Browsed by
Author: Stone House Rock

Ahi Poke Recipe

Ahi Poke Recipe

When we were in Hawaii, we had ahi poke quite a bit. There are literally dozens of recipes that you can follow. All of them come back to one thing: fresh, chopped, raw ahi tuna.

I’ve just started making ahi poke at home, and my husband and I love it! In fact, we just saw a recipe in Sunset magazine for Poke Nachos… which we’ll have to try soon.

Ahi Poke is delicious, but you have to take certain precautions.

  1. Buy fresh ahi tuna and use it that same day! Fish doesn’t last very long in the fridge – just a couple of days. If I’m going to eat something raw, I make sure to eat it the same day I buy it! Also, try to make sure that it’s “sashimi-grade” ahi tuna that you buy.
  2. Eat it pretty quickly after making it. Ahi poke is not a meal that you want to make and marinate over a period of hours of days. Give it 15 minutes at the most to let the flavors set in.

We love this recipe and I usually make it with brown rice and then buy seaweed salad at the grocery store to go with it. I could make my own seaweed salad, but that seems like too much work! 🙂

Also, this recipe is super quick to make – it takes much longer to make the rice than making the dish! I’d recommend making your rice earlier in the week or earlier that day. 15-30 minutes before you want to eat, start making the ahi poke.

Ahi Poke with Brown Rice and Seaweed Salad

Ahi Poke Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • 12 oz fresh, lean tuna, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, just a pinch

Directions:

Add tuna, onion, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil and honey to bowl. Mix it together gently. Season with a small pinch of salt and crushed red pepper. Take a quick taste and adjust with more of the sauce/seasoning ingredients as needed.

Eat immediately or let sit up to 15 minutes at room temperature.

Serve on top of rice and enjoy!

Big Island, Hawaii 2016 – Travel Tuesday

Big Island, Hawaii 2016 – Travel Tuesday

We went to the Big Island in Hawaii in February of this year. I know, I know… I’m very behind in posting a recap! We planned the trip so we could attend a destination wedding, but it turned into a nearly three week trip of awesomeness. One we landed on the Big Island, we headed over to Hilo where we’d be for a week. Here are some of my favorite moments from that part of the trip.

Liliuokalani Park and Gardens

Hawaii 2016

Liliuokalani Park and Gardens are beautiful! They are located in Hilo and are a fun spot to wander for a couple hours. It’s completely flat and well-maintained so you can wear flip flops and stroll.

Hawaii 2016

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawaii 2016

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a nonprofit botanical garden and nature preserve. It’s located north of Hilo. The paths are paved within the garden, but there are very steep portions and I highly recommend tennis shoes instead of flip flops. There are also mosquitoes aplenty – so load up on that bug spray!
Hawaii 2016

loved the botanical gardens and we could have easily spent a whole day there. I think we spent about 4 hours besides the driving time.

Volcano National Park

We spent two partial days exploring Volcano National Park and enjoying all that it has to offer. The views of the volcano were fun, the hikes were nice and the Volcano Restaurant was incredible! If you have the time, make reservations for Volcano Restaurant. The food was great and the views can be stellar. Make your reservation for sunset – you’ll see the crater start to glow. Unfortunately for us, it fogged over as soon as we sat down! That  can happen from time to time.

Here is a selfie with the smoking crater in the background. 
Hawaii 2016

At night you can actually see the red glow emanating from the crater!

Hawaii 2016

Baha’i Devotional in HiloHawaii 2016

We were able to get in touch with some local Baha’is and were invited for dinner and devotions in Hilo. It was great to meet some other Baha’is from another part of the globe and found out that some of them actually have family in Seattle! What a small world.

Green Sand Beach

We drove to the south tip of the island and hiked to Green Sand Beach on our last day in Hilo. It was by far one of three stand out moments of the trip. (The other two being the wedding and our manta ray experience – see next week’s post.)

To get to Green Sand Beach, you drive to the south tip of the island and park your car. You then either hire a jeep to take you out or you hike the three miles. We opted to hike! We did catch a ride back at the end.

