Monthly Archives: December 2011

Stir the Eggnog, Lift the Toddy, Happy New Year, Everybody!

2011_12_31 New Years Eve

2011_12_31 New Years EveDec 31, 2011Photos: 8

Its almost a new year and a fresh new start!

How do you celebrate your New Year? Do you have a aprty? Attend a party?

Do you hang out with your family at home?

It is officially New Year’s Eve here in Dongducheon, South Korea. This year we Bee’s were thinking of heading to the East Coast to bring in the new year, but Mrs. B is still recovering from her korean super bug.

Yes, this year we had our own very low key celebration at home.

We started our December 31st morning off with heading to Lotte Mart to pick up various things to get our Korean-American cook on for the night. Plus, we wanted to finally get our curtains hung in our spare room. Because winter is in full swing, we wanted to hang these insulated backed curtains up to help keep any drafts seeping in through the large windows.

After picking up these items we decided to be a bit more adventurous and grab lunch in New City. We ordered bulgogi bibimbap. It was delish and totally hit the spot.

After lunch we headed home and basically chilled out. We organized a few rooms and continued to reevaluate things that we didn’t need to hold onto going into the new year.

Mr. B cooked an amazing New Year’s Eve meal that consisted of duck and japchae. Paired with a nice glass of wine, and a Korean local bakery desert. Mmmmm!! We’ve included pictures to share with everyone.

The jopchae recipe we followed is vegan and comes from Alien’s Day Out .

–Japchae Recipe– (Taken directly from Aliens’ Day Out)

Much to perfect to change anything about this recipe.

100g dried potato starch noodles (당면, “dangmyun” or “Korean vermicelli noodles”)
1/2 carrot
1/2 onion
1 green bell pepper
2 cups neutari mushrooms (느타리버섯)
1 cup black fungus mushrooms (모기버섯)
canola or grapeseed oil for sauteeing
salt for sauteeing
1 Tbs sesame seeds
black pepper, to taste

*additional veggie options: red bell pepper, spinach, shiittake mushrooms….

2 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sugar or sweetener of choice
1 Tbs sesame seed oil

Soak the dry noodles in water for 30 minutes and drain, and begin boiling a large pot of water.

If using dry black fungus mushrooms, reconstitute them by soaking in warm water (or according to package instructions). Roughly chop into bite-size pieces. Just a little bit of dried mushrooms will bloom and expand greatly in size, so just use about 1-2 Tbs of the dried mushrooms at first.

Next, mise en place. Chop all your veggies in uniform long, thin slices. From top clockwise: carrots, black fungus mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, neutari mushrooms (느타리버섯).

Pan-fry each vegetable separately in a lightly greased pan with a pinch of salt. Start with the light-colored veggies first, so that the colors don’t mix and get muddled. For instance, you don’t want to fry the carrots first because they will stain the pan orange and likely affect the color of the other veggies.

Sautee the veggies until they are slightly soft and bendy. They shouldn’t be totally mushy, but should retain some texture. Also, to avoid having black char bits on the veggies, you can gently wipe down the pan with a paper towel after each sautee and add more oil (about 1 tsp) before the next ingredient.

Place all the sauteed ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

By now, the pot of water should be boiling. Add the soaked and drained noodles and cook according to package instructions. Usually, you will boil the noodles for about 5-6 minutes, until they are about 80% done. They should be soft yet chewy.

Next, drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Using a pair of scissors, cut the noodles to a decent, manageable length.

In another frying pan, heat the soy sauce, sesame seed oil and sugar over medium heat. Then add the drained noodles and slightly fry them in the pan, so that they get coated with the sauce.

Dump the noodles directly into the mixing bowl with the veggies and begin mixing! Korean ajumas like to mix everything with their hands, so don’t be afraid to do the same! Just be careful though because the noodles will be hot.

Finally, add some toasted sesame seeds and black pepper. Taste it to make sure it is seasoned to your liking, and add some extra salt, soy sauce, or sesame seed oil as needed.

Lastly, we couldn’t sign out without showing the biggest party animal of us all….


Vacation Video and Pictures (FINALLY!)

Oh yeah… throw in a nice cold too! EEK! Korea provided Mrs. B with a nice “welcome home gift” this morning, a cold. Unfortunately, I don’t see many visions of sugar plums dancing in her weekend plans, more like tissues and lots of soup! 🙁

The weather certainly is a major shock to the system after we were so lucky to have lounged sprawled out on the beach in the beautiful tropical weather of the Philippines.

