Ah! To go back to The time when life was only as hard as choosing between your favorite cereal boxes for the best toys.
Happy Halloween Y’all!
I’ve come to a realization after many, many, years of denial…I truly think it stems from some form of divorce child syndrome….(hey, we all have some dysfunctional childhood syndrome, it happen!). Sorry mom and dad.
There I was, I found myself drying dishes in our kitchen, after washing them moments before, having a conversation with Mr. B about organizing and cleaning up. I said aloud without even realizing it was coming out of my mouth, “If my home, office, car, etc. are clean and tidy, then everything will be all right, because I’m in complete control of those spaces and the things that fill them. Everything’s in the place it needs to be.
Can we pump the brakes for a moment? If this ever was a moment that a weekend cake and break from reality inside my organized little head was needed… This. Was. It.
Hence my adventures in making the French weekend cake, this past weekend. Do I have you scratching your head yet, questioning, “weekend cake” is there even such a thing? Yes, indeed and of course it’s delicious too!
In France le weekend cake, or gateau de voyage is traditional french pound cake that’s rich and buttery. The cake itself got the name because it’s a cake that can be made ahead of time and easily transported throughout the weekend on your picnics.
In the states, Sarah Lee and Starbucks mass produce a really sad spongy pound cake (that people love? Hey, I was one of them too…) that is very dense and heavily flavored with butter, but it essentially is the same concept and will keep for a few days.
Isn’t there just something so special about baking and getting to use your hands to create and transform something as simple as dough into something so delicious and beautiful? Plus baking is something that takes me completely out of my mind and worries of clutter and unorganized couch pillows and unmade beds. (Yep, I’m that girl).
Finally, everything was finished and the oven was cooling off. We both waited for this very moment and huddled eagerly together around the table and with every bite, there were waves that swept us away in pure citrusy ecstasy. Now that’s a weekend cake!
Wait…. hold the press…. Can you really make home fries without potatoes?
Have you ever heard of yuca root? Perhaps casssava might ring a bell? Still no?
No worries…. Me too, until recently when Mr. B and I stumbled upon some waxy yuca for sale. I’ll admit I had seen it there before, always curious and pondering as to what it was and how someone would prepare it.
We used our trusty source Google. (Go ahead Google it too). We found out that there were some surprisingly outstanding benefits to eating yuca root. For starters it’s a great source of vitamin C, phosphorous, and calcium. Yuca is also high in fiber and plays a crucial part in good intestinal health. Can’t get better than that, right? Wrong, it gets better!
My fellow followers, the tasteeeee! It was just AS GOOD as the typical American carbolicious comfort of home fries we grew up on. If it wasn’t for yuca being a tad bit starchier, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference.
We recently bought a griddle for our teeny tiny Korean stove top. Essentially this griddle is for a grill, however it works quite nicely for us in our kitchen. Sunday morning came around and we thought how perfectly the new adventures of yuca and the new griddle would work together.
We really do not have a recipe per say. Just treat yuca like you would a potato. Get rid of the waxy exterior, process in a food processor, or chop by hand how you’d like your home fries. Next heat up some safflower oil, or your favorite oil on your griddle, or large pan and fry those babies up! Don’t forget a side of bacon and dippy eggs with cheese too.
Looking back, thinking about the incredible aromas wafting from our kitchen, it was as if we were in an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Triple D!) grease splatter and all. We like to keep it rather authentic like that. HA-HA, yeah our good friends know that only 5 seconds would pass and Mrs. B would be running around like a mad woman wiping it up immediately.
Have you ever made or tried yuca? We’d love to know some recipe ideas if you’d be willing to share.
I recently the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, also called the DDP (see prior post) and sought out the enchanted flower garden exhibit located on the roof of one of the buildings.
I was immediately drawn to the exhibit, because of a photo taken of a woman making her own path through the exhibit of flowers. Don’t ask me why, but I thought to myself,”Surely that isn’t the path you’d take through something like that”. “Why would she do that and go directly through the exhibit like that?” You’d need to see the photo to know exactly what I’m talking about, but humor me and use your imagination here.
