Restaurant review: Keei Cafe

Keei Cafe Front
Photo credit: HawaiianIslands.com

Keei Cafe is a family owned restaurant specializing in American-Hawaiian fusion dishes. Located in Kealakekua, this restaurant has been a local favorite since 1995. It was originally in Honaunau but has been at its current address since 2005.

The owners source as much of their menu from local ingredients to prepare creative and delicious dishes with nightly specials.

Keei Cafe is currently open 5pm-9pm, Tues-Sat. We arrived on a weekday in the early evening. The restaurant was almost empty and we didn’t have to wait for a table. There is easy parking around the back of the restaurant.

There are plenty of tables and plenty of airflow. There is a separate dining area for large groups and smaller tables on a balcony area facing the highway. On the evening we were there a musical duo were playing – unfortunately, this combined with the wooden floors and more diners, meant there was quite a lot of noise and it did reduce the enjoyment of the space somewhat.

The menu

The menu is a mix of American-Hawaiian flavors. Choose from appetizers like eggplant rolls, ahi poke nachos and baked brie. As well as salads with locally grown ingredients there are pork chops, seafood pasta and spicy fajitas. Dessert options include, warm tropical bread pudding and warm macadamia nut pie.

What we ordered

(Above) Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. A hearty housemade soup topped with sour cream and fresh salsa. Served with a warm tortilla ($8.95).

(Above) Caprese Salad. Local vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices, tender basil leaves, sweet maui onions drizzled in extra virgin olive oil, and our housemade balsamic reduction glaze ($10.95)

(Above) Roasted Half Chicken. Experience Keei Cafe’s yellow Thai curry sauce or white wine peppercorn gravy, with your choice of white or brown rice, whipped potatoes & a vegetable medley ($25.95).

(Above) Cioppino-Fisherman’s Stew. An assortment of fresh seafood including mussels, shrimp, scallops, squid, and fresh fish in a rich tomato/white wine broth. Served with crusty bread ($13.95).

(Above) Pasta Primavera. Your choice of chicken or tofu with sauteed vegetables, smothered in a basil pesto or marinara sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese ($21.95).

Keei Cafe 15

(Above) Warm Lava Flow. Rich chocolate flourless cake with a molten chocolate center. Served with seasonal sauce, chocolate and caramel drizzle ($7.95).

Keei Cafe was a relaxing dining experience, however it did get a little loud with the musical duo’s performance. Our dishes were tasty, although the vegetarian black bean soup was lacking in flavor. Overall Keei Cafe is the perfect spot for dinner in Kealakekua.

Keei Cafe

79-7511 Mamalahoa Highway

Kealakekua

Hawaii 96750

Ph. 808 322 9992

Hours: Tues-Sat, 5pm – 9pm (closed Sun-Mon)

https://www.opentable.com/keei-cafe

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Horizon’s LEGO Star Wars Collection: AT-AT 75313

The LEGO AT-AT 75313 is a huge set with an incredible amount of detail. There are a large number of minifigures, and the set has fully adjustable legs. I modified it further with extra minifigures, a display case, lighting, and a diorama snow scene featuring more minifigures and speeders.

The LEGO AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport), as featured in the Battle of Hoth, includes legs that are adjustable (at two positions on each leg) and a head that also rotates. The front cannons have a realistic firing action to them, and there’s even a ‘rope’ from which to attach Luke Skywalker on the underside of the AT-AT.

The AT-AT measures 24.5 inches high and 27 inches long. It features multiple removable panels in order to easily view the interior. The main body has the capacity to fit 40 LEGO minifigures and 4 speeder bikes. Within the cockpit of the head is room for three minifigures.

The set includes the following minifigures:

General Veers, Luke Skywalker, Snowtrooper Commander, 4 Snowtroopers and 2 AT-AT drivers.

This set is a huge – 6,785 pieces! The plan for this set was to order a custom display case with a printed Hoth planet background and a white surface on which the AT-AT would stand. To complete the diorama I would add the AT-ST and a collection of speeder bikes, snow troopers and rebel alliance figures to the scene. And finally, I would light the entire AT-AT by using a custom lighting kit which I would then modify further.

The Build

I worked on the build over the course of multiple weeks but not continuously, and sometimes only for short periods at a time. LEGO estimates the build time for this set to be between 18-19 hours.

