Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Anddddd we’re back…

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We’re now home, settled again in South Korea still with semi tired bodies, slight colds, but very full hearts! Our homecation stateside with family brought such wonderful days, so much grace, so many memories and stories, so. much. food., and a lot of laughter. Reminiscing back on days like those cause us to stop and send our prayers of thanks up above.

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Backpackbees

Gather. Eat. Drink. Repeat

Friends, we certainly missed you at our table over the weekend!

We gathered, ate, drank and repeated all evening. Nothing better in our book!

These friends are friends that have cooked a special birthday meal for us and have given us such wonderful gifts, we’re very blessed to have met them all, so we certainly wanted to return the favor with a special treat for them!

The menu was French themed and featured the following:

^L’Apéritif (Drinks): Assorted beer, cocktails, homemade mulled wine

^L’Entrée (Appetizer): Pan seared foie gras served on homemade whole-wheat toast

^Le Plat Principal (The Main Dish):
Sous vide duck breast, served with fresh steamed broccoli, and pommes frites (french-fries)

^La Salade et le Fromage (Salad and Cheese):
Seasonal dinner salad and assorted cheese plate (served on my favorite Pennsylvania board)

^Le Dessert (Dessert): Vanilla-bean crème brûlée with local strawberries

Le Café (Coffee) : Coffee & tea

Bon weekending!

Backpackbees

Cheers To The New Year!

Whew! It’s officially 2016! I know each year I say this…but… where does the time go?!? We just keep blinking and years are flying by. Is this another adulthood realization/moment that stinks? ….I think so!

We, much like you, have got so very many blessings in 2016 to look forward to! Perhaps our best baked goods yet…

So, What exciting things did you do to ring in the New Year? Did you get all dolled up? I was loving the sparkly dresses posted on Social media! How about making it until midnight to snag that good-luck kiss? Wink-wink. Tell us!

Well…we loved living in our own little world this New Years Eve. We went out in style New Years Eve. Yep. Total party animals here! HAHA…We celebrated by cooking up a storm in our cozy kitchen at home. An outstanding homemade four course dinner. We toasted (way before midnight) with sparkling cider and Belgium beer.

So what was this dinner we devoured and taunted our friends and family on Facebook with? Oh boy! Glad you asked, because you are now going to get a play by-play!

The first course up was hot bacon dressing using homemade mustard, bacon, shallots and vinegar. For those of you not familiar with hot bacon dressing, it is a very nostalgic memory of Sunday dinners in our families Pennsylvania kitchen. We modified and tweaked a bit to feature Korean pork AKA Samgyeopsal. It was excellent if we may say so. If you’re curious, this cut of meat is thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat. Oh and it just melts in your mouth when grilled to perfection too! Order this next time cut of meat when you find yourself in a Korean restaurant.

The second course was sous vide tarragon butter lobster tails (yep, here we go cooking our condom foods again). The lobster tails were seasoned with fresh parsley, chervil and of course melted butter. Much like its friend escargot, it’s an amazing little vehicle for melted butter! Mmmmm!

The third course, seared ahi tuna crusted with sesame seeds and black pepper. The marinade was sesame oil, soy sauce and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Just when I thought the meal couldn’t get any better the tuna made its cameo and completely blew our minds.

Drum roll please…..vanilla bean crème brûlée with fresh strawberries. No further description needed.

Now that we’ve left you with a grumbling belly, cheers everyone! Wishing you all a happy healthy New Year!

Backpackbees

Merry Christmas!

If you follow along on our Instagram account, you’d see that we had a really quaint Christmas eve dinner at home, just the two of us. A clove ham simmered away half of the day making the home smell heavenly! When I got home from work I got right to it whipping up some sage sweet potato gratin, creamed spinach, and a nice green salad. Everything was decadent yet pretty light and healthy. Mmmmhmmmm Getting in all those greens! (Sorry all the photos are over on Instagram here..)

Christmas Morning we were pretty casual and leisurely opened our gifts. Being just the two of us here not off jet-setting our holiday, it sort of felt short this year? I can’t really explain… It was absolutely lovely, just a different sort of feeling that’s hard to put into words. Honestly, this time of year you can’t pay me to leave the living room. I LOVE the Christmasy feeling in our home, the decorations we’ve collected from our travels around the world, The tree glowing in the evening making it even more cozy. Ah! I just LOVE it! ….Now the only thing we’re missing is a roaring fireplace to cuddle up next to. Perhaps our next place/residence will have that? Wink-wink.

^^Santa dropped off a new treddy for us!

Mr. B made sure that he got the traditional Christmas B breakfast going. Anyone following along, outside of our family, that is familiar with dried beef gravy, or SOS? Mmmm it’s their family tradition that I absolutely love and have definitely become accustom to! For not having a local Pennsylvanian butcher near by, I’d say he did an awesome replication.

