Tag Archives: South Korea

Birthday Celebration

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For baby R’s 1st birthday party, Momma and Papa bear threw an epic birthday bash!

Check out all of the fabulous little Pinterest and Etsy details! So many details! Everywhere you looked! Eek! Even fun colorful camping themed food! Too cute!

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There were tons of babies just bobbling all around running or scooting from room to room. We all had so much fun celebrating this little baby bear and her special day!

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Thank you for inviting us! Wishing you a very happy birthday sweet baby R!!

Backpackbees

Friends giving 2016

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This year as I sat down amongst eleven dear friends at our Friendsgiving table and I couldn’t help but think about the saying, “If you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” It’s so simplistic, yet holds such truth and so much beauty, especially during this holiday season.

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When we all sat down together to dig into our delicious spread, we all went around the table and shared what we were thankful for. It was one of the best memories that will stay with us when we think back on this very dinner. Listening to each person express how truly thankful they were for friends like us, like those around the table, made anything else going on just melt away.

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The American Thanksgiving of course is not celebrated here in Korea, but that doesn’t stop us from pillaging our local vegetable market for local goods to make it happen. Over the years we’ve learned the hard way that a big ol’ bird simply doesn’t fit in our tiny “easy bake oven”, so we improvised and purchase an already made Turkey (a deep-fried one at that!) plus we sous-vide extra turkey breast and baked a ham in our crockpot. To make all the sides work, we borrowed another small oven, giving us a total of three ovens to work with. Talk about handling the heat in the kitchen… whew! SO.MUCH.FOOD. In the end everything worked out perfectly! We were pleased with all of the meats being moist and flavorful, and it was by far quicker to purchase and sous vide! (Check out that carrot cake too! A friend of our’s had it made with little bumblebee on it! Swoon!!)

Speaking of turkey…. THIS little turkey had a teeny bit of her first Thanksgiving turkey too!

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As always….we are very thankful for all of you too… for those that have stuck by us, reading, commenting, viewing our photos and virtually traveled all around the world with us. Thank you friends! Happy Thanksgiving from Korea!!

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Our Late Octoberfest Celebration

Over the weekend we celebrated Octoberfest with some friends…yes, yes.. a tab bit late…but eh whatever. We raise our “steins” to our favorite German flavors like sausage, pretzels, warm German potato salad, German Beer Cheese, rotkohl, apfelkuchen and yes, beer. Prost!

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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

Every Day

I watch her all day and I have the same thoughts over and over… PLEASE God let me always remember this moment, this little grin, this teeny face, this sweet snuggle, this precious giggle, this monster coo… I know I have to savor each of these moments endlessly, we’ve already hit the 6 months mark and she’s growing so very quickly into a little lady, these photos only prove my point more so.

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Special visit

The past few days have been a busy blur of copious amounts of good food and buzzing all around Korea like we were tourist again. This time the only difference was, we had bumblebee and Kelsey along for the ride!

Yes, Kelsey, this young woman has more depth, kindness, loyalty, boldness, grace, honesty and wisdom than I ever knew could exist in a person! Oh! And she’s family to boot!! Cousin Kelsey, you my dear are nothing short of amazing and we are SO happy you chose to come visit us again before starting your new exciting adventure on the East coast! We cannot wait to watch you go on to do big things!

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Scrumdiddlyumptious

Another summer slow cooker meal coming at ‘cha. Scrumdiddlyumptious slow cooker salisbury steak! Say THAT 5 times fast…. Whew!

Salisbury steak makes me think back to the Kid cuisine frozen meals from childhood. Do you remember those? The brownies….mini corn on the cob…You might be rolling your eyes at the mention of a frozen meal, but hey let’s be real here, we were 90s kids growing up in America, we ate them occasionally, along with Gushers, DunkAroos, Sunny Delight, and Fruit By The Foot. Talk about things that rocked our jean jacket and jellies off and was total bliss in the eyes of a 90s kid! Blast from the past, huh?