The build was relatively straightforward, beginning with each of the legs. This process became a little bit repetitive. I found building the main part of the set more enjoyable. There are a lot of interesting features and clever detail in this build and it was fun to construct. It was also great to discover how the engineering allowed for the set to become freestanding. 

The legs can be adjusted in order to pose the model as if it were in motion. This requires a gadget that is part of the build and makes the process highly interactive. 

Despite knowing the size of the finished model before I started, it was still a shock to see how BIG it actually is. It’s massive. The fact it can hold up to 40 minifigures in the main body – AND four speeder bikes – is amazing.

The construction techniques used to connect the main body to the head are astonishing. It almost shouldn’t work since the head is so bulky, but somehow it does. There is not an actual interior tunnel between the head and body in which the minifigures could walk through but this doesn’t detract from the overall effect. 

The option to display the set with or without the panels is a great one. They are easy to remove and I found no issue with them remaining in place as some other reviews have highlighted.

AT-AT Lego 75313
AT-AT Lego 75313
AT-AT Lego 75313
AT-AT Lego 75313
AT-AT Lego 75313

The stickers that are used in this set look great. Sometimes stickers in LEGO sets don’t always work well, but here the stickers are used to represent the background lighting, and it gives the interior of the body a real feeling of depth.

AT-AT Lego 75313

Modifications

The first major modification to the set was a simple one. I wanted to fill the main body with as many stormtroopers as possible. This meant purchasing a number of Snowtrooper Battle Packs (75320) and filling up the empty seats. 

AT-AT Lego 75313

Lighting the AT-AT proved a little more challenging. I found a custom made set for this model but the method they used to rig the lighting was too complicated, and it resulted in lighting that was too bright. I rewired the model and placed the lights in locations that reduced some of the glare that can happen with the LED lights on these models. Pro tip: the key is to light the model but not make it difficult to look at!

The display case and diorama

The display case is from Wicked Brick who have created an amazing case for this set. With a Hoth planet background and a white acrylic base plate, the AT-AT sits comfortably in four cut-outs designed for each of the four feet.

There was plenty of room around the AT-AT to create an interesting battle scene as well as room for the AT-ST (75322). More low-lighting may be added at some point to brighten the ‘snow’ in the diorama.

Overall the AT-AT was a fun and satisfying build. Expanding the impact of the set by creating my own diorama was also worth the extra work. The lighting brings the model to life and the display case is a great way to keep the set secure and also dust-free.

Look out for future blogs on our LEGO collection. We have a number of sets waiting to be built and will feature them as they’re constructed.

 

Angus
Horizon Guest House

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Restaurant review: Rebel Kitchen

Rebel Kitchen specializes in Hawaiian-inspired burgers, sandwiches & salads. They also make their own range of hot sauces which are sold on site. 

Located in the heart of Kainaliu, Rebel Kitchen has a community feel. The owners source as much of their food as possible from local suppliers. They also use eco friendly food packing products where possible.

Rebel Kitchen is currently only open 11-5pm, Tues-Sat. As a result, it’s primarily a lunch spot. We arrived on a weekday in the early afternoon. The restaurant was almost empty and we didn’t have to wait for a table. Kainaliu is a small collection of restaurants, second-hand stores, galleries and other shops on Mamalahoa Highway not far from Kealakekua. There is a usually easy parking in front of the restaurant.

There are plenty of tables and plenty of airflow in an area that is essentially an enclosed patio. There is also seating at the bar.

The menu

The menu is a mix of classic American staples infused with local Hawaiian flavors. Pupu’s (Hawaiian for appetizers) include – nacho steak fries (fries topped with slices of ribeye steak), Hawaiian Fire Wings (deep fried wings in their homemade hot sauce) and Cuban Rolls (pork, ham and cheese rolled in a wonton and deep fried!). Items on their salad menu include – Thai steak salad, BBQ chicken salad and a grilled vegetable salad. Why not try their local grass fed beef patty burgers, or a pulled pork sandwich. They also have a number of specialty dishes including an ono and shrimp dish, cajun pasta, and a creamy veggie pasta. All the buns used in the burgers and sandwiches are freshly made on the premises!

What we ordered

(Above) Blackened ono sandwich. Crispy blackened ono topped with lettuce, tomato and onion on a homemade bun ($14.75). Served with a spicy pineapple coleslaw (red cabbage, onion, peppers, pineapple topped with homemade sauce).

(Above) BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. Pulled pork in a tangy spicy BBQ sauce topped with lettuce, tomato and onion on a homemade bun ($13.99). Served with a potato salad (a mustard-based salad with red potato, onions, peppers, olives and pickles.

Rebel Kitchen was a relaxed dining experience. The food was delicious and the homemade sauces were very tasty. This local favorite is the perfect spot for lunch when you find yourself in the Kainaliu/Kealakekua area.

Rebel Kitchen

79-7399 Hawai’i Belt Rd (aka Mamalahoa Hwy)

Kealakekua

Hawaii 96750

Ph. 808 322-0616

Hours: Tues-Sat, 11am-5pm (closed Sun-Mon)

http://rebelkitchen.com

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Visit the Painted Church in South Kona, Hawaii

The St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in South Kona is worth a visit if you’re in the area. Located not far from Two Step, the church is famous for its detailed frescos dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

History

The church itself was built in 1842 and was moved to its current site in Honaunau in 1880. It wasn’t until 1899 that Father John Velge started work on what would become an extensive collection of frescos on the inside of the church.

The frescos depict a large array of biblical scenes including the Temptation of Christ. The paintings themselves were actually used as a teaching tool. Very few Hawaiians could read during this time period and Velge was able to use the paintings as a way to explain the events in the Bible.

Velge painted the scenes directly onto the wooden surface of the church walls using house paint. He was not professionally trained.

The paintings took Velge almost five years to complete. He was recalled to Belgium soon after completing the paintings and he died in 1939.

The church and grounds

The exterior of the church is notable for its belfry and the lattice work that adorns the front entrance. There is a small museum of Hawaiiana at the rear of the Parish Hall across the parking lot. In front of the church is a cemetery, and beyond that a view of the ocean in the distance.

How to get there

Painted Church Hawaii

The church is located about 45 minutes from downtown Kona. From the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 160 (the Honaunau Post Office is at this intersection), turn towards the ocean and follow Hwy 160 for about 1 mile. Right after the green one mile road marker, you will see a sign for the ‘Painted Church’. Turn right on to Painted Church Road and follow the winding road for slightly less than a half mile. Turn right into the church grounds.

The Painted Church is a popular local attraction in the South Kona area and is worth a visit to admire the unique frescos.

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Restaurant review: Izakaya Shiono

Izakaya Shiono is a sushi and Japanese resturarant, serving fresh fish dishes with locally sourced fish, all prepared by experienced Japanese chefs.

We arrived on a weekday in the early afternoon. The restaurant was about half-full and we didn’t have to wait long for a table.

Izakaya Shinono’s is in the same district as Kona Brewing Company, Umeke’s Fish Market Bar and Grill, and right next door to HiCO (Hawaiian Coffee). There is a parking lot behind the restaurant that serves a number of local restaurants.

There is outdoor seating alongside the restaurant, and also a separate patio area where we found a table in the shade.

The menu

The menu is a mix of sushi, ramen and tempura. We decided to order off the lunch menu and had one main dish with a side of miso soup (included).

What we ordered

(Above). Sushi Nigiri Set – unagi cucumber ($20.50). The unagi was delicious and the sushi was excellent. Extremely tasty!

(Above). Sushi Nigiri Set – Spicy Tuna ($20.50). It was the perfect amount of tuna and the flavors were wonderful.

Unfortunately, the miso soup could have been a little hotter but this is a small complaint. The service was great, the sushi was exceptionally good, and the fish tasty and fresh.

Izakaya Shiono sources the freshest locally caught fish as well as importing the best fish from Japan. Note: the restaurant uses Tamaki Gold Koshihikari, which is considered by many to be the best short-grain rice in the world. All very good reasons to visit Izakaya Shiono for some of the best Japanese on the Big Island.

Izakaya Shiono

74-5599 Pawai Place B4 & B5

Kailua-Kona

Hawaii 96740

Ph. 808 657 4388

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-8pm

https://www.sushishiono.com/izakaya-shiono/

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French Apple Custard Cake

This apple custard cake is perfect for autumn. The cake itself has a smooth consistency – filled with sliced apples, spiked with brandy (or rum), and with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. It’s the perfect breakfast treat with morning coffee because it isn’t too sweet.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise
1 tablespoon Calvados*
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg plus 2 large yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

*If you don’t have Calvados (French apple brandy) any brandy (or even rum) will work.

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325F. Spray 9-inch springform and place pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes (to make sure they are soft enough for the cake).

