Survivor Taco Bean Soup

27 April 2016

Survivor Taco Bean Soup

Here is a recipe that has wowed people for a few years now, including the hardest group to please, little ones.

I prefer to use a large crock pot, as it is cheap to use.

Brown 2 to 3 lbs of hamburger adding salt, pepper, onion salt, et cetera. When the meat is well done add 1/4 cup (or more) of taco sauce (not salsa), and simmer for another 10 to 20 minutes. Let the sauce change to a deep red color with the burger juices. You want the flavor in the meat.

Combine the cooked burger in the crock pot with the following:

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS:

Cook in crock pot on low for 2 to 4 hours. The smell alone will require a traffic cop in the kitchen. This soup is by far the most favorite one at my casa (house), for a hungry t-rex meat lovers crowd. Even the veggie lovers, who won't admit it, will chow down on this one, as the late Mr. Food used to say "It's oh soooo good." I made the mistake of making this for the locals, and they keep coming back with the "When are you making the Taco Soup again" comments. That is when you know you got a great recipe.

Hiking: Waimanu Valley

11 May 2015

Hiking: Waimanu Valley May 8-10 2015

Hike in: 7.5 hrs

Hike Out: 6:45 hrs

Friday May 8 2015 -

The Hike in started off bright and early, or dark and late depending on how you look at it with a 4:00 AM wake up. Daichi and I took quick showers to wake up and to start the day off clean. We then dashed off to pick up our friend, Alan at his house. We made the 1.5 hour drive up through Hilo and up the Hamakua Coast along highway 19. Near Honoakaa we saw 3 baby piglets that got ran over crossing the road. ;-( We made it to the top of the Waipio Valley access road at 7:00 am. It is a real 4 x 4 access road and is the steepest road in the U.S.. We made plans to drive down and park at the Wailoa Stream and hike up the Z trail and then Alan was going to head back and return the jeep to my home.

We made it to the Wailoa stream at 7:30 AM. Brrr! A somewhat chilly waist deep crossing. We made it across without too much trouble but we planned ahead for being wet and went with swim trunks to keep things simple. We hiked about a 1/2 mile across the Waipio valley to the start of the Z Trail (Muliwai Trail). It took us a little over an hour to make the climb up the 5 switch backs to the top of the z trail. Daichi wasn't happy to make the climb and he complained a lot about being tired, but I kept him moving and we finally made it to the top. We took a protein bar break and said goodbye to Alan at 8:50 AM as he headed back down the z trail. It was nice and quiet at the top, almost eerily quiet with the winds rustling the trees and cooling us off.

We crossed through 12 gulches, some of which were dry, amazingly and many ups and downs along the way. There was an impressive stand of Albezia trees that people have carved over the years. One had to be like 10-12 feet in diameter, maybe even larger. It was a monster for sure. I saw one carving dated '92 about 15 feet up. Crazy! I resisted the urge to make my mark, not wanting to waste any time and not to be one of "those people." The winds sure was gusting all day long and we even spotted a large broken top of an Albezia that caused Daichi and I to run underneath for fear that it could dislodge and squish us. About half way through the hike I got some good quad cramps. Ouch! Nothing that lasted too long but long enough to know I was working them really hard.

Daichi and I slowly made our way down the Waimanu z trail without calfs and toes screaming. The trail is very step descending 1000' feet or so without so many switch backs and lots of loose rock and tons of Hala leaves litter the trail making it very hazardous. In my opinion this trail is way steeper than the Waipio trail but luckily it doesn't have the stone staircases that the Waipio z trail does. The Hala leaves also have lots of small thorns along the edges. Make sure you don't let them wrap around your legs as you are making your way down the trail like I did or you will end up with really small thorns in you. We managed to reach the Waimanu stream at 3:00 pm on Friday May 8th 2015 at a 7 1/2 hour hiking pace.

There is a rope strung across the Waimanu Stream to help you keep your balance or if it has been raining a good bit you will need it just to safely cross. The whole valley is pretty much a large wet land and the water filters through the grasses / reeds and then forms the river. The river was waist deep when Daichi and I made the crossing. Watch out for the scattered rocks along the bottom. You don't want to stub your toes just as your camping stay starts. Some people at the campsite brought cheap inflatable boats to move their packs across, but we chanced it and it worked for the most part until our departure where Daichi didn't listen to wait and stumbled and partially fell soaking his backpack. We meet some other campers at the river who thankfully gave us some ideas on how to conquer the crossing. Brr again!!!! The water sure was breath taking after being so hot and sweaty from the hiking.

