Tuesday, August 31, 2021

$680 Car Repair

My car is 8 years old and has only 45,000 miles on it.  It started stuttering a few months back.  It would happen infrequently, maybe once every few miles or so, and was sometimes very subtle, but it made me nervous to drive.  

I took my car to my long-time mechanic who usually does my 6-month oil change and regular maintenance.  It didn't surprise me that he couldn't recreate the stuttering and therefore was unable to do any repair work.  The only solution was to keep driving until the problem worsened and became diagnosable.  

A few days later while on the Servco Kaimuki website looking for the price of a new car, I noticed that I could easily book an appointment to have my car serviced there.  The soonest time they had was in 3 weeks, but it was so easy to schedule and with no other options, I booked it.

The Servco mechanic also couldn't reproduce the stuttering.  But they did recommend a two-step "BG intake cleaning" and spark plug replacement to start. 

That did the trick.  My car is now running as smooth as silk (knock on wood). 

My bill shows the use of a GDI Fuel Kit which I learned while researching is a "powerful treatment which introduces chemicals and cleaners to the right areas of your entire fuel system - dissolving and cleaning accumulated buildup."

The following info is from torque.com. 


Carbon is a by-product of the combustion process, which happens as your engine burns fuel.

Think of your engine as a fireplace or barbecue pit. When you burn wood, the by-product is the soot or carbon that coats the sides.

The same is true for car engines. Carbon builds up in the cylinders, intake and exhaust valves.


Today’s petrol and engine oils are formulated with additives to help keep carbon buildup in check. Ensure that you use quality fuels and change your oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

A good engine oil is formulated with a degree of detergency to clean up these deposits. The carbon deposits will then be pulled away from the metal parts and trapped in the oil filter.

This underscores the importance of changing your oil and filter regularly!


If carbon buildup is bad enough, a few symptoms will appear. Rough engine idling is one sign. Poor acceleration would be another.

If your hear knocking/pinging, that could signify very bad levels of carbon buildup.

And so, in an effort to prevent or reduce further carbon buildup I've decided to switch to a name-brand gasoline.  I chose Texaco because the station near me is very spacious.  😆

Screen Shot 2021-08-26 at 10.07.21 AM

Sunday, August 29, 2021

On Da Desk

I bought a tube of Daniel Smith's Lunar Black watercolor paint.  And even though I already have a bunch of different black paints, none of them look all grainy and cool like this one.  So I had to get it.  Right?


Friday, August 27, 2021

Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley soup used to be my favorite Campbell's soup back in the day.  I decided to try and make it.

It was easier to make than I expected and it came out super ono!  I wanted a soupier broth than the stew in the Food Wishes video that I followed so I added an extra cup of chicken broth (5 cups instead of 4).  Also, I didn't have dried rosemary and I didn't need to add more "salt to taste".  

I bought the beef shank and barley from Whole Foods. 


Ingredients for four servings:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef shank (2 thick slices), seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced carrots 
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup pearl or naked barley
salt to taste

- Cook beef shank until tender, then remove, and cook the barley in the stewing liquid until tender. Heat beef in cooked barley.

Here is the video: 

And here's my handwritten recipe.  I'll be making it again soon.  It was a really big hit and got demolished in no time.  You should try.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Kickin' Kajun

We ordered take-out from Kickin' Kajun on Keeaumoku for Landon's birthday. 

This is the 6-Pounder Combo ($170) and Fried Calamari with Garlic Fries ($14).  It was super ono.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Mini Electric Drill

I have a lot of little plastic toy figurines that are cute, but I'd been thinking that they'd be even cuter as charms dangling from something.   

Last month or so, I saw a mini drill on Lightening Deal on Amazon which looked perfect for my needs so I bought it.  It was about $14.

Here's the drill.


Here's a video of me using the drill.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Dd's Veal Marsala

This looks so yummy to me.  Especially with the PASTA!!!

veal marsala




4 veal cutlets, approximately 3 oz. each

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

¼ c. all-purpose flour

1+1+1 TB butter

1+1 TB olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. mushrooms, sliced

¼ c. sweet marsala

¼ c. chicken broth

¼ tsp. thyme

Salt, freshly ground black pepper



In a shallow dish season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge veal cutlets with flour. 


In a skillet over medium heat brown cutlets in 1 TB of butter and 1 TB of oil, about 

1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a plate. 

