Now that’s fantastic for so many reasons but right off the bat–two thoughts came to mind.
How freaking adorable is that? Baby girl ADORES her big cousins so much that her birthday wish is to spend time with them.
At four years old, she’s such a baller that she’s been able to celebrate her first three birthdays in Hawai’i and this year, she’s like “eh…been there done that.”
Better yet–why don’t we ALL just go to Hawai’i together?! MUCH better plan!
Yes, two birthday parties. She knows how to live her BEST 4 year old life!
They spent the beginning of their visit hanging with Pops and eating all of the deliciousness that So Cal has to offer. It was followed by spending the night at Seestrah T’s place in Fullerton so that Kaelani could spend some QT with Maya and Lucas.
The rest of us quickly followed and got down to some cookin’!
You can’t have a trip to the islands without downing a few gallons of “P.O.G.” – a blend of passionfruit, orange and guava juices.
The kiddos had straight up P.O.G. which is darn tasty in and of itself.
It was about this time that I heard brother tinkering around with his Traeger Smoker. I turned around and found him piling up the grates with chicken wings — yes, please!
Smoked Chicken Wings need to become a regular in my life.
Most of the time when you pick them up at places, they put a huge block of rice in the musubi – way too much. These were just right!
Yes, we had 3 appetizers – we like options.
There’s something about that crack sauce she whips up that makes this poke so freaking delicious. You really can’t stop shoveling it into your mouth – so dang good.
Oh-and then Brother jumped back on the smoker because he had some venison stashed in the freezer that he decided to turn into Smoked Venison Jerky. So I guess technically–that makes it four appetizers???
A monkey found its way into the backyard.
Don’t worry–it was encouraged. In fact, it’s become a fun tradition for folks that visit their place to tag up their table.
Some game was on that night that kept the Dudes glued to the couch for a few hours.
…while the munchkins decorated bags to keep their loot in.
What loot you ask?
Now, I have to say that I had a moment of mixed feelings on this.
Sure–Kaelani wanted a Moana themed Fam Din and her auntie N got her this piñata to fit the theme.
But when it came time for the kiddos to break open the piñata, I had some serious guilt that they were beating up Moana!!
Even Seester T felt the need to shed a tear for Moana.
At that point, someone reminded us to put a pause on the shenanigans because it was dinnertime.
For the entree, T made Shrimp and Fish Tacos. They were topped with a cabbage slaw, lots of pico de gallo, avocado and smothered in hot sauce.
But even I know my limits people.
I definitely do not like pineapple in my fried rice (or pizza) but I give her an “A” for effort.
We then rolled from our dinner chairs to the couch to digest our food and chat some more.
I’m sure you’re thinking….
DAMN. They sure do like to eat!
And you’re 100% CORRECT! But we also like leftovers, too!
YES – we were full. But do you want to be the person to tell her wait even longer? Nope-not me!
So we all stood up, did a little jiggle to make room in our bellies and then focused on desserts!
I made Kaelani this Chocolate Moana Cake. It was 3 layers of rich, dense chocolate cake that I covered with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream. I decorated the cake with handmade fondant plumerias, white chocolate shells, brown sugar “sand” and of course– the Heart of Te Fiti, also made of fondant.
There was a moment when I considered molding the characters out of fondant as well, but when you’re trying to replicate such recognizable characters, it’s REALLY tough!!! The slightest imperfection can make them look wonky! So in the end, I cheated and ordered a personalized edible topper sheet. It’s really quite neat! The topper is an edible icing sheet that is then printed with food color. It comes on a sheet that you peel away (kind of like a label) and then place on the cake. You do need to let it set for awhile so that it can soften into the buttercream but I was really impressed with the vibrant color.
After we sang to her and she blew out her candles, it was time to dig in.
A little peek inside….
Here’s the situation with swiss meringue buttercream.
It’s personally one of favorite frosting to not only use to decorate cakes/cupcakes with but I also prefer it’s flavor and texture. Since it’s meringue based, it’s really fluffy and can maintain its structure really well.
So I typically will use the leftover yolks to make some type of custard based dessert — and this time, it was Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée.
Also, if you hold off on torching them, they’ll keep in the fridge for a few days. Then, when you get a hankering, just cover the tops with a layer of sugar and brûlée away!
And let’s not forget about this beast!
Yes, dessert #3
Truthfully, we meant to crack out Shave Ice machine earlier in the day but it totally slipped our minds!
We couldn’t NOT use it that night….it was an Island themed dinner, after all!
So we made a couple of cones that were either topped with a Vietnamese Coffee base or a Blueberry Syrup that Leo helped L make earlier that day.
I can’t believe they’re actually sitting down after all of the sugar we consumed.
Luna inherited a violin that one of her cousins was no longer using. She hadn’t started lessons yet but it just so happens that seester N used to play waaaaaaay back in the day! So N gave the kiddos a few instructions for them to play a few chords.
And for us, whenever we can get all 9 of them together (yes, including the 2 fur babies), our hearts are incredibly filled. ❤
This Month’s Family Dinner Menu
Cocktails: POGtail, Various Wines and Beers
Appetizers: Spicy Tuna Poke, SPAM Musubi, Smoked Chicken Wings, Smoked Venison Jerky
Entree: Fish and Shrimp Tacos
Sides: SPAM Fried Rice
Dessert: Moana Chocolate Cake, Shave Ice, Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée