The other day I made something to die for – Huli Huli Chicken. This dish brought me right back to our favorite family vacation and today, I’m going to share it with you!
I have mentioned it in a previous post (Deal with the Big Guy), so I won’t go into all the details, but in 2011, our family had a life altering event happen to our son. Not only that, but my husband was working in Africa and had some serious health issues happening so our little family had been under considerable stress for a couple of years. When our son made it home from his student exchange in Japan, my husband made the decision to stop working in Africa to look for something closer to home, and we decided that our family needed a vacation, a real vacation. When you go through something that brings you to your knees asking for help in whatever way you can get it, it changes who you are, it doesn’t matter how you deal with it, you are changed. We felt that that we just needed to be together, as a family unit. We needed to have some time to help each other heal from some of the things that we had been dealing with. So, Larry and I put our heads together to think of where we could go that would feel safe for all of us, a place that would give us the space to help each other heal, a place where we could be carefree and celebrate us, a family. We were proud but not surprised how our family pulled together during these challenging times, from our immediate family to our extended family and close friends, we are blessed. I’ll say this, if we could have afforded to bring everyone that we loved with us on this holiday, we would have done it in a heartbeat.
The interesting thing was that we each had different emotions regarding the events and each of us had unique needs with regards to healing our hearts and feeling safe again. To be blunt, we were tired of thinking about merely surviving, we were tired of feeling hopeless and helpless and we were ready to do some living, loving and celebrating, with the people we loved the most. We decided that the Big Island of Hawaii was the place that would be just what the doctor ordered. So, we told the kids our plans and told them to take vacation time from work, get their passports together and I booked the tickets! Our son had a few concerns because he just came from a Tsunami and was nervous to go somewhere that the actual Tsunami he escaped from hit, but he swallowed those fears and was on board. We told them all that we wouldn’t go on this trip if all of us couldn’t make it, so after some finagling on dates, we found 10 days that worked for all 10 of us and we began planning as a family for the Great Family Vacay of 2011! Everyone put their wish list in of what they would like on this vacation – do we want to stay on the beach, do we want a pool, do we want a condo or do we want a house? At the time, we only had 2 grandchildren, so after hours on Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO), we finally decided on a 5 bedroom house with a pool (easier for the kids) that was walking distance to the beach. Each bedroom had their own ensuite bathroom, it had a huge kitchen, relaxation areas, a pool table, pool toys, air conditioning and a huge lanai for morning coffee and evening sunset watching. We rented 2 vans so if there was a day that some wanted to go swimming with the dolphins and another group wanted to check out the volcano, we could do that! We bought some books that were recommended to us and made some preliminary decisions; Black Sand Beach visits, hiking up a volcano, deep sea fishing, luau, are just a few excursions that made the cut of must do things!
The evening we arrived, our grandson, who was 3 at the time was disappointed – he cried and told his dad in his sleepy little voice, “Dat’s not Hawaii”, I guess it didn’t look like the pictures we had been showing him. We woke up early the next morning and he looked out the window at the palm trees blowing in the breeze, the crystal-clear water of the pool, the coconut and fruit trees and said loudly, “DAT’S Hawaii!”. That right there made the whole thing worth it for us and we were just beginning our trip. We went to Costco for groceries and each family oversaw cooking lunch one day and dinner one night. We fended for ourselves at breakfast and went out for a couple of meals and ate leftovers when we had them. We were laid back, relaxed, tanned (well, some burnt), we slept, ate amazing food, laughed, cried, played games and came out stronger and healthier than we were when we got there. The Big Island was healing for all of us and we are so happy that we made the effort to gather as a family and take on a new adventure!
Where to next? We would love to see Greece, Italy, Spain, so many choices! If you could, tell me where you would like to take your family?
Before I share the recipe, here are a few more pics that sum up our trip!
And here is the yummy recipe you have been waiting for! (Note: recipe adapted from life-in-the-lofthouse.com). ENJOY!!
Grilled Huli Huli Chicken
This juicy chicken is so full of flavor, super easy and will feed a hungry army!
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup ketchup
- 4 cloves of chopped garlic
- ¾ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
- 2-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 24 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pounds) or 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 12)
- Fresh pineapple slices
- Sliced green onions
- In a medium bowl, whisk together juice, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, broth, ginger and garlic until combined. Reserve 1-1/3 cups marinade for basting. Cover and refrigerate. Divide remaining marinade between two large resealable plastic bags. Add 12 chicken thighs to each; seal bags and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
- Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink; baste occasionally with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes. Yield: 12 servings.
- Serve chicken with fresh slices of pineapple (grilled is amazing) and sliced green onion, if desired.