We reserved campsite #2 and we found it empty, although there was a bit of rubbish left over from previous campers who didn't hike it out like they should have. Boy was it windy, howling even with 30+ mph winds right off the ocean with its crashing surf. I brought along a set of cheap one person pup tents and I managed to get one set up as it started to lightly rain. Daichi was kind enough to let everyone within earshot, in a very loud excited voice that the tent was leaking. Not just a little bit of a drip, but dripping everywhere. The wind and the tent flapping was extreme and then a securing guy rope fastening point ripped off and the pup tent idea was doomed. I panicked a bit but I came up with an lean-to that worked pretty well and is the way to go with a bigger tarp to give you protection from rain. Campsite #2 has a stone stacked wall that will provide some protection from the relentless wind.

Saturday May 9 2015 -

Overnight it got down to 65F or so and Daichi and I found out the 55F sleeping bags we brought were too much. Another lesson learned. Wow, what a perfect day we woke up to! Well I should clarify that I was awoken @ 5:30 AM by Daichi screaming that the fish in the Waimanu stream were jumping all over. Boy was he excited! We decided to stick around the camp and recover our strength as we are going to be hiking out the next day and my quads, lats and calfs were still crampish, so we skipped the hike out to visit the waterfalls. I also wanted to save something for a reason to return other than the awesomeness of the location. We walked the beach, swam in the Waimanu stream and I watched Daichi chase crabs around.

Sunday May 10 2015 -

I woke up somewhat wet Sunday morning due to the rain that moved in overnight and the tarp was a bit too small to cover us. Not really a big deal but I wanted to try to keep everything as dry as possible so to save some weight. The hike out was faster than the hike in. I did notice that it is mostly downhill heading out and our packs were lighter than when we headed in, maybe that helped. It could also be that I promised Daichi a ForReal shake when we finished? Who knows? We got up early and broke down the camp site and had a start time of 7:00 AM at the Waimanu stream. It had risen over night and now was about 4 1/2' deep. Wow! Tough to get across without getting my pack soaked. Daichi didn't listen to wait for me to help him and he managed to fall, dunking his pack. We made it to Wailoa stream @ 1:45 PM and then proceeded to hike up Waipio Valley access road as Yuko hasn't driven the Jeep to the bottom of the valley yet. Whoa, tired!

Lessons Learned:

Items Needed:

Waipio Valley from the Waipio Valley z trail

Waipio Valley from the Waipio Valley z trail

Waipio Valley from the Waipio Valley z trail

Waipio Valley from the Waipio Valley z trail view 2

Daichi and I winded at the top of the z trail

Daichi and I winded at the top of the z trail

Our first view of Waimanu Valley

Our first view of Waimanu Valley

The improvised leanto

The improvised leanto

A tree at campsite #2

A tree at campsite #2

Looking back in Waimanu Valley from the Campsite #2

Looking back in Waimanu Valley from the Campsite #2

Laupahoehoeiki coastline

My morning coffee

My morning coffee

The view from the camp trail

The view from the camp trail

Laupahoehoeiki Ridge

Laupahoehoeiki Ridge

Laupahoehoenui coastline

Laupahoehoenui coastline

Swimming in Waimanu stream

Swimming in Waimanu stream

The rope across Waimanu stream

The rope across Waimanu stream

The front of Camp #2 and the stacked rock wall

The front of Camp #2 and the stacked rock wall

Campsite #2 sign

Campsite #2 sign

I got hungry so I ate a coconut

I got hungry so I ate a coconut

Surf's up

Surf's up

I wonder if anyone is coming down the z trail

I wonder if anyone is coming down the z trail

The weather is moving in

The weather is moving in

Sunset May 9th 2015

Sunset May 9th 2015

Banana Bread

04 May 2015

Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, ginger and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Serve warm with whipped butter.

Homemade Biscuits

05 February 2015

Homemade Biscuits

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all dry ingredient and blend well with whisk. Cut in butter until resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in milk until all comes together to form a dough ball. Turn out dough ball onto a heavily floured surface. Let set for a couple of minutes and then knead for about a minute and then re-flour surface and pat out to about 1/2" thick. Cut biscuits with floured biscuit cutter or thick drinking glass or a cup and place into ungreased baking pan. Form remaining dough into ball and repeat until all dough made into biscuits. Bake in 425-450 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

This recipe will make approximately 12 biscuits and will freeze well too. Just place your cut biscuits onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper and place cookie sheet into freeze making sure to keep level. Once frozen remove and place into a freezer bag and place into freezer. When ready to use just follow baking directions and bake only the amount that you need, you do not have to bake all of them at one time.

Happy New Year

08 January 2015

Happy New Year world! I have completed an epic move to our own place here out in the jungle in lower Puna, Hawaii. This blog is coming to you via satellite uplink so pls go gentle on my poor, poor server. I am wishing everyone a Happy New Year and that 2015 will hold many good things for everyone.

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