This was originally published in the Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network newsletter on 23 JANUARY 2014 – here’s a link to that newsletter – . This process is updated from an earlier blog, Chocolate, posted on April 27, 2012; see it for more photos.

cacaopodsandnibsCacao pods and seeds with pulp.

One of the many lovely things about Hawai’i is we can grow our own cacao or find the pods fresh for sale. Although making chocolate is pretty complex and involves some expensive equipment (Champion juicer, Cuisinart or melanger, molds), you can get a great chocolatey result from just using the nibs. Here is how to select a handful of fresh cacao pods and then ferment, dry, roast, and winnow them to create bitter yet delicious and nutritious nibs, and a few ways to use those nibs.

  1. Start with from six to 12 ripe pods. Their color at maturity differs by variety, but if they start green they turn a dark yellow when ripe, or if red when young, they turn orange. Also, as they ripen their accordion-like pleats open out. Another test for ripeness is to scrape a bit of skin with your fingernail; if it is still green underneath, the pod is not ripe.
  2. Open the pods by scoring with a knife or machete and then cracking open the shell without cutting through the seeds. The seeds, or beans, are held together by a white fuzzy mucilaginous pulp with a core. Here’s another test of ripeness – as the pods ripen, the seed mass pulls away from the outside of the pod and the beans are easy to pull apart. If the pods are not ripe, the beans will be too tightly packed together to separate from each other.
  3. For a treat, you can suck the pulp off of a few beans and spit out the beans. The pulp (technically called the “aril”) has a light, lemony, refreshing flavor, but the beans themselves are too bitter to eat raw. Leave most of the gooey aril on the beans, however, as it is needed for fermentation.
  4. Separate the beans, discard the cores, and place the beans in a Mason jar of a size that will fit them snugly but allow you to stir them. The pulp is the key to fermentation, but in a small batch you can ensure fermentation by sprinkling in around 1/4 teaspoon of baking yeast. Gently stir it in with a spoon. You also can try rubbing the beans on the underside of a banana leaf, which has a white bloom of yeast that I have heard is a natural fermenting agent. Since cacao is traditionally fermented in banana leaves, this makes sense, and it has worked for me several times, but I have not found verification.
  5. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band or a canning jar lid (although this is not anaerobic fermentation, a lid works fine). Place the jar where it will be quite warm, around 90-100°F. You can use an oven with a strong pilot light or an insulated box such as a cooler with hot water bottles inside. We use an old mini-fridge with a lightbulb set on a thermostat. After a day, bubbles of fermentation should be visible.
  6. Stir the beans gently every day. After the first day the smell will be fruity, or yeasty especially if you have used baking yeast, then over the next few days they will smell of sweet alcohol.
  7. Fermentation takes around one week. After a few days, check the inside of  a few beans. It will probably still look pale purple.
  8. Around 6-7 days, the beans will smell more strongly of alcohol – keep checking the smell; you don’t want them to smell like ammonia (if they start to, move on to the drying step). When fully fermented, usually at around 7-8 days, the inside of the beans will be dark purple or brown, with separations showing between the folds within the seed embryo. Now they are ready to dry.
  9. Drain off any liquid from the beans. Spread them out one layer thick on drying racks. You can make racks using 1/8 inch pet screen stapled to frames, or use dehydrator racks with a fine mesh. You want to keep the bugs out, therefore the pet screen makes a good base.
  10. Put in a sunny, well-ventilated place, protected from bugs, mice, and birds. Try to find a sunny place to dry them, at least for a few hours (acknowledging many of us on the Hamakua coast don’t have too many dry hours under the sun). A non-humid greenhouse under a clear tarp, a warm dry attic, a room with a dehydrator, or a food dehydrator on low (under 115 degrees if you are aiming for a raw bean) all will work.
  11. Stir the beans around every day to keep them from sticking. They may get a light white bloom, which is fine. It takes one or two weeks to dry them, depending on temperature and humidity. Drying too fast can make them taste acidic. They are dry when you can crack the shells easily.
  12. To have raw nibs, just use them at this stage. Break them out of their thin shells by rolling between your fingers, discard the shells, and store your nibs in a jar. (Whenever I say discard, I mean use them as compost, of course!)
  13. Roasting brings out a more typically chocolatey flavors and also makes it easier to shell the beans. To roast, preheat oven to 275°F, spread the beans out on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 40 minutes. Watch (and smell) them closely until the aroma of rich dark brownies baking fills the air, and the beans are lightly browned and crunchy.
  14. Separate the beans from their thin shells with a mortar and pestle, rolling pin, or just by rolling each one between your fingers. The shell is bitter and hard, so if you have a mixture of the lighter shells and the actual beans, you’ll need to separate them by winnowing. The broken up beans are now called nibs.
  15. If you need to winnow them, first, take your project outside! One method is to set up a fan on a table. Put around a half-cup of the cacao in a bowl, set another bowl on the table, and pour them against the current of the fan or breeze, letting the chaff blow onto the ground and table and the nibs fall into the bowl. Do this over and over until there are no more obvious chaff pieces.