Whatever would make me want to recreate a frozen meal you ask? Possibly nostalgia? Possibly part curiosity of the taste as an adult? I’m really not sure? Whatever the case, I’m salivating thinking back on the smells that wafted through our home when these little guys were simmering away in the slow cooker. Mmmmm just imagine the combination of beef, mushrooms, onions and that au jus mix magic!

We served the salisbury with a nice fresh head of locally grown broccoli, herbed stuffing, and sous vide black truffle pomme purée. It seriously turned from a good ‘ol central Pennsylvania go to frozen dinner classic to a simply gorgeous meal with minimal effort (….minus the black truffle pomme purée).

You guys…. It was GOOD! Sooooo good! I swear all that was missing was a sisterly fight over what we were watching next, Rocko’s Modern Life or The Fresh Prince….

Enjoy the blast from the past!

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak
Recipe source slightly altered from Here

Ingredients:

1.39lbs Lean ground beef
1 (1 ounce) Envelope dry onion soup mix
4 Tbls Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbls Lactose free milk
2 Tbls All-purpose flour
1 Tbls Safflower oil
1 (10.75 ounce) Can of condensed cream of chicken soup (low sodium)
1/2 of Packet dry au jus mix
3/4 Cup Better than chicken bouillon broth
Hand full of mushrooms, sliced
Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk using your hands. Shape into 8 patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Dredge the patties in flour just to coat, and quickly brown on both sides in the hot skillet.

Place browned patties into the slow cooker stacking alternately like a pyramid.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and chicken broth. Throw in chopped mushrooms.

Pour mixture over the meat. Cook on the Low setting for 4 or 5 hours, until ground beef is well done.

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Little Fantasy

I’m going to let you in on a wee little fantasy of mine, well… If you know me really well… maybe it’s not such a little secret. Sooo one of my BIGGEST dreams is to own my own little café. Obviously this little fantasy is on hold until the day comes that we finally choose a town to plant our roots in.

Right now I have a silly little hobby while my dream is on hold, it consists of visiting café and coffee shops in the local area, as well as when we travel, collecting ideas that helping me create my café vision board. It’s so much fun!

If you close your eyes for a moment I’ll give you a brief tour around my café. Here we go…..As you approach the café from the street you will first see the all glass bi-fold doors that let natural light into the café. Once you step inside will see that the café has a very clean look and feel to it. Bright white walls, black modern track lighting above for the ability to illuminate where needed if we move tables, a few green plants in terra-cotta pots, a large black menu board with white removable lettering for menu changes, a simple counter with refrigerated glass display for the baked goodies, an epoxy finished floor….you get the idea…(I’ve had just a little time to think about these things ha ha ha) Nothing outlandish, just simple, keeping it very simple. Okay, open your eyes. You can keep reading onward now.

I also envision this little bumblebee buzzing around and helping us with our customers.

Outside of serving a good cup of coffee in the café, I would serve a rotation of seasonal handmade breads, pound cakes, muffins, pies, and cakes, again super simple but delicious!

I know that fantasies are just that, a fantasy… and this fantasy will probably never really take off, buttttt sometimes it’s super fun to imagine and pretend that it just might. So right now I’m practice baking and testing baked goodies in our own kitchen listening to jazz, sharing the outcomes with you all and these little moments don’t make it seem as far-fetched, or altogether downright silly.

I present to you the summer sinful frosted zucchini brownie recipe. Enjoy and try to refrain from eating the entire sheet pan in one sitting.

Summer Sinful Frosted Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients:

Brownie Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 Cup Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips 60%
2 Tbls Unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey or Ghirardelli)
1 Cup Granulated sugar
1 Egg
1 Egg yolk
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 Cup grated zucchini, squeeze out the moisture!
1/4 Tsp Baking soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup all purpose flour

Frosting Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Salted butter (4 Tablespoons if using stick)
2 Tbls Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 Cup Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips 60%
2 Tbls Lactose free milk, regular cow milk would work as well
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With lightly sprayed parchment paper, line a quarter sheet baking pan.