Add remaining butter and 1 TB of oil into skillet. Saute shallot and garlic just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and saute until tender and the juices evaporate, about 3 minutes. 

Add marsala and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Add broth and thyme. Simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. 

Return veal with juices to skillet. Cook just until heated through, turning to coat, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 TB of butter into sauce. Season as needed with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Cutting the Line

I subscribe to Ocean Conservation Namibia's YouTube videos.  Yesterday they shared a glimpse of their upcoming documentary project.  I look forward to watching it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Southern Fried Cabbage with Bacon and Sausage (and Spam)

I was so hungry when I made this that I ate it for dinner at 3:00 in the afternoon.  I liked it a lot.

IMG_8564 2

The instructions are in the video below.  I used:

8 pieces of bacon
1/2 pound-ish of sausage
Leftover spam
1 small head of cabbage
1 large onion
4 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. maybe cajun seasoning (not really sure what this was)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

"Like New"

Do you remember the craft weaving loops that I got from Amazon for half price because the packaging was damaged?  If not, you can check out the story here.  

Last month, I decided to try again.  This time with a desk lamp.  The lamp was selling for $13.  A "like new - packaging will be damaged" one was going for $8.  

This is what the mailman delivered.  Ho!  The packaging was totally damaged.  LOL.IMG_8429

And the lamp?  Not "like new" at all.  There were scuff marks all over and a huge crack at the base.  Luckily, Amazon makes returns so easy now.  No need even put in a box or attach a label.  

You just take your item in hand to a UPS store and show them the QR code which Amazon will send you when returning something, and that's it. 

Too bad the lamp didn't work out, but now I know . . . "like new" may not really be.IMG_8433

Friday, August 13, 2021

One Biiiiiig Avocado

Wendell's friend gave him this huge avocado a few days ago.  He said that he was driving past his niece's house on the way to their softball practice when he saw it on the ground in her yard.  So he stopped and picked it up.  A bit of a strange story, no?

Anyway, no matter 'cause I scored.


The seed was big, yet it had a lot of flesh.  At first I wasn't quite sure what I was gonna make with it.

I cubed half of the avocado and saved the other half for later.  I mashed it up a little and added the juice from half a lemon.  The lemon was really juicy.  Guess where it came from.

Damn Rabbit neighbor's tree.  Kinda funny yah since it was Damn Rabbit that ate up a bunch of my lemon seedling plants 8 years ago.  Actually, I think it's a different family living there now.

A good amount of fruit-bearing branches are extending over into our yard.  

But anyway, I digress.  I added chopped up cilantro, salt and pepper . . . 

and made an avocado/bacon/tomato toast!!   It was yummy!!

And then I did this.  Oh oh.  Some of you might remember what happened the last time I did this.  If not, you can click here to see. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I'd been thinking of making some kind of tomato and mozzarella salad for awhile, but wasn't sure what would be the best (easiest) way to do it. 

Then, lo and behold, like magic the answer appeared on Maybeitsjenny.  Jenny made a pasta salad and used a store-bought (Sam's) marinated mozzarella that seemed like it would be perfect for me.

I put 3 cut-up Roma tomatoes into a bowl and added some (sorry, dunno the amounts) marinated mozzarella, Thai basil, olives, and salami slices.


Then I made a half batch of Jenny's dressing below and added that.  It was winnahs!!!  Thanks Jenny!!

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients
2 T honey
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced or grated
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

This is the marinated mozzarella that I used.  It was from Costco.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Wendell's Tofu and Green Beans with Chili Crisp

This dish is right up my alley.  I love this kind of food.  Wendell got the recipe from the Crave section of the newspaper.  It's originally from The New York Times Kitchen.

I think it caught his eye because it makes use of the Chinese black vinegar that he recently bought from the Asian Market.  It was ono!  I woulda totally had this with choke rice if I wasn't dieting. Yummmm!



3 tablespoons chili crisp condiment, plus more for serving 
3 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 ½ tablespoons Chinese black vinegar 
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil 
1 teaspoon honey 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
2 tablespoons chopped scallions 
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slabs 
¾ pound green beans 
1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed 
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 


Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a baking dish or casserole, whisk together the chili crisp, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, scallions and cilantro. 

Add the tofu slices to the dish, and coat them with the sauce, then allow to marinate for as long as it takes to heat the oven and trim the green beans. 