Roasted nibs.Roasted nibs ready to grind.

From ten pods you will get around two cups of nibs. Store them in a sealed jar at room temperature and they will last for at least a year. In their bitter naked simplicity, cacao nibs are loaded with healthy flavanols, magnesium, theobromine, and other goodies. Be aware that they definitely have caffeine! Break them up and use them as crunchy additions to smoothies, yogurt, desserts, pancakes, granola, and baked goods, or add to chili or barbecue rubs. Grind them in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle to make a coarse cocoa powder.

Here are some ideas for using ground nibs in all-local recipes:

Hot chocolate: add 1-2 tablespoons of well-ground nibs to some gently heated coconut milk and local honey or Hawai’i cane sugar to taste.

Pie crust: mash together 1/4 cup ground nibs, 1/2 cup fine coconut flakes, 1/2 cup ground macadamia nuts, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon honey. Press into a pie pan and use as the base for a pie. Can freeze and use for a raw frozen pie, or bake at 350°F for 10 minutes before adding fruit or pudding filling.

Frozen Cocoa Loco Balls: combine 1/4 c. ground up nibs, 1/4 c. macadamia nut butter, 1/2 c. coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon of Maui cane sugar, pinch of Hawaiian salt. Can add chopped mac nuts, coarser coconut flakes, other spices – play around with your favorite ingredients. Form into 12 cookies, logs, or balls, freeze.

cacaodessertFrozen Cocoa loco dessert


Making Chocolate from Scratch – Skip Bittenbender, Cooperative Extension in Hawaii, Jan. 2009

Harvesting, post-harvest handling, fermenting, and drying for small farms in Hawaii –  Skip Bittenbender and Tom Sharkey, powerpoint

Now fermenting cacao beans Dokmai dogma blog from Thailand

Farm and Forest Production and Marketing Profile for Cacao (Theobroma cacao) – Prakash Hebbar, H.C. Bittenbender, and Daniel O’Doherty




This was originally published in the Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network newsletter on 21 NOVEMBER 2013; click here for that version.  I have added some other photos to the blog that didn’t make it into the newsletter version.

soldierflybinBlack soldier fly bin outside of chicken area.

The self-harvesting, antibiotic-excreting, protein-rich larvae of a beneficial insect could be the answer to cutting our dependence on imported animal feed.

Every time a new guest visits our chicken area, they ask about the big orange and purple bin with tubes hanging out the back. “That,” I say proudly, “is our black soldier fly larvarium. Want to see inside?”

They hesitate, and may say no. But for those who are interested, I lift the lid. Our guest’s body stays back, ready to run, while they peer in at the mass of wriggling tan grubs covering partly eaten compost. I point out the brown larvae crawling up ramps in the back of the bin, and describe how these are ready to pupate and looking for light.