When I finally made it to the exhibit I was snapping away, watching various couples and families throw their kimchi fingers in the air, kiss, hug, pose, etc. I saw most of these couples and families stay on the outside border of the exhibit, but noted a few that made their own random path right through the flowers for the perfect photo, like the women in the photo I mentioned.
Here is why…. Because we all are on our own paths in life. I’ve learned that to get the most of your own path in life, you need to be happy for others on their own path. Even though we find ourselves comparing sometimes, no single path is right for us all. Think about it…Does it matter that they are going a different direction than you? Does it matter that they are making their own path through the enchanted flower garden of life? No. So when it comes to your own personal path, why let others paths discourage you?
The takeaway is simple, we all need to encourage, celebrate and support our friends, co-workers and families on their own path through the enchanted flower garden we call life.
Enjoy the views and don’t get discouraged on your path!
The Dongdaemun Design Plaza- D section design lab, take stairs to top
Cost: Free, reportedly there only until November
Subway stop/ exit: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 1
When in Seoul, take metro line 4 and exit at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station exit 1. As soon as you exit, you will find yourself standing inside a futuristic looking space, but don’t worry your subway ride didn’t send your straight into a sci-fi movie. No, you’re in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, also referred to as the DDP.
At first you might feel like you are going to get lost within the structures. You just might, but I encourage you to do it! Get lost and discover the plaza from all the interesting and unique angles! After you get completely lost and find your way back to my blog, message me and let me know what you thought.
You knew I couldn’t resist… we are foodies through and through! We feasted on some rather delicious Thai food while we were in Thailand! These were just a few of our favorites shots.
Poo Phad Pong Karee – Stir-fried crab with yellow curry sauce
Stir-fried Scallops with Black Pepper Sauce
Som Tam- a salads of shredded green papaya with lemon dressing, tomatoes, chilli and dry shrimps
Pad Thai- stir fried rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts, and ground peanuts
*Not included in photos:
Tom Yam Khung Lai Sua – Spicy Toger Prawns soup with lemongrass, galangal and mushrooms
Pad See Eew- Stir fried flat noodles with egg and vegetable
What are your favorite Thai dishes? Share! We’d love to order them and maybe even try to cook them too.
Before going to Thailand I knew that I wanted a day with elephants somewhere and sometime in my life. The Thailand trip popped up and I immediately ran the thought past Mr. B. Mr. B was great typing away on his computer and of course agreed, not really knowing what he was agreeing to. His exact words as I recall, “Find it and books it.” Me: “REALLY?” “Yep, book it.” I spent all night searching for the perfect tour with great reviews, that met our time frame and location. I came across many different site but Bangkok Day Tours Co Ltd seemed to really strike my fancy, so I took a leap of faith and booked it.
We received a confirmation e-mail almost immediately providing details about the pick up time from our hotel, the daily schedule, change of clothing, etc. I was like a giddy little child at Christmas. I was SUPER excited to get to spend time with the elephants, just like when I was a child. (Ask my grandparents about it sometime).
We were picked up at 7AM by our driver Lim, who by the way is an EXCELLENT driver! This man will get you from point A to point B on time without a delay. We got outside of the city of Bangkok and got to see another yet another side of Thailand that we really enjoyed.
We started off the trip by visiting the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I’ve read that people complained about the vendors hooking their boat and pulling them into each stand, but Mr. B and I really didn’t mind it because once you said no thank you, you were immediately released and they were onto their next boat. I mean really you have to know going to a market like this that it would be vendors that want your money. After all, they make a living off of tourist and locals spending money. We really just enjoyed the boat ride through the marketplace. Each stand was really clean too! I think that our favorite was the vendor that hooked and pulled us in and wanted Larry to see a really big snake. We laughed so hard! Yeahhhhhh……
*Our boat guide
We got back onto the road and headed towards our next destination. Along the way Lim provided us with snacks. Uncle Bob I took this photo for you because of the brand… do you recall ever seeing these when you were a distro for Lays? We really liked them, but I think we are bias living in Korea and all.