Hawaii 2016

This is us about halfway along the hike. If you do the hike – bring plenty of water and sunscreen. My shoulders hated me after this!Hawaii 2016

Here is our first view of Green Sand Beach in a beautiful cove! The water looks so majestic and the sand has olive undertones. (See below for the close-up of the sand!)

Hawaii 2016

An obligatory green sand selfie:Hawaii 2016

We drove to the southern most tip of the island after that, which happens to be the southern most point in all of the United States. With a flair of creativity, it’s name is South Point.

Hawaii 2016

Check in next week for part two of our Hawaii 2016 recap!

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

I am really loving our new kitchen. It is a dream. I have plenty of space to spread out while cooking and, if we have friends over, I can continue to socialize while focusing on the food.

Recently, I tried a Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup recipe that I found on the Food Network website. The recipe is fairly simple and takes less than an hour total cook and prep time. And, it’s really good!Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

I will admit that it was odd eating this in July. It seems like it’d be better suited for Thanksgiving or the winter season. Either way, you should try it!

My favorite part is that the recipe also calls you to make some sweet potato chips to go along with the soup. Yum! My chips ended up a little crisper than I wanted, but  parts of them weren’t cooking all the way through. I need to get better at using my mandolin slicer!

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

In addition to the soup, we had kebab and sauteed kale. My kebabs are basically like small hamburgers, except using a Persian kebab recipe.

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

So, do you want to try this soup?

Click here for the Food Network’s recipe and let me know what you think!

 

Summer 2016 Updates

Summer 2016 Updates

The summer has officially gotten away from me! We have been so incredibly busy that I haven’t found a moment to think about the blog or work on crafts!

Much of what we’ve done this summer will be mentioned in future posts – specifically the awesome patio my husband completed last week, our California wedding trip, and our Oregon white water rafting trip. Today, I want to share some of the other things I’ve done this summer.

Insanity

Insanity is a high-intensity interval training workout from Beachbody. The workouts are between 30 and 60 minutes long and it takes 9 weeks to complete with six days of workouts and one rest day each week. I started Insanity in mid-June and only adjusted the schedule to fit in my soccer games on Tuesdays. I just finished Insanity this past Sunday.

Insanity is tough! My whole body felt like it was falling apart after the first week. By the end of the first month, I felt like I had a handle on the workout… then, after a week of “recovery workouts” (note: these are tough too!), the second month began with the Max Insanity workouts. The Max workouts are even worse! Either way… I persevered and made it through the whole program.Insanity - Summer 2016

Every two weeks, I completed the Insanity Fit Test, which is a set of eight exercises. You do each exercise for one minute, completing as many as you can do in that time frame. After a 30 second break you start the next exercise. As you can see below, the amount I did within a minute improved each week! I feel that this is a great way to track the change from the beginning to end of Insanity, rather than focusing on my weight or anything like that.

Over the course of Insanity I gained two pounds and lost an inch around my waist! I feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely now have more endurance on the soccer field.
Insanity Fit Test Results - Summer 2016
I really enjoy Insanity, but my body needs a rest. I’m looking forward to taking it a little easier for awhile – perhaps just running outside and enjoying this beautiful summer!

Harry Potter

I have to admit that I stayed up and went to the midnight release of the new Harry Potter book and then read it all the next morning when I woke up!

I won’t give any spoilers in case you haven’t read it – but just be prepared. Firstly, J.K. Rowling isn’t the only author for this book. It likely was the other two authors’ idea/writing and Rowling simply signed off on the story line. Secondly, it’s a play. The writing is not in the book format where you know everything that Harry is thinking and feeling. The play sets the scene and then only tells you what the characters are saying. Lastly, this isn’t the eighth Harry Potter book. It is set 19 years in the future and the main characters are split between Harry’s generation and the next generation.

Keeping those things in mind, I really enjoyed the book! It has a pretty good story and is an easy read. I can understand how someone may be disappointed if they buy the book not knowing all of the three items I mentioned above.New Harry Potter Book - Summer 2016

Ping Pong… 

…lots and lots of ping pong.