In medium saucepan on stove, over medium to low heat, melt safflower oil, chocolate chips, and cocoa together.

Remove mixture from heat and stir in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and zucchini.

Next stir in the remaining dry ingredients and then pour into prepared quarter pan.

Spread mixture out evenly and pop into oven about 20-25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle of brownies.

(**Important that the frosting is hot to pour easily over brownies.) Prepare the frosting ingredients in a pot on stove for the frosting so you can make immediately make once brownies are done, but don’t start until brownies come out of oven.

As soon as the brownies are done baking and come out if the oven, head to your pre-prepperd pot and melt the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and milk together and simmer gently, keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Pour the hot frosting over brownies. Spread frosting evenly.

Try to resist….. Let brownies cool at least 5 minutes before cutting into pieces and devouring! (Keep in the refrigerator or your pretend cooled Café glass display ;).

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Importance of sorts

Thursday evening I prepared THIS meal with Bumblebee.

Okayyyy it’s pretty obvious that she realllly can’t jump in and assist me just yet, BUT I feel that she does truly enjoy hearing and watching us bounce around our kitchen space chattering and singing to her in silly little voices and making funny facial expressions. Most of the time she sits smiling watching us, or chews on her Very Hungry Caterpillar or hands (hehehe).

We try to explain what we’re making and the importance of fresh healthy ingredients.

We want her to grow up knowing how to cook and not be afraid or shy away from wild ingredients like foie gras, pink peppercorns, Korean or Thai peppers, or even smoked sea salt. (wait…are those ingredients considered wild??)

Together we’re striving to impress upon her the importance of good locally grown food, pairing a nice glass of wine with a meal, taking and making time with family and friends as we do Thursday evenings to relax, enjoy and eat together. Most of all to savor this short sweet life we’re all so blessed to live.

This dinner was almost too good for words! Seriously! It was SO simple and has to be one of the best weeknight meals that’s been served at our table. Oh boy, the gravy was so savory! The meat literally melts in your mouth and also makes your entire home smell all homey and delicious!

Slow cooker Balsamic Rosemary Beef Chuck Roast

(Should serve 4 comfortably with other sides of course)

Ingredients:
4 lb Beef Chuck Roast
1/2 Tsp Better than Bouillon Beef Base
4 oz Hot water
1/2 Cup Balsamic vinegar
2 Fresh rosemary sprigs
2 Bay leaves
1/2 Yellow onion, cut in half
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 Large cloves of garlic, minced

Gravy:
All purpose flour to get a thick gravy consistency
2 Tbls Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste (you’ll need it if you’re salt and pepper hounds like we are)

Instructions:

Slice the chuck roast meat into nice stew-like cuts.

In slow cooker combine the sliced meat, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, onion and minced garlic and stir/ mix by hands to coat everything nicely.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or if in a pinch on high for 4-6 hours. (The goal is to slow cook the meat until it melts in your mouth)

Once meat is cooked, use tongs to remove the meat into a separate bowl. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves.

In another separate bowl, add flour and slowly mix in about 2 1/2 Cups of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker until it’s smooth. (Be cautious because hot liquid and flour like to make lumpy gravy).

Next microwave until the flour mixture thickens, it’s about 1 minute. Once it’s a nice thick looking paste, whisk that into the remaining slow cooker liquid to create the gravy.

Taste and adjust any seasonings / add in another 2 Tbls of balsamic vinegar if desired, or needed for more flavor.

Return beef back to the slow cooker and stir to coat everything.

This pairs wonderfully with baked potatoes or rice. Don’t forget a nice tall glass of red too!

We served with baked potatoes, creamed spinach, freshly baked homemade pesto pine nut bread and garden salads. Mmmm!

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