Coffee Ice Cream

I’m not really much of a coffee drinker. I do not rely on it to get me moving in the morning, and I’ve done my best to not become addicted. So far, so good.

Coffee ice cream is one of my favorite flavors and I’ve been wanting to try making my own for quite some time now. And then we went to Hawaii, and we came back with a lot of Kona Coffee. I just knew I had to make my ice cream with the world’s best coffee.

But I had to wait. I had to wait until Stuart finished “this crap coffee so I can open the good stuff.” But it finally happened, that “crap coffee” was gone and a perfect bag of Onouli coffee grounds was opened.

This recipe does require the use of an ice cream maker. I borrowed my friend’s KitchenAid attachment. So… if you want to see more ice cream recipes on Sew You Think You Can Cook feel free to send one my way! 😉

When it came time to strain the custard I ran into a slight problem. Without a cheese cloth I thought I’d use a coffee filter, but the custard was just too thick. So I just went with a mesh strainer. It was able to catch most of the coffee grounds, but not all of them so there are flecks of coffee deliciousness throughout the ice cream. As coffee grounds are edible, I left them in my frozen treat; they provide a little texture to each bite. Stuart really enjoyed the addition of the coffee grounds. If you don’t want the texture, I might suggest straining the custard before letting to cool completely in the fridge. I don’t know if that would help, but my engineering brain thinks it would.

Coffee Ice Cream


  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 3/4 C sugar, divided
  • 1/2 C coffee grounds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat combine the milk, cream, coffee, 1/2 C sugar, salt, and vanilla. Heat, stirring occasionally, to 175 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 C sugar.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by whisking in 1/4 C of the hot milk mixture. Add 1/4 C at a time until you’ve added 1 C of cream. Continuously whisking. You can now pour the yolks into the milk mixture. Whisk until the custard reaches 185 degrees, without bubbling.
  4. Set a bowl over top a larger bowl of ice water. Pour the custard into the iced bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cover custard and put in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.
  6. Strain the cooled custard through a cheesecloth to remove the coffee grounds.
  7. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to churn the custard into a beautiful homemade ice cream.

*This recipe was adapted from Christina at*

Coffee Ice Cream 2Coffee Ice Cream 1Coffee Ice Cream 3 Coffee Ice Cream 4

Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread

I’ve admitted before that I’m not much of a baker but this blog has helped me expand my kitchen skills. One thing I’d never even attempted to do before is bake bread! The thought of blooming yeast and rising dough frightened me.

Leave it to a Hawaiian vacation to get me to enter the world of bread making. I wanted to try making the sweet bread we had half of our mornings. The amount of steps looked daunting, but I had my husband in the kitchen with me acting as my safety blanket. I am so proud and excited to tell you that our first attempt was successful!

We enjoyed fresh toast every morning before work our first week back on the mainland. Now if only there were a way to get the bread faster I’d do it every weekend! Now though I won’t be as timid when I come across a fresh bread recipe.

Prep 1 Prep 2

Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread


  • 1/2 C milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, cubed
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp active-dry yeast
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg, whites reserved
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. In a microwave safe bowl heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt until warm. Stir to soften the butter.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine flour, yeast, and zest. Add the warm milk mixture (stir before adding if mixture separated). Mix to combine. Add in the two whole eggs and 1 egg yolk along with the vanilla. Use the paddle to mix until smooth for 3 minutes and then switch to the dough hook for an additional 5 minutes. Note: The dough will be sticky.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl to rise for 2 hours.
  4. Gently punch the dough to deflate it and roll it back into a ball. Put the dough in a greased 9″ round cake pan. Cover the dough with a clean shower cap (or you can use plastic wrap). Allow dough to rise for another 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Mix 1 tbsp of water with the reserved egg white and brush onto the dough.
  7. Bake bread for 15 minutes. Cover it lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Note: The bread should reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees.
  8. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack before breaking into it.

*This recipe is modified from the King Arthur Flour test kitchens at*

Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread 1 Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread 2

Loco Moco

Loco Moco is the number one comfort food on the Big Island. Rumor has it that it originated in Hilo. The story according to our travel guide, Lonely Planet Hawaii: The Big Island (Regional Travel Guide), September 2008 is as follows:

A group of teenage boys hung out at a local restaurant to play pinball and chow down on cheap food. A football player nicknamed “Crazy” was nominated to request a new dish. A large bowl of rice topped with hambuger and gravy. When the group relocated their hangout two over-easy fried eggs were added to the dish, creating Loco Moco as it is today.