Toss apple slices with Calvados, lemon juice and cinnamon and let cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a second bowl, whisk the whole egg (not the yolks), oil, milk, and vanilla together until smooth.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to separate bowl and set aside.

Add egg yolks to the remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in the apples. Transfer batter to the pan, using an offset spatula to spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.

Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into the batter you set aside. Pour over batter in pan and spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth the surface. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of sugar evenly over cake.

Cute kitchen moment!

On duty during the making of the apple custard cake, the faithful baking assistants – providing helpful and encouraging feedback via adoring looks. More Cleo and Ele

Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 75 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

Serve alone or with whipped cream!

How did your French apple custard cake turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Restaurant review: Teshima’s Restaurant

Teshima’s Restaurant has become a firm favorite among locals and tourists on the Kona Coast. Located in Kainaliu, just south of Kona, they serve a mix of simple Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine. We stopped in for lunch, early on a weekday.

We arrived at Teshima’s on Monday morning at 11:30am in time for an early lunch. Surprisingly it was already busy, but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.

Teshima’s is next to the Buddhist temple at the juncture of the old and the new Mamalahoa Highway. There is parking in front of the restaurant and also in the parking lot directly to the right of the building (in the direction of the gas station).

There is plenty of seating inside, with a mix of booths and tables.

The interior has been nicely decorated and is spacious with large ceiling fans. They do not take reservations but they do accept take-out orders and serve alcohol.

The menu

The menu is an eclectic mix of Japanese and Hawaiian. From traditional Japanese dishes, like sashimi, sukiyaki and shrimp tempura to Hawaiian dishes like ‘Kona Up-Country’ Chop Steak, homemade corned beef hash patties and Kona Coast fried ahi.

What we ordered

(Above). Beef Teriyaki with miso soup and rice ($17.99)

(Above). No. 1 Teishoku – Miso soup, sashimi, sukiyaki, tsukemono, sunomono, rice ($17.99)

(Above). Sakura Tray (Mondays only).  Sushi, beef teriyaki, fried fish, sashimi and served with rice, miso soup, tsukemono, suomono and hot green tea ($17.99)

Service was quick, friendly and efficient. The dishes we had were delicious, and the flavors simple. The range of Japanese dishes isn’t as extensive as a dedicated Japanese restaurant (there are only a couple of sushi options on the menu) but the Hawaiian dishes are very popular with the locals.

Make sure you check out this local institution when you’re next in Kainaliu.

Teshima's Restaurant

Teshima's Restaurant Hawaii

79-7251 Mamalahoa Highway

Kealakekua

Hawaii 96750

Ph. 808 322 9140

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-8pm

https://www.teshimarestaurant.com

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Visiting Green Sand Beach Hawaii (Papakōlea)

Green Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii is one of the most unique beaches in the world, in one of the most isolated places in the world. Access to the beach isn’t easy and we explore the best ways to get there.

Kau District

Green Sand Beach is very close to Ka Lae (South Point) in the Kau district of Hawaii. South Point is the southernmost point in the United States and is also well-worth a side-trip or a separate trip on a different day.

Green Sand Beach is not far from the small settlement of Naalehu, one of the few towns on the main highway between Volcanoes National Park and South Point. The beach is about 2 hours south of Kona.

How to get there

Drive towards South Point, between mile markers 69 and 70 on Highway 11. At the end of the road it will fork. To the right is South Point itself and to the left is the Green Sand Beach parking lot.

We visited Green Sand Beach on a beautiful sunny Thursday afternoon and found the parking lot at the end of the paved road already close to full. There are a couple of options for visiting Green Sand Beach from this point:

  1. Take your own car – keep in mind that you will need a 4×4 and you will need to check your rental car company’s policy to ensure that you can take it off-road in this location (we recommend against this option – the road is extremely challenging and the landscape had been devastated by the off-road activity).
  2. Hitch a ride with a local. Locals do a roaring trade here by offering a ride on the back of truck for around $20 per person. (We also recommend against this option. Potentially dangerous, you’ll be standing in the back of pickup truck hanging on as best you can while the truck bounces precariously around like a demonic rollercoaster).
  3. Hike. Our recommended option. Park in the parking lot and walk in.

The hike

The hike to the beach is approximately 4.5 miles roundtrip. Key to making this an enjoyable hike is avoiding the sun. There is no shade on the hike and it will be dusty (passing cars kick up significant amounts of dust). Start early, bring plenty of water and proper hiking shoes.

