New Year’s Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

It is that time of year again when you look back over the last year, count your blessings, try to see purpose in the pain and take account for how you did. Time to reevaluate how you are doing and what you need to do. It is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts.

And it is time for New Year’s resolutions.  I love resolutions.  I am all over them.  I am a band wagon girl; why not get on when everyone else is?

Every year I make lofty ambitions to exercise more, drink more water and sleep more.  I occasionally even attempt to limit my caffeine intact (gasp!). I resolve to be kinder, be more patient and pray more.  And this year, I am going to attempt all those things again.  I figure if I don’t give up trying, at least I won’t head in the opposite direction! :)


Decorating the Christmas tree

Tree with kids

And yet… I still decorate with them every year.  I go in with dreamy expectations of a picture perfect event and there is always a moment like this where I am tearing my hair out.  This year the boys were wrestling, not fighting granted, but wrestling in front of the tree as we are trying to decorate it.

So, why do I keep doing with them?  Because they love it.  And in the end, Christmas is about the kids.  And really, I love it too, broken ornaments and all.  It is the making of wonderful Christmas memories, even if they are not facebook worthy! :)

Korean egg rolls with bacon

egg rolls

Egg-cellent egg rolls with bacon and chives.  Does it get any better? :)

When you have lots of chickens, you get lots of eggs.  Except of course when the weather changes and the chickens molt and they go on an egg strike in efforts to stay warm and grow new feathers.  Then they don’t bother laying you eggs, and you get grumpy because you are still buying them food and now you are buying eggs as well.  But I digress.  Besides eggs, when you have chickens, you also start to collect something else… chicken decor.

20151121_122128

I tell you it is true.  Go into any good chicken mama’s house and it won’t be long before you spot some sort of hen or rooster knickknack.  It is inevitable, I tell you, for two reasons.  When you get chickens (especially if you get them as chicks and you raise them from tiny little fluff balls), you start to think that cheesy chicken trinkets are cute.  They remind you of your little girls at home in the coop and you eventually end up with a few on your shelf or on your mantle.

20151121_122048

The second reason is that everyone who knows you have chickens and love them in the same weird way that cat people love their felines, picks up delightful chicken things for you.  For your birthday, you get cute canisters, for Christmas gifts, charming teapots and before you know it, you are getting sweet hen tea towels ‘just because’ they thought of you.  And don’t even get me started about the size of your collection if your yobo or children like to thrift store shop!

Leslie s3mini phone 267

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my chicken gifts.  I think they are precious, but before I become permanently labelled the crazy chicken lady, I try to reign in my chicken collection.  I’m trying to limit the chickens inside my house to the amount of chickens in my coop.  I guess it is time to get some new girls in the roost! :)

rooster

“Limpy – the giant rooster in my living room”

Because as I always say, life is too short not to decorate with chickens!!

Egg rolls with bacon

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Egg rolls with bacon

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 green onion (sliced length wise) and a few finely chopped for garnish
  • 1 strip of cooked bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs and add water to a bowl
  2. Beat the eggs until a creamy colour
  3. Pour eggs into a pan and top with a long strip on onions and a slice of bacon
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Allow to cook for 45 seconds until the sides start to cook
  6. Carefully fold the end of the egg with a small fold
  7. Wait 10-15 seconds and continue to roll the egg, pausing after each fold, until you reach the end of the egg
  8. Brown the roll for a few more seconds
  9. Transfer to a plate, cool for a split second, slice into bite size pieces
  10. Garnish with finely chopped onion
  11. Serve and enjoy! Repeat as often as necessary!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2052

For step-by-step photo instructions, see this post.

Shredded Korean beef tacos with cabbage slaw

Korean beef tacos

An ohhh so yummy Korean beef taco.  Tender sweet Korean beef with a tangy Asian slaw and spicy gojuchang… you will be licking your plate looking for more!

