Air travel, solo, always gives me just a moment of concern in the "who will be sitting next to me?" department. Not that I have bad luck, on the contrary, nearly every one of my solo trips has provided enjoyable, nice and even downright entertaining seatmates. The most memorable being the two 60+ year old men flying on Southwest who make it a practice to choose the aisle and window seat and then sort of hand choose someone to take the empty middle seat. As I was flying standby, I was one of the last to enter the plane and the kind gentlemen waved to me as I was scanning the empty seats. I gratefully sat down and was subject to a very entertaining couple of hours! They admitted to their seat choosing practice about half way through the flight saying that they usually tried to wave some young, good looking female between them to help pass the time. Somewhat flattered that they thought I was young and good looking (I think they exaggerated!), I fully enjoyed their banter back and forth and laughed nearly the entire way.
On my recent trip to Honolulu I was once again lucky in the seatmate department. Barbara-Ann, a lovely lady from Hilo, and I boarded the plane at the same time and smiled as we sat down together. Conversation flowed easily throughout the flight and I was very interested to find that she runs a Bed and Breakfast on the Big Island.
Shipman House Bed and Breakfast Inn , a luxury and historic accomodation, is conveniently situated in Hilo, sitting just over the town on a knoll. Having her laptop with her, she showed me photos of the gorgeous historic Victorian House that she remembers playing in as a child, incredible plates of fresh tropical fruits that are part of their breakfast and stunning scenes from around the island. Later that evening I perused Barbara's site and read review after review on Tripadvisor with most of the reviewers gushing about their stay. After spending such an enjoyable few hours with Barbara and reading about the establishment I know where I will be staying next time I visit the Big Island!
Loving food as I do, I was interested in the breakfast portion of her Bed & Breakfast and from what I saw in the photos, anyone staying there is in for a treat! Plates laden with seasonal tropical fruits including mango, papaya, apple bananas, and so much more that I can't even remember were served with Portuguese Sweet Bread, her own homemade Macadamia Nut Granola, yogurt, juices and other treats of the day. Being lactose intolerant, Barbara understands how difficult it is for people with dietary restrictions when they are away from home. As such, if she is given enough notice she will prepare and serve foods to the best of her ability to meet the restrictions.
Barbra mentioned that her granola recipe is a favorite of most guests and that she is in the process of making it available for purchase. While I haven't tried it, I can say that the tropical mix sounded extraordinarily tasty. I will keep my eye on her site for the launch of the product and order some when available so I can report back!
Thinking about Barbara's granola gave the me the inspiration to make my own. I have a number of recipes that use granola as an ingredient and I'm a fan of a few spoonfuls over yogurt in the afternoon. Unfortunately, many of the store bought granolas that I find are very high in fat and contain "other" ingredients that sometimes I can't identify. Homemade suddenly seemed like a good idea!
Perusing the internet for some sort of Coconut Granola I found numerous recipes. Some with as much as a cup of butter and some with just a mere Tablespoon of oil. The ingredients varied widely and I chose what sounded good to me. For my first try, I think it turned out pretty darn good! Not quite as "coconutty" as I would have liked, but I think I can fix that next time by simply adding a bit more. My husband felt that the coconut flavor was just fine, so perhaps it's just me still trying to hang onto my island flavors!
All in all, granola is exceedingly easy to make and the ability to use ingredients to suit your tastes makes it a sure bet. One note on the cooking... know that if you leave it in too long the edges and top will begin to burn!! (this is me admitting that I found this out first hand!! =) )
Kim Kelly - Liv Life
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup whole raw almonds
1/3 cup coconut (generous)
2 Tbs salted pumpkin seeds
2 Tbs ground flax
2 Tbs wheat germ
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325º.
In a large bowl mix the oats through wheat germ. In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat on the stove, then stir in the honey and brown sugar. Remove from heat and stir until honey and sugar are evenly distributed. Pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the granola into a jelly roll type pan and spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Know that the granola will "crisp" a bit upon cooling, so be careful not to overcook! ;)
Wishing you the all the flavors of the islands! Aloha!