Traditionally Loco Moco uses a hamburger patty as the choice of protein, but variations include pork, spam, etc. I made mine with leftover shredded pork. When we ate our Loco Moco in Hawaii Stuart said it needed one more egg, so I made three! Breaking into the yolk and combining the rice with the yolk and gravy is the best way to eat it.

Fried Egg Pork & Gravy

Loco Moco


  • 3 C cooked rice
  • 3/4 lb cooked shredded pork
  • 1 can beef broth
  • flour for thickening
  • 1 tbsp butter, plus more for eggs
  • 3 eggs


  1. In a saucepan, reduce beef broth. Stir in 1-2 tbsp of flour to thicken. Let reduce to desired consistency. Season with S+P. Stir in 1 tbsp butter. Warm shredded pork in the gravy.
  2. Melt a little butter in a small skillet. Crack eggs (I did mine one at a time) into skillet. Cook for only a couple of minutes before flipping. The yolk will still be runny.
  3. Assemble loco moco: spoon rice on a large plate, cover with the gravy and pork mixture, and top with the over-easy fried eggs.

Loco Moco 1

Loco Moco 2

French Onion Soup

While in Hawaii Stuart had the idea for me to recreate the foods we ate for my blog. Our favorite meal of the trip was at a little French restaurant in downtown Hilo. I haven’t attempted making crepes yet, but I do know how to make French Onion Soup.

I made this recipe back in 2011 after finding it on Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel. I altered the recipe slightly this go-around to utilize Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions, adjusted the liquid amounts for a desired consistency, and added more cheese.

French Onion Soup


  • 3 lb onions, sliced and caramelized – less 1 C
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 2 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 4 rolls bakery bread, cubed
  • 1/2 lb swiss cheese, shredded


  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pot. Add the caramelized onions, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour, mixing well. Pour in white wine and bring to a boil for five minutes. Season again with S+P.
  3. Add in both broths and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into individual ramekins. Top each ramekin with cubed bread and cover with shredded cheese. Broil for about 4 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

French Onion Soup

Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

It amuses me to say that the best quesadilla I ever had was in Hawaii, and it’s even stranger to tell you that that quesadilla was had in the Honolulu airport (at Stinger Ray’s)!

For Mexican Monday I decided to attempt a recreation of this quesadilla. What I loved most about it was a back note of lime and the inclusion of corn in the filling. I didn’t succeed in a perfect copy cat recipe with my first attempt, but it was fun to do more with a quesadilla than stuff it with leftovers!

I marinated the chicken with chipotle and lime, sliced it and cooked it fajita style for extra flavor. I then sauteed the corn, onion, and pepper salsa with chili powder in the same skillet. For a kiss of heat I sliced open a serrano pepper (which Stuart purposefully ate!).

I actually prepared extra chicken and made rice to take to lunch the next day.

Saute Chicken 1Saute Chicken 2Saute Chicken 3Saute Salsa 1Saute Salsa 2Saute Salsa 3Assemble Quesadilla 1Assemble Quesadilla 2Assemble Quesadilla 3

An Original Recipe

Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 1 C frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, halved
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 C shredded Mexican cheese


  1. Combine lime, corriander, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle, S+P, and olive oil. Marinate chicken at least 4 hours.
  2. Slice chicken. Saute chicken over medium-high heat in a large skillet in olive oil until cooked through.
  3. In the same skillet, cook the remaining ingredients. Deglaze the pan with a splash of chicken stock if desired.
  4. In a separate non-stick skillet, place tortilla and cover entire surface with cheese. On one half top with chicken and salsa. Fold the cheese-only half over the chicken. Flip until both sides are lightly golden and crispy. Serve with your favorite salsa and sour cream.

Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

Hawaii: The Big Island: Puna

We only did one thing in Puna. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t more we’d have loved to do. And that definitely doesn’t mean that one thing wasn’t worth it. The one thing I wanted to do in Hawaii was see lava. Seeing lava is the premise of this final blog post about our vacation in Hawaii.

When I discovered Lava Ocean Adventures I became obsessed with getting on a boat, speeding past the coast and watching lava drip and sizzle into the ocean. This excursion was the only one we pre-booked before leaving the mainland. We were going to do the Lava Boat Tour at sunset on August 29th (my 25th birthday). Unfortunately Pele had other plans. The weekend we arrived on the Big Island the lava tube to the ocean collapsed, halting all flow to the ocean.

