Tag Archives: Cambodia


Are you a nibbler? Okay, let me further explain. I am talking nibbler in the sense of, when you are cooking in the kitchen you are nibbling along the way. It might be that perfectly ripe tomato, that just out of the oven bread loaf, or even a teeny swoop of that freshly whipped cream you made. So, with that said, do you consider yourself a nibbler?

Truth, I’m a nibbler. Yes, I admit I am guilty of nibbling along the way of my meal preparation. I always wondered if it was a hereditary thing. You know if your mother, or your grandmother, or your great-grandmother did it, you too picked up on the habit and were doomed to become a nibbler. Thinking back it makes sense to me now. There were times when I was a child where I remember my mother or grandmother cooking and preparing a nice meal only to eat a teeny if any bit. Why? Because she had to be a nibbler! HA HA! I’m not totally sure that is the case, but its my conclusion and I am sticking to it.

The weeks have been lengthy and I have found myself running against the clock. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to catch up from when I was away in Cambodia. I have been struggling to find that even balance with housework, me time, being a good spouse and loving wife, to being a good employee and team member, to being a great best-friend and equally great sister and daughter as well. Whoever said being a million miles away from family made it easier had to be joking. It’s not easy! Oh and throw in a little drama from our neighbors to the North on top of it all. Oy vay. Suggestions on being able to find balance again are greatly welcomed. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and wisdom.

Do I have you scratching your head wondering what the correlation and connection between being a nibbler, playing catch up, and being superwoman is? The connection is that I am finally able to sit down and post a blog post and communicate to the masses that we are A-Okay over here. Really! Well, in this moment that is. I mean, would I be using my downtime to focus so much emphasis on focus on cooking healthy meals for the hubs and I? Not to mention baking my grandmothers strawberry pie complete with her homemade pie crust too! We are talking PIE here…serious stuff (recipe to come soon).

Oooohhh…Speaking of healthier dinner options, I’ve got a treat for you! How does sweet potato black bean burgers sound? (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Recipe slightly adapted from Healthy. Happy. Life. 100% Vegan lunchboxbrunch.com
makes 9-10 medium patties


2 Cans black beans, drained
3 Medium/large sweet potato, already baked, peeled, and mashed
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tsp honey
2 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 Cup wheat flour
A few dashes of black pepper
*I don’t typically season with salt, but you can certainly add if you need to.
2-3 Cups of Panko crumbs
1-2 Tbsp Safflower oil for frying pan

(Optional)Burger toppings: avocado, Dijon mustard, onion


1. Take your already baked sweet potatoes. Peel off the skin, set aside in large mixing bowl.
2. Add drained black beans to sweet potatoes. Mash the beans and potato together. You may need to use your hands and mixer to get the beans and potato to the right consistency.
3. Toss and mash in the lemon pepper seasoning, cayenne pepper, black pepper, flour, Tahini, and honey. Your mixture will be quite soft and tacky. No worries, you will be able to form the burger patty.
4. Heat up the 1-2 Tbsp safflower oil in a pan over high heat.
5. Form the burger patties from mixture and coat in Panko crumbs. Cook until burger is browned on both sides.
6. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel. Cool for a few minutes.

*As noted on the original recipe, the patties may crumble a bit while you are eating. However they are still absolutely delicious and that factor will make up for it in itself. Enjoy!


5 Days

5 Days… I can’t believe that’s all it took to build a home for a family in Cambodia!

The words home sweet home have a nice ring to it, don’t they? I can announce that I am officially home safe and sound from my trip with Habitat for Humanity in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

There are so many things that I associate with the word home. My heart, my loving husband, my Bean cat, safety, my serenity, my comfort. I cannot imagine my life without having my home and all the feelings associated with it.

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to give the gift of home to another family, all thanks to the support and donations from people like you! Your contributions and support allowed my team and I to build a 4 x 6 brick home for a well deserving mother, her children, and her grandchildren. Makes you really count your blessings, right?