Sadly for them, they will crawl out only to be eaten by the waiting chickens.

Whether you find them gross or fascinating, the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) may be able to close the loop on one of the weakest links in self-sufficiency here on the islands – the lack of local animal food. The larvae of black soldier fly are very high in fat and protein and are a huge favorite of chickens and pigs. They can also be fed to ducks, other birds, fish (best if dehydrated), and reptiles.

Sodierflybin2Larvae drop out into chicken area when they are ready to pupate or they can be collected in a bucket or other container.

Larvae provide a land-efficient, intensive food source ideally suited for regions with limited farmland for growing grains. In just one square foot of grub bin you can produce35 pounds of protein a year. To get that much protein from soy, you would need one-tenth of an acre. Farming larvae instead of purchasing grain of course saves the cost of imported grain, which can be two to three times higher than on the mainland, plus you haven’t contributed to burning fossil fuels to import grain.






Black soldier fly adult laying eggs.  The adults hang out in trees and live less than a week.  She will lay 500 to 1000 eggs.

Black soldier fly are different from other flies in several ways that make their larvae the best to raise. Most importantly, they are not a disease vector, because in their short life as adults they do not eat. They don’t even have mouths. When the larvae are ready to pupate (around 2 to 4 weeks after eggs are laid), they secrete their digestive system, lose their mouth, and produce an antibiotic coating. Therefore, unlike house flies, they cannot carry disease between wastes and foods we plan to eat. This also makes them safe to feed to our animals.







Young larva (left) and older larva (right) still in their pale phases, not yet ready to migrate out of bin.  Grubs go through 7 stages before pupating.  Just before pupating they turn brown for better camouflage; this is when they are best to feed to animals.

Soldier fly larvae are very rich in protein and fat. They contain 34% – 45% protein, 42% fat, 7% fiber, and 5% calcium, which is critical for strong chicken eggs. Research has shown that larvae fed fish waste are higher in omega 3‘s and that this translates to higher omega 3‘s in chicken eggs (described by Olivier, see References).

Larvae can be fed agricultural and slaughterhouse waste, converting a potential pollution problem to a food source. Fish waste, cow pies, and papaya are great larvae foods. The only things they don’t eat are tough and woody items such as avocado pits, coconut husks, and bagasse (sugar cane stalks after being pressed).

We feed our larvae the compost that the chickens don’t eat directly. This season our larvae bin has been getting a lot of rinds from citrus, jackfruit, ulu, and lilikoi, excessive banana peels, and bad avocados. The larvae also find corn cobs and pineapple skins delectable. Coffee grinds help control the aroma.

A picture of three life stages can be found here

So You Want to Be a Larva Farmer

Soldier flies are common in Hawaii and active year-round, so you should be able to attract them easily with some odorous compost. The exception is if you live where it is colder than 75 degrees at the hottest time of day. If you see active bees, then you should have soldier flies.

You can either make your own bin or purchase a “biopod” on-line (see References). Biopods have drainage plates and other helpful features, but cost over $200 and do not have a distributor on Big Island. They can be shipped from Texas for around $80.


A good chicken food ratio is one third grains, one third insects, one third greens and fruit.

If you make your own, the basic criteria are to create a dark lidded bin with an internal ramp with a pitch of at least 30 degrees (this is so house fly larvae can’t get out) that empties into a bucket or directly into your chicken area. Screened drainage helps keep the contents from getting too wet. Start the bin with the lid open and add a few handfuls of compost to attract females. Once you see a female, you can close the lid. You will have fruit flies and house flies at first, because their eggs hatch quicker than soldier flies. Once the soldier fly larvae are established, they dominate their competitors, and other flies stop being a nuisance.


photoBlack soldier fly larvae collecting in bottle.  Having stored up plenty of fat, the larvae can survive for 7 days looking for a good place to pupate.