Lava Ocean Adventures contacted us about the changes in condition and we transferred our reservation to a guided lava hike on Wednesday. The hike was so much fun. We walked across the lava rock dessert to where red hot lava was flowing to the surface. The hike took us 4 ½ hours (round trip) of carefully stepping over uneven terrain. As lava hardens, the glass particles rise to the surface creating very sharp rock. Lava Ocean Adventures recommends wearing long pants on this hike as a precaution against cuts if you fall. Not wanting to hike in jeans, we took our chances and trusted our ability to stay balanced. One thing I would highly recommend are high socks. I was constantly plucking shards of lava rock from inside my shoes. Also, be sure to have a good pair of hiking boots as you really don’t want to fall. Rain was coming in behind us and I spotted a beautiful rainbow blessing our trail.

Lava Hike 1 Lava Rock

Rainbow Over Lava

Photographs and imagination can’t even begin to describe the experience of seeing new earth being formed. Feeling the heat and staring into the glow of the magma is incredible. Off in the distance we could see the smoke from the top of the mountain and after the sun set could see the trail of fire making its way down to the sea.

Flowing Lava 2Flowing Lava 1

For our hike back to our vehicles, our tour guides provided us with headlamps so we could maneuver the environment safely. I actually had a lot of fun getting back. Stepping carefully onto solid ground and not into crevasses reminded me of the childhood game “don’t touch the ground it’s lava!” I had two twin beds in my room when I was little and was constantly rearranging them, whenever they were on two separate walls my brother and I would throw pillows on the floor and jump from pillow to pillow to reach the other bed, taking care not to fall onto the carpet. Except in this situation, you wanted to step on the (hardened) lava!

Lava Hike 2

Things to do on our next trip (aka things we didn’t have time for but wanted to see)

  • Lava Tree State Monument; Highway 132. In 1970 10-foot-deep lava flowed through the forest from Kilauea Volcano hardened around trees which burned away. The molds from these trees still stand.
  • A local we met at Kona de Pele in Kailua-Kona recommended we drive along Red Road for one of the most scenic drives on the island.
  • Ahalanui Beach Park. At this park the waters in the “hot pond” reach up to 90degrees. For my thin Florida blood, this is perfect water temperature.
  • Kumukahi Lighthouse. Cape Kumukahi is the easternmost point in the state and boasts the freshest air! This lighthouse survived the lava flows from Kilauea Volcano that wiped out the town of Kapoho.

Hawaii: The Big Island: Hilo

Hilo was probably my favorite district in Hawaii County. Hilo is on the rainy side of the island which results in fewer tourists than Kailua-Kona, lush green landscapes, and plenty of waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls is the most famous waterfall in Hilo, and as its name suggests, boasts beautiful rainbows… at the right time of day. We did not reach Rainbow Falls until close to sunset, so the lighting wasn’t right for us to see Rainbow Falls in all of its glory but it’s still beautiful. We followed another couple through a path to the left of the falls through a lightly wooded area, through high grasses and over some rocks, finding ourselves on top of the falls! I wouldn’t recommend this excursion as the river could start flowing because of rains upstream and you’d find yourself in a very dangerous situation. But, there we were so Stuart braved a peek over the top of the falls to capture an image of the falls from a different perspective, while I did my best to stay calm.

Rainbow Falls

Country CoffeeA new little coffee shop, Country Cafe opened across from Rainbow Falls. We stopped on in and we didn’t leave with just coffee. We purchased Rare Hawaiian Organic Kiawe Honey. This honey is unlike any you’ve ever tasted. It’s actually white! The following is taken straight from the label, “Organic Kiawe Honey is gathered from an isolated forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. The deep roots of the Kiawe trees have tapped an underground aquifer of fresh water that flows down from the volcanoes. This forest is in a desert and no other vegetation has tapped the aquifer, allowing the bees to collect Kiawe nectar of exceptional purity and quality.” I haven’t figure out a unique way to use this honey yet, but as soon as I do a recipe will make its way to Sew You Think You Can Cook!