On this build, myself and twelve other volunteers lived and worked in a small village located west on the outskirts of Phnom Penh city. We partnered and worked alongside of  local artisans and the future homeowners. We mixed, shoved, and carried mortar, moved and laid piles and piles of brick, bucketed and poured concrete floors, dirt, sand, and we hammered on an aluminum roof.

Not once did I ever feel unsafe or outside of my comfort zone. Okay, maybe once when I had to use the squatty Potty and let the door cracked because their was no power to be able to see anything. HA HA! That is a whole other story in itself, I’ll spare you this time. The village that we built-in was so friendly and always waved and smiled at as. Everyone popped by the site to tame their curiosity and practice using their best English vocabulary to say “hello”! We had two wonderful translators on site, and one supervisor that we nicknamed BN. Sorry, somethings have to remain left unspoken and in Cambodia. Use your imagination…wink,wink.

The children quickly warmed up to our group and eventually learned our work schedule. My heart eagerly looked forward to every morning knowing that when our work vans were pulling in, those kids would be running alongside or up to us to greet us with the biggest grins and sparkles in their little eyes. You could feel how genially excited they were that we were giving them individualized attention. These children had next to nothing, some not even fully clothes, yet they were the happiest and strongest children I have ever met. Another thing that I was absolutely taken back by was, the children would try their hardest to work alongside of us. Mimicking our brink or bucket lines that we formed to get items quickly from point A to B, helping us collect trash, trying to be helpful and bring a tool they would find somewhere. I learned so much from that village in such a short time frame that will stick within me for the rest of my life.

On the last day of the build, we held and attended a ceremony that presented the family with the keys to their new home. After every member of the build took a snip of the red ribbon, the homeowner took the last snip with the scissors and cut completely through to finalize the ribbon cutting ceremony event. We were all invited to remove our shoes and come into the home. Once we were inside we were asked to say something to the family on our experiences during the build. It was incredibly emotional. What a journey it had been for all of us. We all came from such diverse backgrounds, we all were in search of something different when it came to  reasons we were volunteering for the build. However, one thing that bonded us and linked us together in that very moment was the prayers, well wishes, and our hearts all filled with thankfulness and fulfillment for the family.

The words thank you will never ever truly be enough to express what I feel…but for now they will have to do. So, thank you all!!!

Ah! I still cannot believe WE BUILT A HOME IN 5 DAYS!! I hope that I never come down from the high this trip provided my soul. I don’t know about the rest of my team, but I’m ready for my next build!

Please feel free to check out the remaining photos from my trip. You will find photos of the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, National Museum of Cambodia, Wat Phnom temple, Toul Tum Poung Market, our river cruise down the Mekong river,  various foods that I loved (too bad they didn’t share the same love back for me), The killing fields, Genocide museum, and the Cambodian traditional weaving house.


Reality Check


Socks, check.
Bug spray, check.
Bandanas, check.
Sunblock, check.
Bean cat, Wait…Bean cat?! Little miss cannot resist an open bag.



It’s now a reality!

Only a few short hours away from gathering my packed bags and heading off to Cambodia.

My heart and mind are open and ready to be fulfilled with this amazing experience and opportunity with Habitat for Humanity.

I can’t express my thanks, my love, and sheer gratitude enough to my husband, all my dear friends, family, and co workers who are supporting me with praise, prayers, words of encouragement, and have donated to the cause! Without you all I’d never be able to accomplish half of what I have!

Thank you, Thank you!


Good, Bad, Everything in Between

Many apologies, lately I feel like I’ve been rather inconstant with keeping up on our blog. I know it’s only been a week or so since the last update, but it feels like months have went by that I’ve left you all hanging. Life has certainly been fast paced here for the bees. Travel, wonky work hours, and life, just plain life. Now I’m left trying to catch up on my e-mails, blogger friends, pen pal, books, and the heaping pile of laundry that’s bursting at the seams every time I open our walk in. The only real comforting fact to subside my OCD is that i know my grandma’s advise would be, it’s not going anywhere, you will get to it when you can get to it. She’s sweet! I won’t even get started on the fact I haven’t put any thought into packing for my trip to Cambodia yet. Eek! Yes, that’s this Friday…more on that later.