To feed 8 to 12 chickens, add around a square foot of compost per day. This should yield around one pound of grubs in several weeks, depending on temperature and daylight length. See what your bin can handle – if the waste is mostly uneaten from one day to the next, adjust by adding less compost. If it gets too wet and stinky, improve your drainage and add dryer compost. If it is too dry and ants are colonizing the waste, add damper compost. Do not go over a depth of 4 inches of waste unless you have at least 1 inch of grubs in there.

Around 5% of food waste is not converted into the larvae’s bodies and is left as compost. Although this is not as rich in nutrients as worm castings, it still is a useful fertilizer and has been used for growing orchids and mushrooms. When you want to clean out the bin, stop feeding until the last grub crawls out, and use the remaining compost.

IMG_4510.JPGIn the photo above, you can see the “exit ramp” we made from a piece of pvc pipe, split and bent to go out a hole, and well-grouted to eliminate the cracks that larvae like to wedge themselves into.  The top of the ramp then goes to the outside of the bin, which is inside the chicken coop, and has a plastic tube sticking out of it (seen in the pictures above).  You can see that we added flashing just above the “exit” to force the larvae who decide to crawl up the walls to go back down and march up the ramp instead.

Happy grub farming!


Much of this information is from Natural Farming talks presented by Robert Olivier in October 2011 – “Why Farm Insects” and “Raising Black Soldier Flies” :

Robert Olivier’s website from which you can buy larvae bins and composting supplies:

For purchasing biopods on Oahu ($210): and

General information:



Reprinted from the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network newsletter,


Eat-local-quicheQuiche with a purple sweet potato crust, perennial vegetables, herbs, and goat cheese worked for dinner and lunch.A few weeks ago, Lauryn Rego of Maui realized she was spending all her time focusing on things she didn’t like. Her off-work hours were spent protesting pesticide spraying and fighting against genetically modified crops. She wanted to focus on something positive, and do something to support the “people doing it right” in Hawai’i – the farmers growing and selling organic food locally.

So Lauryn decided to start an eat local food week and challenged her friends (and anyone else) to join her. I saw it on Facebook and decided to jump on board.

Like Lauryn, although we have been trying to eat local, we also felt that committing to a week of eating 100% from Hawaii would move us off our comfortable plateau to trying more new local foods. Our friend and farm-neighbor David also joined, although his reason was that in addition to wanting that extra push to eat off the land, he was out of money (it being the end of the month). He also happened to have a good supply of his own farm-grown food, including a pig he had caught and butchered, a 100 pounds of cassava, and a good collection of bananas and liliko’i. It was a good time to eat what he grew!

The week was full of surprises. We thought it would be limiting, and that we would get hungry and feel deprived. Maybe we did experience a little of that — but mostly we learned a lot and felt so good that, at the end of the week, we decided not to stop!

We had a head start because we have been experimenting with eating off our land for several years (seemy blog). So we had on hand staples such as sweet potatoes and taro, fruits, eggs, and even some luxuries such as coconut flakes, spices, and sugar cane syrup.Creativity and fun with delicious ingredients - from top going counter clockwise, mac nut butter, cane syrup, cacao beans, Molokai sea salt, allspice, cloves, mac nuts ... mix ‘em all together, how can you go wrong?Creativity and fun with delicious ingredients – from top going counter clockwise, mac nut butter, cane syrup, cacao beans, Moloka’i sea salt, allspice, cloves, mac nuts … mix ‘em all together, how can you go wrong?

And then there is our weekly neighborhood farmer’s market where we stock up on vegetables and dairy products all grown within a few miles. But even with these advantages, it was a significant change to cut out all grains, beans, most oil, and processed foods. We realized just how much we do still rely on the 83 – 92% of Hawai’i’s food that is imported. Kind of a precarious situation! As stated in a bill promoting local foods that was passed by the state senate last spring, “Hawaii’s reliance on out-of-state sources of food places residents directly at risk of food shortages in the event of natural disasters, economic disruption, and other external factors beyond the state’s control.” (see article).

