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The number one item on our Bucket List has always been to visit each and every one of the fifty American states. And now, after fifty years, we can officially check that one as done. We visited Hawaii in November, having a great time and learning, once again, so very much about the world in which we live.

I say we visited Hawaii, yet we actually visited only one of the five islands that make up the state of Hawaii. The island of Oahu afforded us some fantastic and breathtaking sites, along with incredible new food experiences.

Our first view of Oahu came as we circled around to land at the airport in Honolulu. That is Diamond Head at the top of the picture.

Diamond Head, called Le’ahi in early Hawaii, is a tuff cone from a volcano that erupted some 100,000 years ago. The volcano that formed Diamond Head is no longer active. Its tuff cone was formed as cinder and ash accumulated following the volcanic eruption. No matter what formed it, I found it a spectacular site. Also amazing was having the ability to “look” beneath the surface, into the shallow edge of the Pacific Ocean. But if you look out to that very deep blue color…that color is what informs you that the ocean is not shallow very far out, as it drops off very quickly to enormous depths.

While on Oahu, we took several tours to see nature on the island. We did not spend the greatest amount of time in the city of Honolulu…I am a creature of nature, and nature is where we went. The island is beautiful once you make it out into the countryside…

One of the places we visited was the Waimea Falls Park. It is on the north side of the island and has a trail through a tropical forest to Waimea Waterfall.

We were treated to so many new sights…things people from the Midwest will never see at home…

Along the trail you can stop at a reconstruction of a historical Hawaiian village including signage which helps explain the lives of the people who lived on the islands many, many years ago.

What I liked best about my trip to Hawaii was the clouds. The clouds on the island were, for me, mesmerizing. I could not take my eyes off of them, and I will never forget them. As they form and move across the island, they run into the two ranges of mountains on Oahu. They are unable to climb over the mountains, and so they lay on them, slowly dropping their moisture as gentle rains. I tried all the time we were there, and was never able to get a picture to convey what I actually saw as I looked at the magnificent clouds every morning, every evening, and throughout most of the day.

One of the most amazing things you will see on Oahu are the flowers. They are abundant, and they are beautiful. Here is a collection of some of the flowers we saw on the island. I have tried to identify as many of them as possible…

One flower is very important to the people of the Hawaiian Islands…the Hibiscus. Hibiscus “breeders” have hybridized the plant to many different varieties.  You will find them everywhere, and they are beautiful. The Yellow hibiscus is the state flower.

We stopped at an overlook on the way back to town one night.

While the view was gorgeous, I most enjoyed the tree we saw climbing up to the overlook. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but the trunk was amazing. I also like the way the flower has found a home in the crook of the trunk.

And two more pictures…just because I cannot resist sharing them!

Hawaii is an amazing place. If you find yourself on Oahu, make sure you get out of Honolulu, off the beach at Waikiki, and into the countryside, into the real Hawaii. We want to go back someday to see the big island of Hawaii, to visit the big volcanoes, some of which are still active.

In my next post I will share the historical and cultural places we visited while on the island of Oahu.

On these really cold days of December, here in the middle of America, I can’t help but remember how warm it was on the island of Oahu, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of November.

Luau Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

While we were on Oahu we attended two luaus. They are so much fun and the food is simply fantastic. The teriyaki chicken was our favorite dish at the first luau The natural setting for the luau was smaller and more intimate. It was our favorite of the two luaus we enjoyed. We were brought to the stage with other couples celebrating anniversaries, and as this was our fiftieth anniversary, we both received authentic flower leis, and I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers. A gentleman sitting with us took our picture…kind of grainy, but I love it anyway. What a special evening!

Before I give you the recipe, here are some shots from our first luau

Luau Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

  • Servings: 4
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A taste of Oahu at home in the contiguous 48.

I adapted this recipe only very slightly from Creme de la Crumb


  • 4 boneless chicken thighs (I have the butcher debone the them for me)
  • 1 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. rice vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, Place chicken thighs in a greased baking dish in a single layer.
  2. Combine 1 cup of soy sauce, the water, rice vinegar, ginger, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  3. When the sauce begins to boil, mix the remaining 1/3 cup of soy sauce with the corn starch until it is dissolved and add this mixture to the boiling sauce. Cook and stir to thicken for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour half the sauce over the chicken, turning to make sure the thighs are covered with sauce.
  5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Check to make sue the chicken is 165 degrees at it thickest point.
  6. Carefully remove thighs to a cutting board and cut if you would like. Serve on a plate with the remaining sauce and extra sesame seeds for garnish.