We picked up our guide Moe along the way. We went to the Bridge over the River Kwai. Moe was so kind and asked us if we wanted some photos together on the bridge. Moe explained the background about the bridge and it being a very strategic railway linking Thailand with Burma. We discussed how during the construction of the bridge over the Khwae Yai River thousands of POWs lives were tragically taken. Honestly, I felt bad smiling for photos on it or near it.
We got back on the road and drove to lunch at a Local Thai restaurant. There wasn’t anything special to write home about. I think the restaurant was known for tour groups to stop at and really emphasized American food so that people were not turning up their noses at the unknown local Thai cuisine. Mr. B and I joked that we were going to go to the backside where it looked as locals were eating and order, but we didn’t. We did eat most of the Thai food and got some googly eyes from other foreigners there thinking what in the world are those two eating. They just didn’t know what they were missing out on.
*The highlight was the deep-fried coconut bananas!
We drove some more and finally arrived at the Elephant camp where we got to Bathe and ride the Elephants in the River Kwai. Our guide Moe took the camera while we were with the elephants and snapped away. It started to rain when we got there and for some reason it made me more nervous because I knew we were heading to the river, but in the end the sun came out and it was an absolutely incredible memory that we will both look back on and smile. (Especially knowing that Mr. B was JUST as nervous as I!)
The next few days were a whirlwind. I booked and crammed every single Bangkok minute full of fun things to do and see while we were there. Thankfully Mr. B didn’t grumble to much and was a pretty willing participant accompanying me. Thank you for everything Mr. B.
Each morning we were up before the sun getting ourselves together and ready for the day. First on the list was the cooking class we booked. We easily found the mass transit system and purchased all day passes. If I recall correctly the cost was like $8 or $9 US. Here were just some views along the way.
We, like many, love to travel around the world and experience a different culture with its culinary delights and then be able to take that skill and recreate it to share with our families and friends later on. Thanks to Kelsey’s recommendation on the class, we cooked with Poo. No typo, we cooked with Poo and we really liked it too! LOL! Let me explain more about that.
Khun Saiyuud Diwong, known as Poo (it’s short for “Chompoo”, or rose apple). Poo is a resident of Klong Toey, one of the largest slum communities in the city of Bangkok. She has been running a cooking school for tourists as well as local residents for over 5 years. Poo continues to be gaining media coverage from around the world, most notably cooking with Jamie Oliver in his home (WHOA!), but that’s not the most important thing to her, she has changed the lives of her family and the lives of many neighbors in her community. Poo is able to provide employment and support her neighbors in starting their own viable home business. Please read more about Helping Hands, also mentioned in my prior post when I was in Cambodia.
The day begins with a tour of Klong Toei market. Not only do you get to learn about the ingredients you will be using later in your class, but you get a real in your face overview of Thai market culture, products and produce (smells, sights and all). We were surprised that even after all the markets we’ve been to around Asia, this one was rather different.
*The orange is just egg yolks
*These are eel
*These are REALLY big water bugs… that they eat….and no not just on some Bangkok version of Fear Factor
*Remember me trying this in Malaysia?
*The scent of these were beautiful! So much so, a mum had to purchase some for her young son because of the various pungent market smells
*The pink eggs are just pickled like our central Pennsylvania red beets and picked eggs
*I sort of kind of know how to tell the difference between the deep red or white inside dragon fruit from the outside… kind of
*Mini eggplant I thought were really awesome
Poo only takes on 10 people at a time with her cooking groups and I must agree, looking back no more than 10 is the perfect size when trying to get through the market and also cook together.
After the market we went to the Klong Toei neighborhood. This is where Poo’s kitchen is located. unfortunately Poo’s original kitchen burnt and was destroyed in a fire, but fortunately with all of the wonderful continued business she and her staff were quickly able to re-establish another site again.