We haven’t quite figured out where the ping pong table will go yet. It may fit nicely in the basement, but we haven’t yet set up that space yet. For now, it’s just hanging out on our deck. Eventually I’d love a nice outdoor couch or table and that won’t fit with the ping pong table on the deck. We’ll see what happens as we make decor decisions over the next year or two. For now, we’re all happy with a bit more ping pong in our lives. 🙂Being silly with Ping Pong - Summer 2016

Family Reunion

This past weekend, my  family went to my aunt’s beach cabin in Puget Sound. My sister and family from Texas flew in for the weekend! We enjoyed a relaxing Saturday in 95 degree weather by sitting around and chatting, playing bean bag toss, taking the boat out and jumping in the water, and eating a ton. In all, a very fun day!Beach Cabin - Summer 2016

Much of the family stayed overnight at the beach cabin, but we left in the evening to go home as we still had a ton of work to do on projects!

These are just a few of the things we’ve been doing this summer. Have a wonderful and sun-filled end of your summer!

Spicy Guacamole Recipe

Spicy Guacamole Recipe

I made many snacks for our housewarming party. I like to think that all of them were very delicious, but I got feedback on my guacamole, that it was “addictive”! Today, I’m going to share my recipe with you. 🙂

Guacamole

Spicy Guacamole Recipe:

  • 5 small avocados
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes (fresh limes, not the juice in a bottle)
  • Salt to taste

I mix it all up and taste test, adding more lime juice and salt as needed. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Spicy Guacamole!

What’s your favorite guacamole recipe? 

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like this post? Please subscribe to receive new posts via email!”]

Housewarming Party!

Housewarming Party!

We held our housewarming party earlier this month. It was a two-part party: open house in the afternoon and then board game night all evening long. Literally all evening, since the last game ended at 1 AM.

Dining roomI spent all week doing the final organization of the house, hanging the last picture frames on the walls, and so on. (Note the lightsabers on the wall in the photo above!) On Friday night and Saturday morning, I did a full house cleaning as all our little projects and moving in seemed to bring in a ton of dirt and dust!

Here’s the way the house looked for the party. As you can tell, we still have no blinds. We had the Bali Blinds book out to let people give us their ideas for blind colors. Living area

We don’t currently have a dining set (since our previous place had no dining room), so we’re happy with our folding tables and chairs for the moment. The rest of this area is so comfortable though, complete with the lightsabers on the wall! Yes, we do actually play with them… our neighbors say they’ve seen us have epic battles, as we have no shades yet, ha!

Anyways, going back to the housewarming – I had a lot of fun prepping all the food. We provided fruit skewers, chips and guacamole, veggie tray, tomato and mozzarella on bread, brownies, and chocolate covered almonds during the open house and then burgers and tater tots during game night.

Mmm food!

Here are some close-ups of the food:

Fruit SkewersGuacamole!Mozzarella, tomato and basilBy the way, these are the best brownies ever… the Ghiradelli brownie mix from Costco. Cook them for 5 minutes under what the recipe says and let cool. Best. Thing. Ever.

Ghiradelli brownies....Anyways, we had about 35 guests over the course of the day and evening and had a blast! I’m excited to continue to have people over, host more parties as well as smaller dinners or game nights with friends, and hosting more Baha’i events. Woohoo!

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like this post? Please subscribe to receive new posts via email!”]

Thoughts About Our Kitchen

Thoughts About Our Kitchen

I’m in love with our new kitchen. It is seriously so, so incredible. You’ll probably find me spending hours in this area!New Kitchen

We love to entertain. And, for me, the heart of entertaining is in the kitchen with the food. Our new kitchen is wide open to the living and dining areas, which makes me so happy! I don’t want to be shut in the kitchen while all the guests are elsewhere. This way I can still talk with people while finishing up the cooking or cleaning.

We have a subway tile back splash, white cabinets, an actual pantry (currently sans the shelves – another project for the summer), a big farm sink with the most awesome faucet ever, and some fascinating light fixtures that add a lot of character to the room. 