And now, onto the good stuff! Yes, the video and photos from our trip. We hope you enjoy!


2011_ChristmasDec 21, 2011Photos: 82

Confessional: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Buh-Bye Christmas holiday and Bee’s tropical vacation! That’s right, Christmas has officially come and GONE and I can’t tell you how sad that makes me. I must admit though, this was probably the best one yet!! 🙂


I have a confession to make… I have diliked loathed tuna noodle casserole since I was a child. I’m not totally sure if it was because I felt like my stepmother at the time knew I despised it and continued to make it or, if it was just the strange concoction of tuna and noodles itself. Whatever the case was, I have successfully avoided it throughout my entire adulthood thus far. Well, that was until I realized that I was depriving my hubby of one of his favorite meals.

Today I decided that I would give the dish a go again. Who knows… maybe it really isn’t that bad after all, right?

RIGHT! I actually have a healthified tuna noodle recipe that not only Mr. B loved, but now I love just as much too.

Okay, okay.. I’ll share! (Adapted this wonderfulness from Skinny Taste)

6 oz no yolk noodles
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped up fine
3 tbsp flour
1 3/4 cups fat free, sodium free chicken broth
1 cup fat free milk (we use Lactaid)
4 sliced baby mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas (we used frozen ones)
2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained (we used albacore, less fishy)
1 block of 2% reduced fat sharp cheddar (We used Kraft)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs

First, I Cooked noodles in water until slightly undercooked. Set them aside.

I used a large deep skillet pan to melt my butter. Add in your onions and cook on medium heat until they start to get soft, all and all it’s about 5 minutes. Next, add flour and stir well because it’s going to get a bit crumbly.

Preheat your oven to 370°. Lightly spray your casserole dish so that the noodles do not stick.

On the stovetop slowly whisk in chicken broth until it is well combined, turn up the heat to medium and continue whisking mixture for 30 seconds, add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, throw in your chopped mushrooms and peas, add in salt and pepper to taste and simmer mixture on medium heat. You want to mix occasionally until everything starts to thickens, this will be about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the drained tuna.

Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the reduced fat sharp cheddar, it will melt into mixture. Add your egg-noodles to the sauce until noodles are evenly coated. Last step is to pour entire noodle mixture into your sprayed casserole dish, and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs (listed above).

Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. If you desire a more crispy casserole top, place the dish under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs nice and crisp! Word to the wise, be careful when the dish is under the broiler that it does not burn.

Bon Appétit! We Bees are looking forward to making this dish for years to come.

Can you think back on foods that you never would have touched when you were a child, and today you just simply cannot consume enough?

Reluctant To Go

Today we Bees slept in. We didn’t want to face the reality that today we have to pack and go back home. We took notice that for the first time the entire trip, it was raining and overcast. Hate to say it but, how fitting for our current moods.

We did our normal resort routine, ate a large delicious breakfast.

We packed up belongings and hung out for an hour in the outdoor lobby area waiting for van service to take us to the Cebu Airport. While we waited, the resort staff that took us to the SM Mall the other day approached wanted to say goodbyes and provided us with two free water bottles. Seriously, this place is just so welcoming and customer friendly.

The staff loaded up the airport van and away we went.

We got to the airport about 30 minutes before we could actually check in at our gate. We started to realize that we were glad we did. The lines started to get pretty long and the small space started to become filled rather quickly.

We checked our baggage, went through the different areas. Mrs. B got told that she needed to check her umbrella. HA-HA! Yes, an umbrella. Nothing said about the two water bottles and various other things that could have been questionable, only the umbrella.

Almost completely through we had to end by paying a fee to leave the country and then go through customs. Oh, about two hours later we realized that we paid the fee one to many times. Oops! It was only about ten dollars give or take.. not that much of a blow. Now talk about the cost of baggage for overweight luggage….that was a HUGE blow to our wallets.

We were all set to fly our waiting at our gate and then an announcement came over the loud speaker that the flight was going to be delayed for an hour and a half. Well, it ended up being more like two hours but, what can you do? Mr. B watched TV and played on the Ipad while Mrs. B finished her book.

Finally the announcement came over the loud speaker that our flight had landed and was now going to be boarding. We got onto the plane and we actually had leg room because we ended up being seated in emergency exit! Score!

In flight Larry ordered and ate Ramon noodles and carrot cake. Both choices not to shabby.