According to that document, even crops that Hawai’i specializes in are largely imported – “90 percent of the beef, 67 percent of the fresh vegetables, 65 percent of the fresh fruits, and 80 percent of all milk purchased in the state are imported.” None of the grain consumed on Hawai’i island is local (Melrose and Delparte). Given a major interruption in food imports, Hawaiians would have less than a 7-day supply of food in stores (Hawai’i Homegrown Food Abundance project). 

Ono, and more satisfying, too!

One of our big surprises was how much we enjoyed every meal and how well fed we felt. At first it was a little difficult, with a good deal of time spent planning and preparing foods from scratch. (Lauryn, who wasn’t on a farm, said the food preparation was like taking on a second job.) By the fourth day, we were ahead in food preparation so meals were easier, and we started to notice that we felt good in a new way. It wasn’t just that we felt healthier, and it wasn’t just that we felt smug gratification! Seriously — something deeper shifted. It felt simple, and direct; we were eating food the way people have eaten for thousands of years, from where they live, and our cells seemed to know it.We served up this crockpot stew of ulu, beef, carrots, kohlrabi, and leeks for the potluck that ended our week of eating 100% local.We served up this crockpot stew of ulu, beef, carrots, kohlrabi, and leeks for the potluck that ended our week of eating 100% local.


The limited food choices did force us to be creative, which was a good thing. David used his huge cassava harvest in many ways. He made flour that he used in crepes filled with local goat feta and tomatoes. “My new favorite food,” he says. He made delicious oven-baked fries; he decided to bake rather than fry them to use less of that pricey macadamia nut oil. He found that Christmas berries make a great black pepper substitute. Lauryn ground up papaya seeds for the same purpose. We all realized that lemon, lime, a little local oil, delicious local sea salt, hot peppers and herbs are great ways to dress up foods, rather than dumping on our usual condiments such as shoyu, nutritional yeast, and ume, that while tasty do tend to make everything taste the same.

Economical and Less Waste

It helps if you have a good garden, or even friends with gardens. David ate well for the week on $36.00. We spent quite a bit more but still less than normal. For example, a large ulu cost only $3.00 and made several dishes, a hand of plantains cost $2, and our taro was free, compared to buying chips, crackers, potatoes, cereal, and rice.

One last surprising bonus was how little waste we created. I barely opened the garbage can all week. But I did have extra compost for the chickens and soldier fly larvae. (More about that next month!)


“My eat local Hawaii plate” poster –

R.I.S.E. – List of main reasons to eat local

Andrea Dean’s blog – 60 days eating locally grown:

Revitalizing breadfruit –

Elin Rosenblad, 2011, Adapting to a tropical diet in Hawaii in 6 weeks,

J. Melrose and D Delparte, Hawaii County Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline,
2012, .



This week has been great.  We entered into the week of eating local to push ourselves away from some of the mainland food we are habituated to.  We pushed so successfully that we aren’t going back!  At least for now, we’re just going to keep eating local.

The week culminated last night with a great potluck feast with friends, some of whom ate local this week and some who didn’t.

Dining all local was fun and gave us a common reason to get together and celebrate

Dining all local was fun and gave us a common reason to get together and celebrate

Clockwise from left: beef-ulu-stew; curry-vegetable salad; wild pig (in crockpot), pineapple grown by friend; dragonfruit and banana; guacamole made from one giant avocado; taro-herb patties.


Beef-ulu stew also with kohlrabi, carrots, chicken stock, leeks.


In foreground are the spices (mac nut oil infused with hot pepper, pink Molokai salt) and fizzy drinks (“fermented fruit tonic”) made of orange, banana, ginger, turmeric, and lilkoi in cane syrup


The coco-loco balls (cacao, mac nut butter, coconut flakes, cane syrup) were loved by all, and the pineapple and dragonfruit were perfectly ripe, the best ever!