Add the green beans to a large sheet pan, then drizzle the neutral oil on top and toss to coat. Slide the green beans to the sides of the pan, and arrange the slices of tofu in an even layer in the center of the pan. Pour remaining marinade over the tofu, and place in oven. 

Roast until the green beans start to blister, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately with rice and extra chili crisp on the side.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Diet Update

After one month of dieting I lost just 6 pounds.  For this next month I probably need to up my game and be more active or skip dinner once in awhile. But I no like.  Maybe I'll save that for the following month.  😂

august 5

The best, best thing is my discovery of overnight oats.  I promise . . . they're there underneath all that fruit, nuts, honey and milk.  I've been eating this every other day for lunch.  I would have it every day, but I'm small-kine worried that maybe it's too much sweetness.

At any rate, the diet continues . . . 


Thursday, August 5, 2021

Dd's Beef Birria Tacos

Looks so good yah!  Maybe someday I'll be able to make this myself.

birria taco




2 dried ancho chiles

2 dried New Mexico chiles

3 dried arbol chiles

1 medium onion, chunks

2 large Roma tomatoes, quartered

4 cloves garlic, peeled

3 c. beef broth

2 # chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 TB vegetable oil

¼ c. apple cider vinegar

1 TB coriander

1 TB cumin

2 tsp. oregano

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves


6-10 each 3-6” corn tortillas**

1 small onion, minced

½ bunch cilantro, leaves

1 c. Jalapeno Jack cheese, shredded


In a skillet over medium heat toast chiles until slightly charred on each side about 2-3 minutes. 

In a saucepan over medium heat combine chiles, onion, tomatoes, garlic and broth. Bring to a 

boil; reduce heat. Simmer 15-18 minutes. With an immersion blender process until smooth. 

In a large saucepot over medium heat brown beef in batches. Into saucepot return beef along with 

chile puree and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. 

Simmer 2 hours until beef is tender. Check every 20 minutes to make sure beef is submerged in liquid. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Remove beef from pot; shred with 2 forks. Set aside. 

Keep remaining sauce warming on stove. 


Set up stove station with flat top grill or 2 skillets.

Set up working station: Into deep shallow dish, large enough to fit tortillas, ladle out 2 cups of sauce. 

Portion out shredded beef, onion, cilantro and cheese into bowls. Dip tortillas into sauce coating both 

sides well. Place into skillets or flat top grill over medium heat. Allow to warm 2 minutes until slightly 

crisp. Turn tortillas over. Spoon shredded beef, top with cheese, onion and cilantro onto half of tortilla. 

Continue cooking 1 minute.  Fold open end of tortilla over fillings. Flip over. Cook 1-2 more minutes 

until crisp. Remove to serving plates. Spoon warmed sauce into dipping bowls. 

For service serve with favorite Mexican Rice and or salad. Serves 3-4. 


**Note: Recommend “corn” tortillas vs. flour to maintain that crispness you want for tacos. 

2nd Note: Freeze 2 tablespoon portions of any remaining sauce. Add to Mexican rice, beans, salsa,

or soup.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Blood Pressure

I've been on high blood pressure medicine for I-don't-remember how many years now.  I'm pretty consistent in taking daily readings, and lately my pressure has been really low, sometimes falling below 100 for the top number.

I talked to my doctor about it and told her that I sometimes get lightheaded.  I'm not sure if it's my weight loss (still only 5 pounds), my daily walks, my attempts at meditation, or the recent change in my diet. Maybe it's all of the above.

She told me to cut my dose in half for now and to continue monitoring.  I wonder if it'll be possible for me to get off the meds someday. 


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Edamame Salad

I got the recipe for this dish from my cousin V.  I might've gone overboard on the bacon, and maybe shoulda called this Bacon Salad with Edamame.  I forgot to buy celery so it's not included.  I didn't miss that at all.  This is a 1/2 recipe.  Except for the bacon. 😂


3660 on the Rise Edamame Salad

2-1/2 pounds shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
2 small stalks celery, diced
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
1/2 cup bacon bits
» Dressing:
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine edamame, celery and lettuce; toss.

Combine dressing ingredients; whisk until well combined. Toss with vegetables. Top with cheese and bacon bits.   Serves 6.

Tips from V:   I substitute the broccoli for the iceberg lettuce and marinate the broccoli overnight or at least several hours before.  
This is a big recipe so the dressing is a LOT!   I make half recipe of everything plus I cut down the sugar.