Coffee and Tea Area

Besides moving in, the first project I worked on in the new house was our coffee and tea area. My husband and I have guests over all the time. One of those things that we provide to our guests every time they come over is tea or coffee. This was our set-up at the old place:

As you can tell from the photo, our coffee and tea area was all over the place at our old house. We had our teas and selection of tea infusers hanging on the wall. To the left of the stove was our espresso maker and to the right of the stove was our hot water heater (along with our toaster, spices, and fruits/vegetables). To say the least… our kitchen was very crowded.

Instead of this mess, I created an actual tea and coffee area! The tea now lives in its own drawer. The counter top above that drawer has a nice silver tray that was gifted to us from a family member. I still need to find two clear jars that can hold our ground coffee and our Persian tea, as those are our go-to beverages. The tray will hold the two glass jars in addition to all our fun tea infusers.

The DIY part of this project was the creation of the coffee sign! I bought a used frame from Goodwill for 99 cents plus tax and bought chalkboard paint on Amazon. I have a ton of chalkboard paint left, and I’m sure I’ll make use of it sometime. Any ideas for what else I should do with the paint?Coffee sign

I  painted three coats of the chalkboard paint directly onto the glass. After the last coat dried, I put it back into the frame and drew the phrase and picture on with chalk. I’ll have to see how it holds up. I may splurge on a white paint pen if the chalk keeps getting messed up.

Here is the finished product! We decided to also keep the soda stream and blender in the same area (just to the right, outside the photo below), so as to keep all the drink making supplies together.DIY Coffee Sign

I’m very happy with the way it turned out. What do you think?

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like this post? Please subscribe to receive new posts via email!”]

New House and New Blog Name!

New House and New Blog Name!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. We’ve been extremely busy and it’s all because…We just bought a house! I am so excited to turn this beautiful house into our home. 

Our new house!

What’s the House Like?

I’m glad you asked about the house! It’s almost our dream-home. We were living in a little townhouse and we’ve definitely been happy there, but I can say that it was very cozy. After getting married and moving in, we suddenly had too much stuff and not enough storage. The entire townhouse has two closets, one in each bedroom. No coat closet, no pantry, and no linen closet. (I might add that my folks still had a bed, about 10 boxes of books, and numerous other things that they were waiting to hand over to me.)

My husband and I started half-heartedly house hunting last fall, but didn’t get serious about it until this February. Our biggest requirements were that there were spaces for my husband’s media center and my craft room and that the living floor was a great space for entertaining. Our other desires were to have an extra room for a guest bedroom, a garage, and be located within a 15-minute drive of my husband’s job.

New dining room

We didn’t get everything on that list, but we got almost everything. The one big item that is missing is the garage (we do have a short driveway though). It’s close to work, close to a few parks and has plenty of space for entertaining and our own hobbies. A major perk is that every bedroom has a walk-in closet and vaulted ceilings!

So, what’s next?

We need to finish moving in and organizing. All our tools and garage stuff is still at the old place, so that’s next weekend’s task.  One of our best friends in the whole world is also going to move into one of the spare rooms! 

Here is my husband with our new roommate at Disney World a few years back:

Husband and new roomie

Anyways, moving on. The whole house is white and bright. I love it. I am excited to play with colors on our pillows, curtains and rugs. We also need to install a few things like pantry shelves. I am so, so excited to have a pantry! 

As we went through the house purchase and move, I obviously didn’t have time for writing blog posts. I thought about the blog a lot though, and after weeks of deliberation, have decided to change the blog’s name! Reflections of Happiness was a great fit when I started the blog, but my husband and I came up with a new name that I think sums this blog up perfectly: Stone House Rock.

This blog has turned into a journal about our life through travel, cooking and crafts. We really like how the title flows and sounds like School House Rock, but is also funny since stones are rocks. Ha! Okay, I get too much of a kick out of that. Oh, and our last name is Stone – thus why the whole thing works for us.

The blog transition will happen sometime in the next week or two. Once I’ve transitioned, I’ll be starting a schedule of posts with a weekly craft and a weekly recipe at the very least.

New kitchenOur house is a blank slate and I’m ready to get creative! If you know me personally, you know how much I love Pinterest and DIY projects. I already have a few selected that I’ve started working on for the decoration on the main floor. I can’t wait to share them with you!