When getting ready to land the flight Captain announced Incheon’s weather was 26 degrees…brrrrr! No wonder we were experiencing such a reluctant feeling to leave the tropical paradise!

We ended up eating dinner in airport once our flight landed. We knew it would be way to late once we actually got home to cook something. At this point we were very tired. We opted for a Shanghai chicken spice sandwich from McDonalds.

We hit the road back to our place. Both of us Bees had work in the morning. Back to the daily grind……

Did you have a good Christmas? Travel many miles?

Merry Christmas

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Santa Clause is coming to town!

We Bee’s woke up Christmas Morning and got to see Santa Clause giving out goodies to the children staying at the resort. How cute! These kids were some of the bravest I’ve seen. No tears or fears when it came to sitting on Santa’s lap.

We grabbed breakfast like normal. We then proceeded to finish up our family calls on Skype. We got to see Mr. B’s family open their gifts and share their Christmas Eve (time difference) with us! It’s really nice because we still had that distant connection of being apart of our normal holiday traditions. Speaking of traditions, Mrs. B stated that it was a really weird feeling knowing that our normal family tradition of getting together at the grandparents house and opened gifts and eating cookies, shrimp, snacks still just continues on the same, but without us. (sniff, sniff)

After our skype session we put on our bathing suites and went down to the beach to get in some more snorkeling. The resort has a very nice bay area that contains an awesome amount of ocean marine life. We had a blast! We saw so many beautifully different colored tropical fish. Mrs. B shoved gently pushed Mr. B into a weird and scary looking fish. Mrs. B said that really she was trying to Mr. B’s legs away from her so that she could turn around and away from getting kicked, and get some distance from the scary looking fish. MmmmHmmmmm….still not very convinced at the entire story.

After a few hours of snorkeling and floating around the ocean bay area, we Mr. B fell asleep in beach lounge chairs under a large umbrella. Mrs. B people watched and enjoyed the calming sounds of the ocean waves. Ahhhhh….relaxinnngggg.

It was near 4 pm and we still hadn’t ate lunch. We decided to go back to our room and get showered and dressed. We decided to order salads and drinks at the pool bar. What an excellent choice! The salads were fresh and super yummy.

After eating our salads, talking, and sipping our tropical drinks, we decided to make our way to the rooftop of Manny-O’s. Manny-O’s was another resort restaurant. We figured since it was the last night we wanted to try it out and of course get on some serious tropical drinkage. We started with large spring rolls and split a huge grilled steak cheeseburger. We finished everything off with more drinks. How refreshing!

The sky was now completely dark. We sat on the rooftop of the restaurant looking at the bay, the fish swimming in the light below, the picturesque moonlit sky, the stars, and the beachfront. This night was just outstanding and incredible all in the same breath.

While chatting waiting on more drinks, the power went out. Yes, everything completely went pitch black. We watched the entire beachfront area go black for less than 5 minutes then kick back on. Mrs. B said that she noticed that power went off about three times in the past few days/nights since we had been here because her Iphone would beep as if it were unplugged from the wall. Guess one to many Christmas lights were plugged in all at once for the area power grid to handle.

After the power kicked back on, the waitress brought us our drinks. We sipped, continued to talk and then off in the distance on the beachfront a beautiful firework display was set off.

It was getting pretty late. We decided to head back to our room to turn in. After all, we had to get back to reality the next afternoon.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Cebu SM Mall

It’s crazy for us to think that today is actually Christmas Eve, and we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday in the Philippines.

Today woke up, ate breakfast at the resort, and took the iconic pink jeepney-shuttle, also known as the “pink thing” to the SM Mall. The resort offers various scheduled time allotted free shuttle rides to and from the SM Mall or Ayala Mall in Cebu. Just ask the front desk for a schedule, reserve your spot, and be on your way. The trip takes about 45 minutes from the resort.


Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. I snapped a few quick pics with my Iphone to show you how bedazzled some of these vehicles can look.

We had a really nice ride taking in the countryside and sights on the way to the SM Mall. We also got the opportunity to pick the resort staffs brain and their feelings of various things we took notice to since being in the country. Some of our conversation even revolved around older foreigner men with young native women. After the conversation we were really floored by the opinions and also more appreciative and hold a bit more respect for these women that are trying to save their families.