Le Magic PanIt doesn’t seem like we did a lot in Hilo, but there was a lot we wanted to do. So why is it my favorite district? Honestly, because of one little restaurant and the best meal we’ve ever had. Le Magic Pan is an adorable French restaurant specializing in crepes in Downtown Hilo. We started our night with a cup of French Onion Soup. Stuart ordered the Polish dinner crepe with Polish sausage, tomatoes, mushroom, olives, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. I went off menu with their special of the night, spicy shrimp, tomatoes, basil, and avocado. It’s actually impossible to go to a crepe restaurant and not get dessert – I wouldn’t even dare you to try it because not getting a dessert crepe would be a sin! We split the Italian crepe with nutella, bananas, and whipped cream. They even added strawberries at my request! We actually tried to return to Le Magic Pan the next night for a dessert crepe, but didn’t reach Hilo after our excursion in Puna before closing. I am now determined to master the art of crepe making. Note: These photos were taken with a cell phone and do not do Le Magic Pan justice!

Without a doubt, our next trip to the Big Island will include lodging in Hilo!

Things to do on our next trip (aka things we didn’t have time for but wanted to see)

  • Hilo Farmer’s Market; corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. This farmer’s market opened 25 years ago in 1988 and now has 125 vendors selling local produce, flowers, and fish. The farmer’s market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7-noon.
  • Pe’epe’e Falls & Boiling Pots; Wainuenue Avenue. A little past Rainbow Falls is a dramatic series of waterfalls that crash into pools of swirling water that appear to be boiling.
  • Wai’ale Falls; Wainuenue Avenue. Going further down Wainuenue Avenue and hiking a quarter mile through forest will take you to the top of Wai’ale Falls and a view of the ocean.
  • Kaumana Caves; Kaumana Drive. The Kaumana Caves were formed in 1981 by an eruption from the volcano Mauna Loa.
  • Yoga Centered; 37 Waianuenue Ave. We thought it could be fun to try a yoga class in Hawaii, what better way to find inner peace than in the most beautiful of locations? Yoga Centered offers vinyasa yoga classes and has a drop-in rate of $15. Check out their website at!

Hawaii: The Big Island: Hamakua

When your destination is the end of the road, you know you can’t get lost. Highway 240 dead-ends at the Waipi’o Valley lookout. Looking out from the top of cliffs is spectacular. The ocean’s shade of blue rivals that of Crayola, and the greens of the valley equally vibrant. Waves crash along the black sand beach 2000 feet below.

Waipi'o Valley Lookout

The Hi’ilawe Falls are nestled in the Waipi’o Valley and I wanted to see them. At 1450 feet, Hi’ilawe Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state. It took us around 45 minutes to climb down the one mile 25% grade road to where we could see the falls from a distance. (There isn’t a trail to get to the foot of the falls.) During periods of heavy rain you might see two streams flowing down the cliff.

Hi'ilawe Falls

After catching a glimpse of the waterfall we headed to the black sand beach where we stopped and ate our packed lunch. Don’t forget to look up and see how far you hiked! On our hike to the beach we saw wild horses and the skeleton of a jeep that we can only infer fell down the cliff.

Waipi'o Valley

Hiking back up the 2000 feet was not a picnic. It was slow going up the steep road, and the temptation to hitchhike a ride back up very great. We stopped often along to the way to rehydrate and snap some more pictures. I have to admit, that I was impressed it still only took us 45 minutes to make it back to the Wiapi’o Valley lookout.

Akaka Falls State ParkIf you don’t want to make the exhausting trip to see the Hi’ilawe Falls, there is a more beautiful and easily accessible waterfall in Hamakua. Akaka Falls State Park is home to not only the most beautiful waterfall on the island, Akaka Falls, but also Kahuna Falls. Both are located along a boardwalk trail Circle Route. Catching a glimpse of Kahuna Falls from the boardwalk isn’t easy and the waterfall is only 100 feet, but “why not?” Continue to follow Circle Route to Akaka Falls, stopping to look at the fauna of the rain-forest around you.

Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls

Hawaii: The Big Island: Ka’u

I thought it would be fun to check out the three different colored sands on the Big Island – black, white, and green. South Point, in the district of Ka’u, is the home to one of only four green sand beaches in the world. I wish I could tell you that the olivine sand is stunning, but regrettingly I cannot.

To get to the green sand beach you must drive ten miles down South Point Road. At this point you can continue to go straight a couple hundred yards and stand in the southern most point of the United States or you can go left for a mile to park for the green sands beach Papakolea.

Once you park your vehicle it’s a 2.5 mile hike to hit the green sands. If you decide to take this trek, don’t do it in flip flops, and have water with you. Even though we had a beach day planned, we were still prepared with hiking boots in the car. The walk is windy but beautiful. The color of the water is unrealistically turquoise and the power of the waves stunning. So the trip wasn’t a complete loss. Note: These photographs have not been edited or changed.

