November 8, 2011 was our last day living in Hawaii.

My husband and I packed our two cats in their carry-ons, made sure we had their paperwork for the plane, got our luggage and left our 600-square foot apartment in the middle of Honolulu for good.

Bathroom on the left by the TV, kitchen (out of the picture) on the left. Cozy place for two adults and two cats.

Balcony and kitchen. Sammy likes the warm air from the wine fridge. :)

We had been married for about a year and a half and our plan was to purchase a home on Oahu. Though we tried to secure a couple of homes, it just didn’t work out.

We looked at a condo deep in Wahiawa valley:

2 bedroom condo with balcony, about 1,000 sq ft.

A tiny plantation house near Lake Wilson, also in Wahiawa:

Old plantation house w/separate studio, both about 600 sq ft each. See how close you are to your neighbor?

We were also in escrow for about ten months for a house in ‘Ewa Beach, but problems with the title and mortgage company had to be addressed in land court, and that prevented us from taking that last step into ownership.

When it seemed that nothing was working out, we decided to move and find a home elsewhere. We visited my sister and her husband in upstate New York and really loved the area, so that’s where we decided to move the first week of November. For the first 4 months we lived in a studio above a garage in a tiny little town called Deposit.

Our rental car and rental home, about 600 sq ft. of the top floor. Bottom is storage for the owners.

There’s a lot I had to learn about living in a colder climate, like driving in the snow:

My husband didn’t let the lack of a garage stop him from working on the car:

Who needs a garage??!!


Although we started looking at homes while we still were in Hawaii, we were now able to see listed properties in person. There were a few that looked promising, but we happened across a lovely farmhouse that was in a great location and going for a great price!

My husband & the home inspector, Dec. 2011.

After a long wait we finally purchased our home in March and were moved in by April. Along with the beautiful house and property, we also got the lady of the house, Trixie:


We started doing some home improvement projects, both inside and outside:

My outdoor project: stone steps going down to the creek.

Ripping out the old ceiling in the dining room.

My husband working on the plumbing.

But in addition to renovations, we also had a couple of get-togethers:

My husband’s birthday dinner: Thanksgiving in July!

And received our first official guests:

My in-laws visiting from Germany.

New York is great, but I miss my family:

Always lots of food at my parents’ house, especially when my two uncles stop by with their own dishes (pork ribs, smoke meat, poke, sushi, etc.)

and having friends over for dinner:

Christmas Eve dinner with friends at our apartment in Honolulu.

But I prefer the weather and changing seasons in Upstate New York over the daily dose of sunshine. Granted I’ve only lived here for one year, and the first winter experience has been one of the most mild ones in the area, so maybe the lady at the Post Office was right in saying, “After a few years, you’re gonna MISS Hawaii!” I really do love it here, and my husband does, too. The people are nice, the weather is great, we live far enough away from the city to have peace and quiet, but close enough to head into town when we feel like it. :)




Happy What I Ate Wednesday! I hope you all are enjoying your Independence Day, especially you, Jenn, at Peas and Crayons! Thanks again for hosting another fun-filled episode of WIAW. Our theme this month is Fun, Food and Fitness, and I have a nice way to start it off, as well as a delicious dinner recipe to go with this week’s Flavor of the Week, orange!

Last week I was having fun with new food experiments (like raw chocolate chip cookies) but by the time Friday came along I was ready to take a break from the kitchen and take in some new scenery. After a quick breakfast of coffee and orange date cake we headed up to Ithaca and visited Buttermilk Falls State Park. I was looking forward to this trip for a while and even though there wasn’t much water coming down the falls, it was still beautiful:

Beautiful day at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

The trail takes you right by the creek so you can cool off your hot tootsies!

The trails were nice and shady, but going up numerous stairs in the beginning proved to be a good workout (especially with a bunch of noisy teenagers behind you!) After enjoying the numerous waterfalls, pools, and overall scenic splendor of the park, we headed back to town and popped in to The Mate Factor Cafe & Juice Bar in Ithaca. Unfortunately, they had THE worst espresso in the world. It smelled okay and looked okay, but it tasted like they put half a lemon in it.

THE lousiest espresso in the world.

My tofu-avocado wrap wasn’t bad, though they did go heavy on the Kalamata olives, which made it kinda salty:

Tofu avocado wrap, no onions.

Couldn’t finish it, folded it up like a  little purse and took it home.

We got home early so spent a couple hours doing yard work until around 8:30pm (these long days are awesome!) Dinner was leftover lunch for me and  leftover dinner (below) for my husband:

Saturday night special: spelt crust pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and fresh basil

In keeping with this week’s Flavor of the Week theme, I wanted to share this recipe for Fish with Orange-Shoyu* ** Sauce I made for dinner  on Monday. I came across a Teriyaki Orange Fish Filet recipe that sounded pretty good, so I just modified a few things, including the name (I hope it’s okay that I did this.)  The fish is simmered in a light sauce of orange and ginger, perfect for the walleye we were lucky enough to get from my sister (her husband’s a great fisherman!) It’s a quick and easy meal, and of course, healthy!

*shoyu = soy sauce. Won’t sound as good if I called it ‘Orange Soy Sauce Sauce’!

**After moving to NY from HI, there are certain words I have to start using in conversation, like ‘soy sauce’ instead of shoyu, ‘flip flops’ instead of slippers, and ‘creek’ (or ‘crick’) instead of gulch. My husband also referred to the continental US as ‘the mainland’ at work the other day, and people were like, “What are you talking about?”

This light, delicate orange sauce is infused with fresh ginger.

Fish with Orange-Shoyu Sauce (modified from Teriyaki Orange Fish Filets at
serves 4


1 lb fish filets, such as walleye, but use any fish you like
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1″ piece ginger, sliced thinly or grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup or 2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
4 stalks green onion, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
zest of 1 orange
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas


Season fish with salt, set aside.

Mix orange juice through agave syrup. Stir in sliced onions and green onion. Add half of orange zest.

In a large frying pan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add fish, cook for 1 minute. Spoon half of the orange mixture over fish, letting it simmer before adding more sauce to pan. Cook fish for 2 minutes, turn over and pour remaining orange mixture over fish, adding half of orange zest. Simmer high and cook for a minute then add broccoli and peas. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

Serve with brown rice and garnish with remaining orange zest and green onion. Enjoy!

These large walleye filets are enough for 4 people…looks like we’ll be having leftovers. :)

Have the rice cooked ahead of time for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Low-fat and packed with protein and vitamins, this dish is perfect for a post-workout meal.

What are some of your favorite hiking spots? What’s your favorite post-hike meal? Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!