We arrived at the SM Mall and were briefed by the resort staff that we needed to make sure we kept our bags zipped up and held tightly in front of us if we were in a large crowd. They continued to tell us that there are many things that go unnoticed until it is to late when being a victim of theft. The atmosphere at first was a bit intimidating, you are ushered through security guards opening up your belongings and wanding you through a metal detector. The resort staff told us that ever since 9/11 the country has beefed up security in heavily frequented tourist places. I guess you can say it is more reassuring. Once inside of the mall we took notice to the locals grasping their bags tightly and wearing backpacks in their frontal body region. We quickly realized that it was no joke.

We Bees at the SM Mall in Cebu.


We enjoyed walking around the SM Mall. One of the largest Forever 21 stores is located at the SM Mall. The food court is huge! We ended up eating pasta and pizza. Hey! We are on vacay! We can skimp on the healthy-smelshy stuff for these few days. Mr. B purchased a Cebu mug from Starbucks that he has been collecting as we make our way around the globe. Mrs. B purchased a tiny star that seems to be the Christmas symbol displayed through the Cebu area for our future Christmas tree.

In the mall we caught some video of the craziest entertainment for kids….


These are almost as good as the kid sized, adult remote control cars we have seen in Korea!

After walking the entire mall about three or four times over we caught the shuttle back to the resort. Mr. B had a scheduled night dive that he needed to get back and prep for.

While Mr. B headed out for his dive, I sat in the open air game room in a nice high-back comfy leather chair and continued to read my book. On the plane ride over I started reading on my Kindle application, “Somewhere Inside” by Lisa Ling and her sister. I really have enjoyed reading about the unknown North Korea culture and haven’t been able to put this book down. I’m pretty certain that I will have it finished by the end of our trip.

Typically for Christmas Eve, we open gifts with some of our family, attend church service, and afterwards stuff ourselves silly with cookies, shrimp, and my grandmothers homemade sweet pickles. This year we had to improvise since we were remote and separated from the family festivities. We decided to treat ourselves to the HUGE Christmas Eve dinner buffet that the resort, Vanilla Beach Café, was serving for the holiday occasion.

While we enjoyed our meal we watched a Christmas performance of talented singers that preformed traditional Christmas tunes. We ate, ate more…oh and ate more. Gosh, the food. The food was just out of this world! There was so many things to pick from! We joked and said we needed to have the hotel staff follow us with trays or carts because we just wanted to eat everything in sight. Yes, we completely indulged. The buffet featured any meat you can think of, any dessert you can think of, veggies, and pretty much anything in between too.

Take a look for yourself, check out these picture!






















We wanted to make sure that we posted that we Bee’s got to feast on a local Filipino dish called Lechón. The word Lechón literally means suckling pig. In the Philippines, we were told that they roast an entire pig and call lechón baboy over red hot charcoal. The process reminded us of what we had seen in China, the peking duck. The method is incredibly long but well worth the end results! The pig’s skin is very crispy hard, but the meat inside is incredibly moist and juicy. Words really cannot describe how delicious the dish really is.



After dinner we were so stuffed. We honestly should have been wheeled out of the place. We made our way back up to our room and found a cute little homemade stocking the resort put in our room while we were at dinner. How sweet! The stocking was filled with two homemade cookies, an apple, and an orange. Just another one of the many personal touches Mövenpick continues to provide guests.

Before heading off to bed we stepped out on the balcony and listened to the local jams playing off in the distance. Again, we couldn’t believe it was Christmas Eve already. While chatting a bit and looking out into the distance we could vaguely make out people dancing outside, a bar like setting. We were on the 18th floor of the hotel so it reminded us of the Sims game where you just see people all over walking and going about their everyday life.

We Bees on Christmas Eve.


Scuba And Relaxation

Today Mr. B had booked various scuba dives from the resort. This meant that Mrs. B had almost the entire day to herself. MWAH HA HA.. (evil laugh) Just kidding. Today was going to be Mrs. B’s day of beach relaxation. The only straining activity that was planned was lifting tropical umbrella drinks.

While on the beach, Mrs. B was able to Skype with a few family and friends from back home. It was really nice to hear their voices and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Mrs. B frolicked in the warm ocean almost all day. So much so that she ended up getting way to much sun like always.

Mr. B came back between his dives and the Bees were able to enjoy a nice lunch together on the beach at a little grass hut.

Check out this serious salmon caesar salad! Oh and the little grass hut too.



After a fun day in the sun and surf for the both of us, we ate dinner and had some drinks at resort hotel restaurant, Vanilla Beach Cafe. The meal was incredible! While eating dinner we watched three dinner shows. First, was a group of choir singers. Second, was men and women dancers that were dressed in tropical get-up. Third, was a fire-show that had fire dancers. Each show was really entertaining to us.