Although I stopped posting what we ate for every meal (you’re welcome), in summary we ate a lot of fruit, kefir, eggs, breadfruit, meat, taro, vegetables, coconut, macadamia nuts, sweet potatoes, cacao, and cane syrup.  All our herbs and seasonings (except salt) were from our land, and most of the fruit.  The coconuts and avocados were gathered by friends or by ourselves but were not grown on our land.

So Satisfying in So Many Ways

Since we already eat 100% organic, non-GMO, and largely local, it seemed like going all local wouldn’t be that much of a change, to our cooking habits or health.  Turns out that those imported grains we do eat are pretty significant.  The main one is rice, in the form of a grain, cereal, milk, flour, crackers, and bread.  We also were used to eating lots of lentils and beans.

At first dropping the grains was a little difficult, with much time spent planning and preparing, and our digestion was off, but by the fourth day it was getting easy and we started to notice that we felt good in a new way.  It’s hard to pinpoint; our health was good to start with, our energy and mood more than decent.  But something shifted to feeling REALLY good around that fourth day, and we started to wonder – is there something more than psychologically gratifying that’s going on?  We felt satisfied, seriously satisfied, as in less hungry, and also more right with the world.

Is that feeling from eating local, or stopping all grains – I’m not sure, can’t analyze it any more than that just yet!

I do know that eating local is meaningful.  A few motivations are to:

  • help our local farmers be successful so we ward off the big corporate farms that are not interested in our health or the environment
  • … and thus give the islands greater food security
  • contribute less to the pollution casued by shipping food thousands of miles
  • contribute less to pollution of manufacturing and packaging
  • eat fresher

Just this one week added significantly to our familiarity and skill with preparing local foods.

Adding Skills

I added to my fermentation repertoire this week.  I am making a new type of kim chi with all local ingredients except for the garlic (next time I will make it ALL local).  I started making fizzy fruit drinks again, this time exclusively with our cane syrup.  I learned to make kefir and am SO EXCITED about it – it’s the easiest food to make!  And, I am in the process of making pineapple vinegar.  (I will add blog entries on some of these techniques.  As it is, I should be in the garden!!)


Our new morning routine – fruit smoothie with kefir, some cacao nibs, a dollop of mac nut butter. 

Quiche with sweet potato crust

Dinner and lunch a few days was this quiche with sweet potato/mac nut crust, feta cheese, perennial greens (I made two and froze one, but defrosted quiche is spongey!)

For the first time, I used ulu for more than chips, by adding it to the beef stew and then just steaming, which is delicious. Instead of lazily buying coconut flakes from the Philippines, I perfected the technique of making coconut flakes, and also made coconut cream (oh my god delicious) which is a richer concoction than the way I had been making coconut milk.  Motivated by wanting chocolate (a craving early in the week that waned), Dan got into the act and helped with processing cacao nibs, using a fan to blow off the chaff.

Coconut flakes

Coconut flakes

The point I want to make – before getting off the computer! – is that the longer we have done this challenge, the more new foods we are able to make, and the more delicious they are, AND the healthier we feel!

Off to the garden I go!


One of the main things that is NOT local is our animal feed, importantly the organic chicken layer crumble and wheat berries that are important components of our laying chickens’ diets.  Also I know the local chicken we ate from Fox Farms was fed imported feed.  So although we have substituted grain in our diet with other carbs such as taro, sweet potatoes and breadfruit, we still rely heavily on grains for feeding our main protein providers.

The meowing cats outside remind me – this includes them!  Although I have now run out of catfood so am feeding the cats coconut, breadfruit, and kefir, all of which they love!  So I have to go make breakfast to provide them our leftovers…

Tuesday October 1st, 2013

breakfast – eggs, fried bananas, papaya.  Fruit smoothie as yesterday (Hawaiian spirulina, frozen banana, lilikoi, papaya, orange, turmeric, ginger, coconut milk).

lunch – leftover soup, purple sweet potatoes, greens all mixed together

dinner – stir-fry of leftover chicken, local market string beans, carrots, green onion and chard; grated turmeric, ginger and lemon squeeze – delish

Wednesday October 2nd

Eggs and breadfruit

breakfast –  2 of our eggs easy over on pan-fried breadfruit in macnut oil.  Simple, ono.  Banana-orange-ginger fizzy drink, in diluted sugar cane syrup.