From the parking lot, make toward the boat ramp and once there head to the left and onto the trail. The hike will take about an hour each way depending on your pace.

There are no restrooms but there are port-a-potties in the parking lot and also back at South Point.

Papakōlea Beach

Did you know that Green Sand or Papakōlea Beach is one of only four green sand beaches in the world? The others are located in Guam, the Galápagos Islands and Norway.

The beach used to be a cinder cone volcano. The lava ejected from the volcano was full of olivine. Subsequent to the eruption, erosion caused by wave action and weather began to erode the basalt rock until only the olivine was left remaining – hence the green sand!

We discovered the hard way that the road from the parking lot to the beach is in fact a collection of roads, many of which are treacherous, even with a 4×4. Unfortunately, these dirt tracks have caused significant damage to the landscape and the land is deeply scarred by the effects of large-scale traffic. 

We had to backtrack a number of times when we found that the route we had taken would not be passable, or the ground too unstable. At one point we followed a local truck ferrying people to and fro which turned out to be the best strategy. 

A parking area is visible just above the access to the beach.

Access down to the beach by foot is steep. A ladder makes the descent easier but make sure to wear sensible shoes, especially if you intend to hike there and back.

What is olivine?

The olivine group is made up of eight minerals, including forsterite (magnesium silicate, MgSiO4) and fayalite (iron silicate, (FeSiO4). These minerals are end members of a solid-solution series based on the mutual substitution of iron and magnesium.

Olivine crystals are formed at depths of at least 25 miles below the earth’s surface, in the high pressure zone of the Earth’s upper mantle. Volcanic eruptions bring the magma to the surface and these magmas solidify into basalt and basaltic pumice.

For example, Kilauea has a magma chamber that is between 3 to 6 miles beneath the surface but draws magma from much deeper where olivine crystals are present.

Visiting Green Sand Beach is well-worth the effort but how you get there is just as important. Off-road access is causing significant damage to the landscape, while catching a local ‘shuttle’ is not only considered illegal by the state it’s also dangerous. We recommend reducing your environmental footprint by hiking in and enjoying one of the Big Island’s amazing natural attractions.

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Safe sunscreens for Hawaii: 5 zinc oxide & reef-safe sunscreens from worst to best

I tested a number of mineral zinc oxide sunscreens in order to find out what works the best, doesn’t leave a thick white residue, is easy to apply, and most importantly is good for the environment.

I tested 5 different sunscreens and rated and reviewed these from worst to best.

My skin type

I have a Scottish/New Zealand background and as a result my skin is extremely fair. I burn easily and do not tan (at least not naturally!). I was looking for a sunscreen that was going to meet the guidelines being set by the state of Hawaii in regards to the marine environment and the coral reef, and that would also work for my skin type.

Nano and non-nano oxide explained

Nano sunscreens refer to those that contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide which have been broken down into nanoparticles. This means that you get the sun protection without the residue often found in non-nano sunscreens (the bigger particles that reflect the sun’s rays more easily). There are concerns over the safely of nanoparticles if inhaled (see research by the Environmental Working Group, EWG, and also the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens).

Does this mean that nanoparticles can be absorbed into the body? Research suggests this NOT to be the case (see research by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration).

If you are still cautious you might consider using sunscreens which are non-nano. Please note, there is no agreed upon threshold for what differentiates nano from non-nano, so some claims can be misleading.

5. Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50

Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen is SPF 50 with up to 80 minutes water resistance. It contains no fragrance, phthalates or parabens. It contains 25% zinc, as well as 7 Hawaii-grown antioxidant ingredients. These ingredients include, kukui, macadamia, noni, spirulina and plumeria.

Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Also contains no avobenzone or octocrylene, the two ingredients that will be banned from January 2023.

Verdict: The lotion is a noticeably thicker than some of the other products we tested and I found it was harder to apply as a result. There was a noticeable residue on application, although it did eventually fade. There is also a faint natural scent due to the additional natural ingredients, which wasn’t overpowering but for those looking for something completely unscented they may want to reconsider using this brand. It was also difficult to rinse off my hands and left a greasy residue.

Rating: 5.5/10

Cruelty Free: Yes

Vegan: Yes

Non-nano: Yes

4. Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF50

Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face sunscreen is SPF 50 (water resistant for up to 80 minutes) and contains 12% zinc oxide. It is formulated with zinc and prebiotics as well as vitamin E.

Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Also contains no avobenzone or octocrylene, the two ingredients that will be banned from January 2023.

Verdict: The lotion is light and application was easy. There is some white residue but it fades quickly and there is no scent or oily texture.

Rating: 7.5/10 for performance of this product BUT downgraded to 3/10 for the reasons below.

Cruelty Free: No, Cetaphil is not a cruelty-free skincare brand. Even though they claim to not test on animals, they choose to sell in a country (China) that requires imported cosmetics to be tested on animals.

Vegan: Cetaphil is not considered to be vegan because they test their products or ingredients on animals, or allow others to do so on their behalf.

Non-nano: No

3. ThinkSport SPF 50 Sunscreen

ThinkSport sunscreen SPF 50 is a non-nano mineral zinc oxide sunscreen. It contains hyaluronic acid which attracts moisture for added hydration, and also vitamin E which helps to condition the skin.

Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Also contains no avobenzone or octocrylene, the two ingredients that will be banned from January 2023.

Verdict: This lotion is quite thick but was easy to apply to the skin. There is definitely a white residue left behind but this does fade somewhat, though it will make you look noticeably paler. It was also difficult to wash off my hands and does seem to have a greasy base to it.

Rating: 7/10

Cruelty Free: Yes

Vegan: Yes

Non-nano: Yes

2. Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen SPF30

This organic certified natural mineral sunscreen contains no synthetic chemicals. It contains sunflower oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E among other nourishing antioxidant ingredients. It contains 23% zinc oxide and offers SPF 30 protection.

Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Also contains no avobenzone or octocrylene, the two ingredients that will be banned from January 2023.

Verdict: This product is thicker than the others we tested but I loved the way this feels. It goes on smoothly, most likely due to the sunflower oil and cocoa butter ingredients, and does not leave a white residue. Despite it feeling thick (it’s a little tougher getting it out of the tube) it doesn’t feel thick on the skin.

Rating: 8/10

Cruelty Free: Yes

Vegan: Yes

Non-nano: Yes

1. Native Mineral Face Lotion Unscented SPF30

Native specializes in creating products that are as free of chemicals as possible. Their range of sunscreen includes the Mineral Face Lotion. This product contains 20% zinc oxide, and advertises itself as absorbing quickly, with no residue as well as being lightweight and non-greasy.

Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Also contains no avobenzone or octocrylene, the two ingredients that will be banned from January 2023.

Verdict: Definitely lives up to the description. The lotion is lightweight and not all greasy. It absorbed quickly and did not leave a white residue that is common with zinc oxide-based sunscreens. We also tried the body sunscreen which was slightly thicker but just as non-greasy. The face lotion contains avocado oil which gives it a lighter consistency.

Rating: 8.5/10

Cruelty Free: Yes

Vegan: Yes

Non-nano: Yes

 

The Native Mineral Face Lotion was the clear winner. It is light and non-greasy and doesn’t leave a white residue. It’s also non-nano, cruelty-free and vegan. The Raw Elements Sunscreen was the runner-up, some might find it on the thicker side however it does go on smoothly.

(*** NOTE: the opinions expressed in this review are our own and we have not been sponsored or paid in any way to promote any of the brands mentioned above ***)

Check out our blog on why reef-safe sunscreen is so important.

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Fresh Mango Cake

It’s mango season on the Big Island, and what better use of mangos than for making a cake! This recipe for fresh mango cake has been adapted from Ina Garten’s peach cake recipe. Fresh mangos make a great filling for a cake but if you can’t get hold of fresh mangos then fresh peaches (or canned peaches) will work just as well.

Ingredients

1 stick of unsalted butter (1/4 pound)

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups of fresh mango, diced

Topping

½ cup sugar

1 tsp of cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F (325F convection). Cream together butter and 1 cup of sugar until fluffy.

Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each.

Add sour cream and vanilla extract, mix until blended.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add the mixture to the creamed ingredients and mix together until just blended.

Cute kitchen moment!

On duty during the making of the mango cake, the faithful baking assistants – providing helpful and encouraging feedback via adoring looks. More Cleo and Ele

Butter a 9×9 baking dish. Pour in half of the batter and smooth out.

Add half of the diced mango, distributing evenly.

Mix second measure of sugar with cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Sprinkle half of the topping mixture onto the mango.

Add the remaining batter and cover with the remaining diced mango.

Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake at 350F for approximately 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm! Goes well with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

How did your fresh mango cake turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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