Tonight we we had the pleasure of meeting George, one of the resort staff. We spoke with George for quite some time throughout the night. We loved that we got to talk about the Philippines with a real local perspective, how refreshing. George was great, he found out that Mr. B really enjoyed the swiss chocolate that comes on the side when you order a cup of coffee. He gave Mr. B a plate full of them and said Merry Christmas.

We cannot express how great the resort staff is here! They do the simplest random acts of kindness for the guest. We always say how it is the little things that go over HUGE in our book. Each night when we are getting ready to climb into bed, we find that the staff has left two sweet treats on our bed pillows.

Today Just Wasn’t The Same…

Now that we mention it, neither was the weather….

Strangely no Korean traffic….


Work wasn’t the same either…


Here’s to hoping things look up… 🙂

Just kidding! It’s Christmas vacation and we are currently blogging from the beautiful tropical paradise Island of Cebu, Philippines.

Beautiful tropical weather, gorgeous beaches, tons of sights and things to do. What more could you ask for when you live in the land of winter weather?

That’s all for now! Look forward to more blog write ups and of course pictures and videos when we are back.

Merry Christmas!

We Have Arrived

We boarded our flight a bit delayed due to heavy air traffic. Nothing major.

We were so eager to board the plane, only to realize our long American legs were about to be crushed for 4 hours. Booo!!! We learned a valuable lesson with deciding to fly Cebu Pacific Airways.


Yikes, Poor Mr. B’s legs.

To keep our minds off our legs we kept occupied by browsing though an interesting unique in flight food selection available for purchase.



Okay, serious question, would you try the spamusubi??

The Philippines is located almost directly south of South Korea. The difference is 1 hour, Korea is ahead by 1 hr.

Getting off the plane we quickly thew off our winter coats because we left Korea’s bone chilling 26 degree weather to a warm balmy 85 tropical weather.

We arrived at the airport in Cebu, first impression was that it was fairly small, however we were really tired from working all day, driving, and flying, all and all not totally coherent.

We exchanged our money inside the airport.

We were greeted by our driver that collected our luggage and we off to the resort.


Driving to the resort was a bit intimidating, it was the early am hours so it was still dark outside. We really didn’t know where we were going as this was our first time. This entire trip was a total first for Mrs. B and she was about to be fully emerged in this sort of environment.

We instantly saw a lot of teenagers and young kids out walking around so incredibly early in the morning. We talked and speculated what it may be.

We arrived at the Mövenpick Resort and Spa and were instantly greeted by hotel staff that collected our luggage and provided us with freshly squeezed mango juice, Mrs. B was in heaven! Later into the vacation we realized that she might even turn into a mango herself with all the fresh fruit she consumed. 🙂


Check in was painless and very quick. We headed directly up to our room, located on 18th floor, incredibly nice! The room had Comfortable linen, pillows, bed, a little safe for your valuables, a glass shower area, large deep bathtub, and Crabtree and Evelyn bath products. We were delighted to have an outstanding view from the walkout balcony of both coasts of the island beach area.

Eventually after all of the excitement of checking into our room we retired to bed at 4 am. We ended up waking up at 8 am to get a jump start on the day. We grabbed breakfast in resort restaurant Vanilla Beach Cafe. Gah! This Cafe was perfect for the freshly arrived, tired travelers. There was something for everyone! Everything from eggs made to order to Korean foods to local fresh fruits, yogurts, cereal, freshly made waffles, pancakes, you name it and they had it.

We decided after breakfast to walked over to the Shangra La Resort to check out area for future reference. We Looked at little shops and checked out the local area around our resort.

Once we got back it was time for lunch. We ate at the resort and it was just as delicious and plentiful as the breakfast that was offered.

After lunch we had booked a snorkeling trip. We were lucky enough to have a private boat take us out away from the resort about 30 minutes away to a smaller island where we docked out in the ocean and went snorkeling. The tropical fish were just beautiful! Mrs. B had never been snorkeling, she was a bit hesitant at first, after getting in she loved it and could have swam until her lips were blue. The water was so clear and the fish were so colorful!

On the way back to the resort we were able to see the sunset behind us. It was just breathtaking.

Once we got back to the resort we grabbed drinks and dinner. Cheers to an awesome first vacation day and here’s to many more ahead.