Please subscribe if you’d like to see more about the DIY projects I take on in these coming months.

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like this post? Please subscribe to receive new posts via email!”]

You can also follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to see the projects I’m considering taking on and recipe ideas. 

Day 4 in Iceland: Horseback Riding

Day 4 in Iceland: Horseback Riding

On our last day in Iceland, we had about a half day to spend exploring before leaving for the airport. We booked a morning horseback riding excursion that would get us back to our rental at around 2 pm so that we could make our 5 pm flight back home.

Horseback Riding in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

Before leaving for the excursion, they brought us inside the farmhouse to sign waivers and put on waterproof gear. While waiting to sign my waiver, I saw this sign and laughed so much. Horseback Riding in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

It says: “For fast riders we have fast horses. For slow riders we have slow horses. For those who have never ridding we have horses that have never been ridden.” Hilarious!

Horseback Riding in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

My horse was named “The Princess” – I can’t pronounce the Icelandic version of that. She had a very sweet temperament and followed my instructions with a small squeeze of my feet or a light tug on the reins.  It definitely brought back memories of horse camp when I was a kid, which I attended for a couple of summers.
Horseback Riding in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

Just look how stunning Iceland is! Even with the clouds and light rain at times, the countryside is beautiful. I definitely want to return someday to drive the circle road and see more of the natural beauty that is Iceland.  Horseback Riding in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

After a 3-4 hour relaxing ride through the countryside, we arrived back at our rental and quickly finished packing. We got to the airport in plenty of time and had a relaxing 8-hour flight back home. Our Around-the-World Adventure was over!

Coming up in the next few months will be a recap of our Hawaii trip that we took this past February.

Day 3 in Iceland: Volcanic Veins Tour

Day 3 in Iceland: Volcanic Veins Tour

For our third day in Iceland we went on a “Voclanic Veins” caving tour with Extreme Iceland. This was my second favorite part of the trip! It started out with an hour long bus ride in which the tour guide pointed out what we were passing by and told us stories. He let us know that many Icelanders still believe in invisible elves that were a part of their belief system hundred of years ago. People paint doors on rocks all over the Icelandic countryside!

Anyways, after an hour of fun stories, we arrived here:

Volcanic Veins Tour, Iceland| Reflections of Happiness

And descended into this cave:

Volcanic Veins Tour, Iceland| Reflections of HappinessThe tour was quite fun. We had helmets, flashlights and gloves to protect us and make it so we could see. I definitely bumped the ceiling a few times and there were moments where we had to scramble/roll through a section no more than 2 feet high. Volcanic Veins Tour, Iceland| Reflections of HappinessIn the very back of the cavern, our tour guide had us all turn out our flashlights and stand very still for a period of a few minutes. We let our eyes adjust and realized that they wouldn’t every adjust because we were in “total darkness.” Of course, our group being awesome started talking about how this could be a great title to some sci fi movie. Then once we turned on our lights and started moving again…
Volcanic Veins Tour, Iceland| Reflections of Happiness …we found this totally alien looking sculpture hanging from the ceiling!Volcanic Veins Tour, Iceland| Reflections of Happiness

The cave portion of the day actually didn’t take all that long, but it was so fun to explore and see an actual lava tunnel.

Part of the reason why I loved this tour company was  the tour guide and his stories. On the way back, he had us stop at a fish bone drying farm (at least that’s what I called it.) Apparently they dry the fish/bones out and then grind it up into powder.

Fish Bone Drying Farm in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness Fish Bone Drying Farm in Iceland | Reflections of Happiness

After a short break when we returned (since it was only 1 pm), we went out into the city to explore. We went to the church in town and took a peek inside. If you pay a small fee you can go all the way up to the top of the tower! There was quite a nice view from up there.Reykjavik Church | Reflections of Happiness

We had dinner reservations at a very nice restaurant called Fridrik V, which I’ll cover in another post. While we waited for the reservation, we went to a museum that all the tour guides thus far had told us to visit: The Icelandic Phallological Museum. I’ll let you figure out what is displayed there… but the picture below will help you understand our reaction to all the various specimens from many different animals. Ha!At the Phallic Museum in Iceland