Two fruit fizzy drinks just after preparation (so not looking fizzy yet)

Fermentation Station:  Two fruit fizzy drinks just after preparation (so not looking fizzy yet), kefir fermenting in background to right, kombucha covered by cloths to left.  This is all in same corner of kitchen counter as crockpot, which is usually going, so it gets added warmth.

lunch – salad with feta, hard-boiled egg, taro chunks, light mayo

snack – apple banana, one whole cacao bean, Jamaican lilikoi

dinner – kabota squash soup with edible hibiscus, garden herbs (see photo), coconut cream, chicken stock base.  Started on stovetop at lunchtime, then simmered in crockpot so I could work/run in the cooler afternoon and have dinner ready.  Added local hamburger meatballs.  Ohmyyumness.

The base of the pumpkin soup; lemongrass, hot pepper, scallion, ginger, turmeric

The base of the pumpkin soup; lemongrass, hot pepper, scallion, ginger, turmeric

dessert – some of that ice cream, some toasted mac nuts


It really isn’t hard to eat all from Hawaii, especially after the year or so of eating only from the farm on most Mondays.  I’m really enjoying some new discoveries, such as the taste of Moloakai sea salt and sweet, nutty flavor of macadamia nut oil.

Here’s how we fared Monday eating all local.

Breakfast –

apple banana with 1 teaspoon mac nut butter (this was just me, at 6:30 a.m. in preparation for going on a run in an hour)

fruit smoothie (papaya, orange, jamaican and regular lilikoi, bananas, ginger, turmeric, coconut cream); leftover purple sweet potato patties.

Combination purple sweet potatoes, taro, herbs, veggies

Combination purple sweet potatoes, taro, herbs, veggies

treat – frozen cacao bars  (approximate ingredients – 2-3 T mac nut butter, 1/3 cup or so of fine coconut shreds, 1/4 c. ground cacao nib powder, 2 t of cane syrup) – mash it all together with a spoon, form into small logs and freeze – these are delectable!


chicken/taro salad – leftover chicken and cooked taro with salad of lettuce, cucumber, scallion, tomato; thin mayonnaise dressing (in Vitamix, place 1 fresh egg,  2 T lemon juice, scallion, salt, then whir it on “4” for a few seconds, then start drizzling in 1/4 c. mac nut oil.  To make thick mayonnaise, would need one cup of oil, but too expensive using macadamia nut oil and besides we don’t have enough!)

opened four beautiful coconuts (from our friend who works at the fruit stand near Akaka Falls) this morning,  made coconut milk and am also drying some so we will have more shredded coconut and coconut flour.  And freezing some for ice cream later.  I also got to snack on coconut chunks and drink coconut water yum yum.

Opened coconut to pour water out first

Opened coconut to pour water out first

Two coconuts had soft "spoon meat," so used those for a quick coconut milk; the other two had hard meat...

Two coconuts had soft “spoon meat” (on left), so blended those with the coconut water for a quick coconut milk to use in smoothies and soups. The other two had hard meat (on right).

Scooping out the “spoon meat” and placing in Vitamix

So I scooped those out to cut up and dry for flakes.  These cocos were exceptionally easy to get the meat out of - just scooped out with thin spoon!

Scooping out the hard meat to cut up and dry for flakes. These cocos were exceptionally easy to get the meat out of – just scooped out with thin spoon!

Dinner –

taro-watercress-leek soup using chicken stock from last night’s chicken bones, which I placed in the slow cooker first thing this morning with three leek tops;  then on stove, sauteed the leek bottoms in a little ghee; added 4 cups of the broth plus big bunch of chopped up watercress, basil, salt, and around 1 1/2 cups of pre-cooked taro chunks; boiled for one-half hour; blended.  This was a really delicious, savory and healthy soup!

steamed purple sweet potatoes, bok choy and cassava greens, dressed with hot pepper-mac oil (I was going to make some roasted grated ginger to go on the greens – will have to remember for next time).