Turquoise Waters

Our day to the southern tip of Hawaii was the day of my birthday. And I’m going to admit off the bat that I was a big birthday baby. I had really wanted to sit by the hotel pool and have a couple daiquiris, but at the same time I didn’t want to waste a day either! So we decided that we’d come back to Kailua-Kona before dark; which actually put me back into my rush rush rush mentality. But on the way to the car from breakfast we found sea turtles Seth and Sandy! (previous post) An hour and a half later we finally hit the road. 

South Point

About a mile into the walk to the green sand beach I’d called it quits. There was another beach I’d wanted to see that was known for sea turtle spottings and still wanted to get back before sunset. The sand we’d been trekking through was a greenish-yellow, if that counts?

At Punalu’u I was relieved to see a turtle feeding in the rocks and laying on the beach and another laying on the beach. This sand was the blackest of the previous two black sand beaches we’d seen on the trip. It was what Stuart pictured in his mind. 

Punalu'u Turtles

PhotoGrid_1378952743416After the beach and after coming to terms with missing sunset in Kailua-Kona, we decided to stop at the Southernmost restaurant in the US, Hana Hou, in Na’alehu. It was here that we tried the Hawaiian fast food Loco Moco. Traditionally Loco Moco is white rice, brown gravy, hamburger patty, two over easy eggs. There are variations that change out the meat choice. Our waitress said that their best was with shredded pork. Stuart and I shared a large plate of it, and still couldn’t finish it – serving sizes in Hawaii are huge! I wasn’t completely convinced by the ingredient list, and it’s not the most beautiful of dishes, but let me tell you – it’s surprisingly delicious, and comforting.

The day may not have gone as I’d planned, but a “bad” day in Hawaii is never a bad day. And a day seeing sea turtles is a good day. The sea turtle, or honu, is a symbol of longevity and is the guardian of family.


Hawaii: The Big Island: Mauna Kea

After every trip, my father would always ask, “What was your favorite part?” It’s never an easy question to answer.  I cheated in my response after this vacation… I have a favorite activity and a favorite experience. I’ve already covered my favorite activity, it is now time for my favorite experience.

On Saturday night we decided to drive up to Mauna Kea. The summit of Mauna Kea is the home to the world’s largest astronomical observatory. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano and the highest point in Hawaii reaching 13,796 ft above sea level. Reaching the summit requires acclimation at the Onizuka Visitor Information Station for 30 minutes; the center is at an altitude of 9300 feet. We stopped at the visitor’s station as rental cars are not allowed on Summit Rd. If you want to see the observatory and the summit you can pay for an excursion.

Summit RoadTo get to the Onizuka Center, take Saddle Road and turn onto Summit Road and climb 2500 feet in 6 miles. It was so fun to drive through “fog” which wasn’t fog in the typical context, you’re actually driving through the clouds you were staring up at only moments ago from sea level! Once making it through the “fog” the sky is completely clear.

We hiked a little ways across from the visitor’s station to watch the sunset from above the clouds. Even before the sun started to set we were cold. I packed jeans and jackets, but I’d never thought to pack gloves on a trip to Hawaii! The best dollar spent was for a cup of hot chocolate at the Onizuka Center. We hunkered down from the wind behind a pile of rocks and watched the most spectacular sunset while we ate our sandwiches. (When hikes are on the agenda, I like to make a stop at the grocery store and pick up deli meat, cheese, bread and snacks to always have food on hand while we’re out.)

Sunset above the Clouds

I typically watch a sunset from the beach and love watching the sun disappear into the water, but watching the sunset from above the clouds was equally, if not more, stunning. As the colors in the sky continued to shift the clouds began to emulate waves and the rays of remaining sunshine illuminating the neighboring clouds like lava. Stuart titled our sunset photos “The Lava of the Sky”.

...wish I may, wish I might...
…wish I may, wish I might…

In the down time between setting sun and total darkness we went back to the car to warm up! But not before snapping a picture of the first star of the night.

Photography is a new hobby of ours and we were anxious to try and snap a few photos of the night sky. And we weren’t the only ones with tripods handy. Our novice skill set yielded only one non-solid-black photo. I had to do some editing, and you may have to tilt your computer screen to see it but here’s what we could capture. The sky was so clear that I saw the smallest of stars that go undetected on the mainland. The Onizuka Center has a free star-gazing program during which they show a documentary and provide opportunities to look through telescopes. 

Night Sky