We were dropped off and took a short guided walk through one of Bangkok’s poorer areas. This was an experience in itself because most coming to Bangkok on holiday will never experience or even see these areas. The children and locals are genuinely friendly wanting to say hello. I really felt welcomed and very safe the entire time.
The class is impressively organized and very thorough. We learned to prepare a 3-course meal in only two hours! Of course let’s not forget the best part…. eating your delicious creations. If you cannot finish the dish you prepared, no worries, as they will bag and let you to take home.
We were introduce you to basic Thai cooking techniques along with family stories to accompany them. We cooked Yum Ta Krai (Lemon Grass Salad), Gaeng Massaman Gai (Massaman Curry with Chicken), Pad Thai (Thai Noodles with Prawns), and had a Thai Dessert Tasting. Poo and her staff purchased various types of fruits that they explained and showed as at the market and allowed us to taste and eat them, along with our mango and coconut rice. YUM-O! EVERYTHING was amazing! Plus we met some really great new friends too! (Thanks again for taking some of our photos).
*Pumpkin filled with custard
The overall experience of cooking with Poo was inspirational and I walked away with a much deeper connection to Thailand, because the proceeds go to the local community. Poo and her staff were incredibly welcoming, accommodating, hilarious, very patient, took the time to explain and answer anything asked, and warm spirited. Each of them served as outstanding representation of their culture. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that incredible individuals like Poo and her staff are trying to make a difference not only for themselves, but their own community. Thank you ladies!
and the Worlds Your Oyster…HA-HA! You remember the cheesy Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok?” song from the 80’s? LOL… to be honest I had to Google who sang the song because I was clueless, but I couldn’t resist using it because it was just so perfect!
Anywho, We are back from our holiday adventures in Bangkok, Thailand. I realize that I am quite delayed because not only did I come back with Thai cooking spices, but a wicked head cold as well. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving when you fly. Yes, this little gift that has left me basically out of commission for about a week now. Today is Sunday and it’s still lingering and has me blogging from the cozy comforts of our bed. Speaking of beds… I have to get started on our trip and the hotel!
We arrived in Bangkok, Thailand and were picked up from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) by our hotel. The drive was approximately 30 minutes and for the most part was all highways. Mr. B coordinated a pickup service with the hotel before the trip. Looking back we both agreed that we would have absolutely been fine taking the Skytrain (Mass Transit), however having the convenience of avoiding customs/immigration was REALLY nice and might have been worth it in the end. Conveniently Hotel Muse is just a short walk from Chidlom BTS Skytrain Station. So anyone following along that is concerned with the ease of Bangkok travel, we hope we help ease your anxiety.
We arrived at Hotel Muse and were promptly checked in, greeted with an assortment of complementary drinks, both alcoholic and non. We then were guided to the elevators and whisked away to our home for the next few nights.
The look and feel of the hotel is traditional Thai that meets a dark sophisticated chic. The primary colors used throughout are black, brown, greys and white, and that gives the entire interior a dark, mysterious, moody, sleek feel. All and all our room was appointed and very spacious with the uniqueness of a dark hard wood floor. Each night when we arrived back to the room, we truly felt like we were in our home and that feeling alone was completely worth it to us. (Don’t panic the window into the bathroom has a shade you can pull for more privacy).
As I mentioned above, the hotel is located in a very convenient district within Bangkok. It is surrounded by many Embassy, major malls, and a mass transit stop. You would think that you’d hear some noise from the outside city hustle and bustle, but actually it was incredibly quiet and really relaxing when we were in our room. The cityscape views out the window were outstanding as well. I’m a sucker for tall buildings and the nightscape and this room hit the mark for me.
Speaking of nightscapes, if you do find yourself in Bangkok do yourself a favor and at least visit Hotel Muse so that you can enjoy a drink high above the city at the Speakeasy Rooftop Bar. I could have sat up there all night and would have too if I wouldn’t have seen our bill. Whew we did some damage.
Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan – MGallery Collection
55/555 Langsuan Road
Bangkok 10330, Thailand