Christmas evening we were invited to have Christmas dinner with good friends. I took along a healthier festive peppermint brownie cake.

We had a really nice time helping cook an incredible dinner together. It’s really hard to pick a favorite, but if I HAD to give you some show stoppers… I’d have to say the ham with its excellent glaze and the British sticky toffee pudding. Mmmm but seriously, everything was delicious and made even better with the great company! Oh and we did our first Christmas crackers complete with crowns too! What fun!!

Merry Christmas dear friends!

Ps: We didn’t have a white Christmas, but did wake up this morning (the day after Christmas) to this…. Just as GOOD!

Backpackbees

4th of July

The 4th of July is one of those holidays that we Bees really crave a good ol’ BBQ, the rays from the sunshine, fireworks that light up the night sky, lounging by the pool, or on beach with your close friends and family. We almost had it all checked off the list this year, minus being 6,875 miles from the Pennsylvania and most of our family. Almost…

We headed to the East Coast of South Korea and Mr. B finally got in some diving and I some much-needed R+R+R (rest, relaxation, reading). Kelsey joined up with us on Saturday afternoon along with some fun friends from the UK, South Africa, Korea and the US. We learned all sorts of useful British and Korean words — crisps, brass monkey and chincha. HA-HA.

Waking up each morning and falling asleep each night with the sounds of the ocean waves crashing against the rocks right outside of the resort windows was so calming. The view was breathtaking even when the fog rolled in over the boat harbor. I couldn’t contain myself with all of the gorgeous wild flowers popping up all around too.

In the morning we really roughed it by grilling on our little Korean stove top with our cast iron skillet. Wakey wakey eggs and bakey. We actually had quite the little spread going for “roughing it”. Greek yogurt, red grapes, blackberries, English muffins with the nooks and crannies, because really is there any other kind? In the evening of course we had our BBQ and a nice selection of condiments.

We all enjoyed potbingsoo too! With a view to boot!

The dive shop owner had the sweetest Boston terrier dog named 사랑 salang, korean word for love. Ohhh and how I loved this dog! It was so playful yet reserved and chill. It walked around playing a game with us all. she’d find plastic bottles and random items from the divers, latch onto it then wanted people to try to take whatever it was from her. She salang was sweet.

I strolled over to the observatory one morning, then again to show Kelsey too. What a wonderful ocean view and breeze felt from up there! I could have stayed out in that ledge all day. The deck had clear glass floor that allowed you to view the ocean below your feet. It reminded me so much of being in Chicago with the glass observation deck. You never know quite how people are going to react. Even in a different language body language is all the same.

How was your 4th? Hope you were all safe and celebrated it right!

Backpackbees

Good Luck

Chowing down for 365 days of good luck!

Good ol’ central Pennsylvania pork and sauerkraut.

What’s your traditional good luck food to kick the new year off?

Thought this was interesting —> Foods To Eat For Good Luck

Backpackbees

Thoughts of…

Bump bump bump bump neighbors up above (aka graceful buffalos)…
Our chicken and waffles escapades tonight included some bumps and lumps
Still absolutely delicious…
Reminds us of home…
Don’t knock it until you try it, google it you won’t be sorry
‘Tis the season to be overly be nostalgic, no?
man’s best friend
These… Size 8 please. Comfort for my chronically cold tootsies. Could be win-win Mr. B, think about it…
Time for bed…

Now it’s your turn, what are your thoughts of?

Backpackbees

Moody Weather

This weekend was damp, foggy and moody. You know the kind, absolutely perfect for snuggling in and watching movies while playing games.

We watched The Office (currently re-watching the seasons together), lit candles all the while beautiful golden-yellow and fire-red leaves gracefully drop outside as the fog rolled by our floor to ceiling length living room windows.

We drove around the countryside with friends looking at the fall color, it was breathtaking. The colors and the views, ah! It reminded us of fall in Pennsylvania, I get the sneaking suspicion that’s part of the reason why we love our little home in South Korea so much.

There is just something about admiring God’s wonderful work that makes my little heart sing.

We stopped off at a coffee shop, Cafe Terra, nestled high up on the mountainside. We ordered and sipped on caramel macchiatos, enjoyed sweet chocolaty honey bread (I had a bite…you know not a fan of chocolate) took turns oogling the sweetest baby ever and enjoyed one another’s stories and friendly conversations. Did I mention this cafe had three charming pups, some song birds, and a tepee just outback? Yep, it was definitely our jam.

Here’s hoping you had an equally moody November weekend.

^^What happens when you give Mr. B the camera….

