Monthly Archives: November 2012

Foodie Pen Pal November

It’s that time again! The end of the month, time to share my Foodie pen pal with you all. For the month of November, my foodie pen pal is Kati from New Jersey. Feel free to check out her blog here .

Kati is an incredibly sweet girl who unfortunately just went through the terrible hurricane Sandy that left the North East coast devastated. Still, with everything going on, Kati still managed to send me out a wonderful package of goodies. See, told you, this girl is super sweet!

So what was in the package? Trader Joe goodies like dried mango strips and wild blueberries! Mmmm! Pumpkin pancake waffle mix, miso soup and Korean candies that she picked up in Korea town in New York City. Kati also sent me a menu of a good Korean restaurant located in Manhattan that she highly recommended for when we visit stateside and get homesick 😉

Kati included a letter telling me that I got her venture out into a part of the city she never had the chance to get to. Korea town! Jess super excited to hear this! It’s awesome to feel like you inspired someone to step out and explore, get out of their daily routine, bust that comfort bubble! Go Kati!

Kati, Thank you for yet another awesome experience and thoughtful package!

Oh Christmas Tree

“For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!”

Did you brave the black Friday sales this year? If you were brave enough, I hope you got some incredible deals!

You know, as crazy as it may sound, I always looked forward to black Fridays. It really wasn’t because of the sales. It was because I got to spend time with family. We crazily braved the crowds together and shopped until we dropped. This is the second year that we missed getting to shop with my dear mother-in-law. I still get visions of the SUV packed so full that we couldn’t even see out of the back window and giggle, clearly we were a road hazard.

After the shopping excursion we’d go home, Mr. B would crash, and I’d be completely wired from the shopping high, so I’d decorate the entire house with all of our Christmas swag. No room was off-limits, even the bathroom had some holly leaves and berries!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Bean and I Christmatized our home with a teeny tiny Christmas tree. I just couldn’t help myself!

When Mr. B and I started to travel abroad together, we started the tradition of collecting an ornament/ thing we could place on our Christmas tree from each country that we visited. The ornaments were just begging to be properly displayed, plus twinkle lights make me swoon. Yes, it was settled! A Christmas tree was needed to continue on with our holiday traditions.

Speaking of holiday traditions…To Bean I guess it really doesn’t matter what size the tree is, as long as she can squeeze at least some part of her body under it.

Crank up those holiday tunes and enjoy the weekend!

Winter Kimchi

As  you can tell, we are huge fans of Korean cuisine, we like to think of ourselves as foodies. So much so that my  grandfather joking said when we come home for the holidays they can prepare Sauerkraut or sour cabbage in our honor if we’d like. Isn’t he just a little comedian? HA-HA!

As we continue to travel around Asia we try various kimchi’s. Each with its own distinctive taste. Region to region will differ in taste with what ingredients they use, even family to family differs with their own little touches or traditions. I’ve often thought how fun it would be to make our own kimchi while we lived here with all the ingredients so easily at our fingertips. In the end I’d convince myself that there was no way, the kimchi business has got to be a complicated one! Plus the thought of the word fermentation scared me!

Earlier this month I saw an advertisement for expats to learn how to prepare winter kimchi, or Gimjang. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. I immediately signed myself up and told a few friends too.

At work the ladies were discussing weekend plans. I quietly added in that I’d be making kimchi. They all stopped and said, KIMCHI? Us too! Mind you these were my Korean co-workers. Yes, they too would be making kimchi with their families to have enough to make it through the winter months. Of course they insisted that I bring in my kimchi for them to all taste. Okay, I agreed. EEK! Pressure! Nothing like feeding the staple food of the Korean culture to older Korean woman who have been preparing the stuff all of their lives.

I asked why the kimchi was such a big deal in the fall/winter months? I mean, why couldn’t you just make it in the summer and spring too? I found out that years ago the vegetables that are needed to make winter kimchi were only available in the fall/winter months. Basically if you didn’t get yourself together and prepare your kimchi during the gimjang months you and your family were not going to have any kimchi until the following spring.

Today the vegetables are readily available throughout the year, however Korean’s are big on tradition and their heritage. It’s one thing that I really admire about their culture, quite refreshing to know somethings are not lost as their family continues to grow into the future.

In class we had the basic ingredients needed to make our winter kimchi. Baechu (napa cabbages), moo (radish), pa (green onion), garlic, sesame seeds, Korean red pepper, sea salt, and brined shrimp.

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While we didn’t get to prepare the beginning steps of the kimchi process due to time constraints, we did get to pick up at the fun part! Stuffing the kimchi!

Yes, we filled, smeared and stuffing our cabbage leaves. We were instructed to stuff as much as one leaf can hold between each leaf. Once we stuffed our entire cabbage we had to tuck it under and wrap it up with one long outer leaves. The wrap completed our process of making one whole head of napa kimchi.

We learned that the most important part of winter kimchi was the storing of the final product. To allow for proper fermentation, gimjang kimchi is best kept near 0℃ with little temperature fluctuation. Years ago, Korean men would dig large holes in the ground so that the kimchi jars could be covered and buried. Today, almost all Korean households have two refrigerators. One refrigerator is just your average everyday one and the other is used exclusively for kimchi storage, or in our case used to store wine and other adult beverages.

I love that I’ll get to look back at these pictures and remember all of the fun I had learning how to make kimchi in South Korea. I giggle looking at the photos of my two girlfriends too. No matter what the environment is we always have a great time, love surrounding myself with people like that!

