint Bark …what’s a girl to do?

    April 16, 2013 by

    Cookies, Crinkle peppermint 4
    Leftover Peppermint Bark …what’s a girl to do?
    I was so excited to see peppermint bark for sale last December–that I certainly bought too much.  This is something I tend to do with supplies for my kitchen since I live so far from everything and on this island, if you see something once at the store, this does not guarantee it will be there the next time you shop!  So I bought a lot…and now, it is April.  What to do?  Make cookies!
    Cookies, Crinkle peppermint bark dough
    This is a recipe I altered a bit from my Grammy’s recipe and a family favorite for Christmas, but really, for anytime you want a perfect balance of chewy, crisp outer crinkled shell of powdered sugariness, chocolate and minty wonderfulness.

    Grammy’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Peppermint Bark

    1/4 Cup vegetable or coconut oil
    1/4 Cup butter, softened
    1 Cup sugar
    1 Cup brown sugar
    4 eggs
    2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
    1/2 Teaspoon salt
    2 Cups flour
    2 Teaspoons baking powder
    1 bar of peppermint bark (3.5 oz)
    1 Cup confectioners sugar
    Mix oil, butter, chocolate and sugar until blended.
    Add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated and fluffy.
    Stir in salt, flour, baking powder and vanilla.
    Break up the Peppermint bark into small chunks.  Stir in.
    Chill for several hours (or pop it in the freezer for 45 minutes)
    Using a cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop scoops into the confectioners sugar (see above photo)
    Roll around and shape into a ball.
    Place 2 inches aart on a parchment lined, or greased baking sheet.
    Bake for 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees.
    Cookies, Crinkle peppermint 4
    While they were chilling, I started making dinner.  We were having Rib Eye steaks rubbed with our South West rub, roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes with the works; sour cream, green onions, and of course, crumbled bacon!
    Brussel Sprouts
    Emma halved the sprouts and I tossed them with some Vanilla Oil and Vanilla Salt.
    Brussel Sprouts 2
    I roasted them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (this will depend on your oven–mine is a commercial convection, so things cook a little more quickly than my oven at home).
    Brussel Sprouts 3
    They come out so beautiful!  The addition of the Vanilla lends such a perfect note of sweetness and takes away any bitter notes that some people sometimes associate with Brussels sprouts.
    I cooked the bacon the way my other Grandmother always cooked it; on a baking sheet in the oven.  It always produces the perfect amount of crispiness and that was what we wanted to top our mashed potatoes with!
    I had to stop taking photos because everyone was hungry!  It was all very delicious and a wonderful way to celebrate the end of our work week.  I hope you are welcoming Spring in, wherever you are!
    xovox (vanilla hugs & kisses)

  4. Emma’s 18th Birthday!

    March 27, 2013 by

    Emma 18 & Us

    Bittersweet Birthday

    Emma turned 18 last week. She is such a lovely person to be with. What I mean is, we look forward to just being with her. She is an incredibly gifted, creative person with a “bar-room” laugh (as Jim says, although, I don’t know what he could possibly be referring to, ahem). She loves indie music, Harry Potter, Jane Austen,The Lord of The Rings, reading, writing, coffee with cream, her brothers, her hair, painting, exploring–although not necessarily in that order. She does not like fruit, cleaning, conforming, soda or taking vitamins (we hope that the lack of carbonation will make up for the lack of fruit and vitamins).

    We are loving being a part of her life and can’t wait to see all that will unfold. Our prayers for her continue to be that she will love the Lord more than anything else and that she will learn to be a true servant. We know that He has a plan for her and love to watch Him work through her, through her beautiful voice, her gift of music and laughter and watching her incredible relationships with her brothers.

    Every year on their birthdays, the children get to choose what their birthday celebration dinner will be. Emma’s meal of choice? Chicken Cordon Bleu with a Vanilla White Wine Cream sauce over poppy seeded egg noodles with broccoli. The evening always concludes with a chocolate birthday cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. It was a fun evening. I had to include this photo to show how my boys shy away from the camera (haha).

    Emma 18 & UsEmma & ElizabethBirthday CakeBirthday Cake 2

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