Backpackbees

Cafe Terra: 가평읍 (산유리 725-1), Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do #010-5419-8789

Messy

The original mastermind behind the recipe I am going to share with you all stated that this dish looks like the inside of her car. Messy, unorganized, basically a chaotic mess…. I have to say, this dish easily applies quite well to our current state of mind too.

Messy.

We have had a really challenging past few weeks, topping everything off with losing our beloved family pet, Bean cat, yesterday morning. She fell very ill and passed very quickly thereafter. We still can’t believe that she is actually gone, nor do I ever know if we will ever be able to accept the harsh reality of it all.

A gigantic ball of a mess.

I really like that this blog is positive and uplifting showcasing our experiences and the good memories of our life as we live and travel around the world. However, I feel that I, we, are in a really messy state of mind dealing with our loss. I’m not sure how this post is going to go.. I can hardly form complete thoughts from moment to moment, but typing or writing out things in the past has always been therapeutic and added a little peace.

There are still so many questions that we know will never be answered. Still so many things that race through our minds. All of the what ifs. All of the things we are beating ourselves up inside over. The guilt, the remorse, the anger of it all, not getting the chance to tell her goodbye.

Bean holds such a special place in our hearts. We adopted her as a kitten in our home state of Pennsylvania. From Pennsylvania Bean traveled and lived with us through all of our marriage monumental moments. She moved from our first home in PA, to our first apartment in VA, to our first overseas home in South Korea. Gosh she was such a brave spitfire of a cat! She was always with us, no matter what! Always there to greet us when we got home every evening, and always there to wake us up every morning (oh was she was good at that!) she kept us both company earning two Masters degrees with us (Trust us, she earned those two Masters degrees too, she put many hours sitting patiently in our office on the desk or chair alongside of us). When Mr. B would travel for work, or when he moved to South Korea for the first six months without us, she was there with me through it all. She kept us laughing, kept our spirits lifted, and rarely was bad.

Last night going to a place we call home, feels no longer like a home. There is such an emptiness in my heart and in this space. The silence is just so loud and feels so hard to deal with. This is the first time in over five and a half years that I have ever felt so incredibly alone. I know that I have a loving partner who is always there for me, a loving caring family, and amazing friends that are all over the world, however…I am so alone without her here. Everything we do reminds us of her. Any sounds that we hear from our neighbors makes us think its her getting into something or jumping up onto the table, but it’s not.. We went to bed last night so badly wanting to call her in to jump us with us… but we couldn’t.

It’s always such awkward feeling when you have a dear friend that loses a pet of family member. You never quite know what to say to them. You know that no matter what you say never is going to really help, but you offer those words of encouragement, blessings, prayers, etc. However, those words, thoughts, blessings and prayers were dearly appreciated. We truly are so thankful for everything from everyone and want to say thank you to the masses as best as we can. Knowing that you all were sending those prayers Bean’s way and for us meant the world. Thank you all so much.

As I said earlier, messy… perfect dish to sum everything up.

Brown Butter Garden Vegetable Pasta Bake

Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pasta, like ziti or rotini
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, chopped
2 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, or whatever you prefer

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare water for pasta and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta to cook. Drain when finished.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large pan on medium-low heat. Add in olive oil, then add in onions, zucchini, corn and tomatoes with salt and pepper, stirring to coat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally, while softened.

While pasta and vegetables are cooking, heat a small saucepan oven medium heat. Add in butter and whisk constantly, stirring until bubbly and brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Turn off heat under vegetables and add in pasta. Drizzle in brown butter and add in cheese, stirring well to coat. Put pasta into oven safe baking dish. Pop the dish on into the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or just until cheese is all melted and bubbly. Remove from oven, pop open a nice bottle of champagne or wine and please say a toast in remembrance of our dear Bean cat.

Backpackbees

In Need Of Antidote for Too Many Christmas Cookies

After one to many Christmas cookies, a nice hearty soup was in order for we Bees. With our recent trip home, I knew just the antidote!

Chicken corn soup with rivels!

Have you ever tried chicken corn soup with rivels before? It’s absolutely wonderful!

Rivels? Scratching your head yet? No, no, these are not little bugs or anything crazy like that. Think of rivels as a homemade pasta. Little, perfect, delicious, little pasta’s.

In Central PA, typically we eat this soup towards the end of summer with freshly picked ears of corn. Oh how I just adore fresh sweet corn! We Bees were truly spoiled because my family would always kindly share the corn from their fields with us too. Sigh…

Speaking of family, I skyped with my grandparents this weekend and had to tell them what a proud little baker I was with my chicken corn soup accomplishments. I mean we are talking about homemade chicken stock folks! That’s serious stuff in my book, or maybe just serious time? Nevertheless, well worth it in the end! Anyways, it turns out my grandparents were cooking the soup the following day as well. Guess you can take the Bees out of Pennsylvania, but you’ll never take Pennsylvania out of the Bees.