Now, If you’ll all excuse me, I’ve got to go invest in lock & lock container, seal all the kimchi smell into the container and not our refrigerator.

Day of Thanks

“To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger – these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life”. ~ Barbara Brown Taylor

Today, I started my Thanksgiving morning off reading this quote. To me there was so much meaning in it. I couldn’t do anything but smile and ponder.

I continued my morning laying in bed much later than I typically do, smiling, pondering, enjoying blogs, news articles, photos, all of others sharing their gratitude for loved ones, delicious holiday feasts, health, family Thanksgiving traditions, you know…all the things we tend to get very mushy gushy over these times of the year. (Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with that! I’m mushy gushy too!)

I always love working the days that lead up to the big holidays. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I boast and exhale so much positive energy during these times! I feel like it affects everyone. I see it in my co-workers as they inhale and exhale it too! This then affects the customers that we serve, they feed off all of the holiday buzz, even being so far away from loved ones here in South Korea. They are cheerful, more understanding, friendlier. What an incredibly intoxicating feeling! A holiday high! But why, why do we need the holidays to feel like this? To be reminded of the simple everyday things we take for granted? (Don’t worry, I’m guilty of this too, a work in progress).

Continuing my pondering from bed this Thanksgiving morning, I cant help but think of all the many whispered prayers on this day of thanks, including mine. These Prayers will consist of many thanks, personal pleas for guidance and help, prayers of recognition to a higher power, our inner cores, our dear loved ones (to include our pet companions), friends, and the planet that unites us all together in one way or another.

Family, friends, enjoy your day! Please remember, give thanks, take all that mushy gushing and make something of it! Give back! Pay it forward somehow and someway.

We are so blessed and thankful to have met the G family while living in South Korea. This marks our second year getting to carry on the Thanksgiving dinner tradition together. This year they so graciously opened up their home to us! We couldn’t imagine passing up the opportunity to spend time with them and enjoy their sweet little munchkins too.

Now bring on that homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie! (You should know by now, I’ve always got my mind, and sweet-tooth, on the most important parts of the meal) Dessert!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take Time

“Don’t forget to take time to smell the roses…”

When is the last time that you stopped and smelled the roses?

I don’t know about you, but for the most part I get so wrapped up here with living life and work that I forget to simply stop and smell the roses. Forgetting those things that make me happy because I feel I can get to them another time. Nine times out of ten I never take the time to loop back around to those things.

Why?

Do I feel guilty taking the time to enjoy those things? Yes.

Why?

Good question! I have every opportunity to, I am encouraged to… so why? Ugh…

We are told so often by our elders that life will slip right by you so quickly. That we need to seize all of the moments that we can. Take the time to enjoy ourselves a bit.

Where I am going with this?

Well, with Thanksgiving only a few days away it’s important not only to serve others and put them first, but also never forget to take a break from time to time and do a few things for yourself too.

This morning on my elevator ride to down to the parking garage with my husband, I too was reminded that sometimes a person just needs to stop and smell the roses from time to time. That person might have a non-stop crazy work schedule, a full course load with school, miss a night of sleep from time to time…If there is a will, there is a way… they figure out a way to keep enjoying the things that make them happy.

I think I really relate to Paul in Colossians 4:1-18. “Although I may be in chains my heart is free!”

Today after work, I bought myself some beautifully colored Fall flowers, Then I took a few minutes to stop and smell the roses…or mums in this case.

Oh, if you didn’t notice played around with some photo editing fun too!

Thanks beebs.

Walk in the Early Morning

Because it’s Sunday.

Because i’ve got two sleepy heads snoozing in the other room.

Because it was early.

Because it was raining.

Because there wasn’t a soul on the street.

Because I love any excuse to wear rain boots.

Turkey Talk

How’s the weather where you are? Are you tuning in from the East coast? If you are, hopefully you are safe and sound in the comfort of your own home. We’ve been in contact with our friends and family checking in to make sure everyone is okay. Thankfully they are and didn’t even get a flake of the second storms snow. We only get to see the limited television broadcast of how much damage hurricane Sandy did. However seeing just that little bit makes our hearts ache. What damage…the amount of people that were affected…the loss…just the utter devastation. We keep you all in our prayers and thoughts.

Here? Well, mornings are lazy hazy and gray, not to be confused with the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer. Once the morning fog rolls out the blueish-gray sky shines through. Then at nightfall the sky is so black but clear as glass. When the moon appears, it glows so brightly, it makes you feel like you can see endlessly into space. I cant help but stare up at it some nights when we are out walking. Maybe this is all the turkey season talk in me… making me all nostalgic, but I often think to myself how the moon makes me feel so small here on earth, how I live a small but beautiful life. It makes me appreciate so much of my life.

This will be my second Fall season spent in South Korea. I feel like this is just the way Fall gets all nestled in.

 

BTW, rakes… who needs them? Certainly not two determined elderly Korean ladies.

Wishing you all warmth, shelter, and sunshine!

Glistening

I feel like we’ve been saying this all year…

Where does the time go?

Where do the days go?

Goodness, November!

We are already into the first weekend of November and Brrr do the cold mornings and nights make sure we know it too.

Early November mornings here look like, one dreamy, cozy, fluffy goose-down, a cup of hot tea, frost covered rooftops glistening, abandoned farmers fields, and scarves to bundle up with before daring to brave the cold morning air.

 

There is nothing quite like breathing fresh morning air into your lungs. Even Miss Bean agrees.

Happy weekending!