Lets start with the good! I like to jump off on a positive not anyways.

Over the weekend we decided to get more adventurous and try out another new restaurant. Sweet victory! We loved it! Excellent duck and outstanding sides. Of course I included photos for you, even threw in a bonus video too. Sorry for the iPhone quality guys. Can I just point out how ingenious is that table with the built-in rotisserie! Oh Korea, you make being foodies so easy!






Onto the bad…no sugar coating…the place below was the pits. Period.



So whats everything in between? Planning to leave for my Habitat for Humanity trip in Cambodia this FRIDAY!


I wasn’t kidding, fast track life lately! I feel like it was just yesterday kicking off my build fundraising for my team. Here we are almost $2,000 later and boarding a plane soon. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ready, if I’m excited, if I’m worried. Yes, yes, and yes!

I find myself soul-searching a lot, looking for ways to give a piece of myself, my heart, to something meaningful in this world. What an opportunity with Habitat! I get to build a home for a deserving family, give them a forever place. In so many ways I know this will fill my heart temporary. I’m ready to give my all! My sweat, my energy, my manpower. Oivay, sweat…did you see those temperatures above? I’m thinking there will be plenty of sweat to give.

I’m excited to learn about the Cambodia culture and way of life, work hand and hand with the people, be a tourist, and disconnect completely from all the technology that bogs me down. Yes, worry, had to mention that of too. What can I say? I’m a worry wort. With any trip outside of the norm there is always the element of worry, right? Mr. B made me make two deals. One, come back alive, and two I cannot bring any children back with me. Does this man know me or what? Shushhh don’t tell him I admitted that openly.

Cherio! I’m off to finish up and finalize all the in between things before leaving on my trip, but I’ll be back soon with lots of exciting things to share!


Splendid Extended

How was your weekend? I hope it was splendid extended weekend!

Ours surly was!

Some of the highlights from the weekend included:

-Juicing. I’m getting more creative, trying to incorporate sweet potatoes, ginger, etc. so delicious! I can’t help myself. Mmm! If you have a juicer, please share your thoughts and favorites with me. Pretty please and thank you!


Sweet potatoes, carrots, pineapple, red grapes, and jeju oranges. ( I loveed this one! )


Apples, cinnamon, and fresh ginger. ( Mr. B loveed this one! )

-Hair trim. Goodness, my mop desperately needed one! Fuzzy ends…need I say more? Pretty typical trip, except….drum roll….I drove myself for the very first time! No train this time around. If you ever get the chance to drive, or take a taxi in Seoul, you will know why this act in itself was quite the accomplishment! Mr. B was so worried about me driving alone for the first time. He made sure I had a GPS hooked up ready to go, with the route pre-programmed in too! What a guy! Thankfully
I also had a co-pilot. My dear friend accompanied me on the journey. (Girls day!). Woo-hoo! We successfully made it there and back, safe and sound!

-Skype session with my lovely Grandparents. My family always makes me feel so grounded. I treasure all the moments I get to chat with them via Skype, almost as good as being in person.

-Mr. B came home from being away on the East Coast…Hallelujah! Miss that guy a smidge when he’s away.

-Tied up some more of the loose ends of the Cambodia trip with Habitat for Humanity in March. Visa, plane tickets, a bit of research…check, check, double-check.

-Cooked up some fantastic homemade beef stew with Mr. B. Sometimes the best creations come from on the whim ideas. We had left over beef stock from a roast, it was just fitting to make soup. Plus, we’ve still got a white winter backdrop here from our little South Korean living room windows.

Here’s to many more splendid extended weekends in 2013!