Dessert –

Banana-lilikoi ice cream – took 5-6 frozen coconut milk cubes, plus 5 frozen apple bananas, and 5-6 frozen cubes of Jamaican and regular lilikoi, and a “glug” of cane syrup – whir in Vitamix, pressing down with plunger – it’s really thick but the Vitamix handles it.  DELICIOUS.

We really didn’t rough it at ALL today!  Feeling extremely well fed and enjoying this diet, but it definitely takes some planning and some kitchen time.

My main challenge is the personal quest to keep my family carb craving under control.  This is truly the biggest hurdle of the week… We love everything local, we eat our eggs, greens, taro, sweet potatoes, fruits, local cheeses, chicken and pork with relish (or sauerkraut actually); but we also get that irrepressible urge for something SWEET and substantive, which could be a quick bowl of organic cereal and rice milk, or bite of organic local dark chocolate, or slice of homemade gluten-free banana bread.

Orange-themed breakfast; papaya, eggs cooked in local ghee with herbs, kubota squash with Molokai100% Hawaiian salt

Orange-themed breakfast; papaya, eggs cooked in local ghee with herbs (garlic chives, basil and dill), kubota squash with Molokai100% Hawaiian salt

This morning I made eggs and fruit and, in an attempt to satisfy that carb craving, steamed some kubota squash.  It seems to have worked!  Oh also 100% Hamakua dark coffee with ground nutmeg and allspice, since bits were left in the coffee grinder, also from the neighbor that I bought the coffee from.

I am also experimenting with making flour.  I had some coconut flakes in the freezer and placed those on a cookie sheet in a low oven to dry.  I also have some cooked taro in the fridge (lots and lots, that’s one thing I did to prepare for the week) that is on the firm side, and I grated it and put it, too in the oven – I think a food dehydrator would have worked better, but with today’s downpour there’s no way I can use the electric power the dehydrator takes (we are off-grid).

IF that works, I’ll pulverize the taro flakes in the blender, make a blend of the coconut and taro flours, and experiment with cookies and crepes.

Lunch will be a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions and feta, plus patties made of leftover taro-sweet potato- greens.  I bought some mac nut oil for frying those.

Dinner will be chicken, more of the kubota squash, and local broccoli.

Dessert/munchies plan is to combine coconut flakes, mac nut butter, cacao nibs, chopped up mac nuts, and a little cane syrup, form into balls and freeze them.

Phew that sounds like plenty of food, right?  Right…

11:00 update – the rain is coming down steadily, making it easy to be inside cooking today.  I just put together that dessert/munchie described above and put the balls in the freezer.  I think they are going to be amazing…  here’s what I did.

With ingredients like these, how can you go wrong?

With ingredients like these, how can you go wrong?

Mac Nut- Coco Loco Balls

1/4 cup Mac Nut Butter

1/2 cup coconut flakes, chunky

1/4 cup coconut flakes, fine

1 T freshly ground cacao nibs (we grew and fermented)

1 T cane syrup + 1 T cane syrup crystals

1/4 c. chopped mac nuts

pinch Hawaiian sea salt

pinch freshly ground local cloves and nutmeg


I ground up the coarser coconut flakes

... to make a finer flake for coating the outside of the balls

… to make a finer flake for coating the outside of the balls


We press our own sugar cane and make syrup, and occasionally it crystallizes in the jar – in this case, quite a lot, giving us a coarse sugar crystal.


Mixed all the ingredients together… added some liquid cane syrup as well as the crystals…


Added some finer and some coarser coconut flakes… just making this up as I went along


With slightly wet hands, formed balls and rolled in the finer coconut flakes and set them on a cookie sheet.

Ready to go into freezer

Ready to go into the freezer