I have been dreaming of these delicious Korean tacos and sunny California beaches since the weather turned and it has been wet windy here. I’ve never made it to Korea town in California but I hear they have the best Mexican Korean fusion.  So while we save up airmiles to make a foodie trip to LA, I’ll just whip us these, crank up the heat and enjoy a little taste of it at home.  Mind you, the cost of heating the house might be similar to the airfare… hmmm…. need to think this through! :)

If you have made this delectable Korean beef roast, these tacos are a great left over meal if you managed to wrestle any beef away from the family as they devoured it.  It is also totally worth it to cook up a big beef roast just for this dish!

Shredded Korean beef tacos with cabbage slaw

Shredded Korean beef tacos with cabbage slaw

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Spread desired amount of go ju jang on the middle of the taco
  2. Add shredded Korean beef
  3. Top with Asian slaw (drain for a second or else it will be too wet)
  4. Wrap it up and enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2046

If you like Korean Mexican fusion, you need to try these recipes! If you are heading to California, you have to try Korean tacos… better yet, take me along and we can enjoy them together! :)

korean nachosKorean Nachos

Korean tacosBulgogi tacos with kimchi

Slow cooker Korean beef roast

beef roast

A gratifying taste experience! With notes of garlic, soy and sweetness, this slow cooked beef pot roast is delightfully delectable!

fall

The weather has turned, the days are shorter, the house is colder and fall is definitely here and here to stay.  That means the lawn chairs should be stored in the shed and the furnace needs to be turned on, the BBQ is under cover and it is time to pull out and dust off the slow cooker.

Last year, we enjoyed slow cooker Sundays.  With the busyness of the day between church and family, it was nice to come home to a cooked meal in the crock pot hot and ready. This year, I feel like I could have a hot meal waiting for me every day.  Since the budget does not allow for a live in cook, I have been putting my slow cooker to good use on more than just Sundays.

I happened to be at my mom’s house and made a comment that I was keeping my eye out at the thrift stores for a bigger slow cooker.  With my birthday around the corner, it took my mom less than 24 hours to get herself to Costco and to my house with a fabulous new big crock pot and a hug and a kiss for a happy early birthday! Well, I have been enjoying it immensely!  I have been making bigger batches of my standby recipes (including this pulled pork) and trying new ones, including this one. Thanks mom!  :)

Slow cooker Korean beef roast stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Slow cooker Korean beef roast stew

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb beef pot roast
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 whole garlic peeled
  • 2/3 c soy sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 c sesame oil
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes (goju garu)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions

Instructions

  1. Cut the onions, carrots and potatoes
  2. Place on the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Add the pot roast
  4. Mix together the remaining ingredients
  5. Pour over the roast
  6. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, high 3-4 hours
  7. 30 mins Prior to serving, remove the roast, cut the strings and shred the meat
  8. Return it to the pot and allow to sit
  9. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Notes

Increase and decrease the amount of broth in relation to how many potatoes and carrots you are using.

http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2044

Stay tuned for a tempting leftover dish from this beef roast!

Grilled eggplant -gaji namul

eggplant produce

A simple yet delicious recipe for eggplant.  If you think of eggplant as just a bland mushy vegetable your mom made you eat, think again.  Marinated and grilled, these purple beauties have a perfect soft texture and great flavour.

My yobo has fond memories of eating eggplant.  Every time we see them in the store, he reminds me of them.  I don’t have many memories of eggplants, and the ones I do have, haven’t left me pining for purple-ness on my plate.

So when my yobo’s customer offered him some eggplants from her garden, he enthusiastically accepted them and brought them home hoping I could remake his childhood eggplant dreams.  I haven’t eaten eggplant in Korea so I did some research.  Even my favourite Korean recipe blogs did not have anything that made me want to jump up and eat eggplant.  But then I started looking at non-Korean recipes and I have to say that I think we got something on these Koreans in this department;  lots of fabulous recipes for grilled eggplant.  And those recipes, had me up on my feet.  So I took the marinade from a Korean recipe and grilled these babies!  Oh boy, were they delicious.

eggplant grill

So when I went to serve them with dinner, my yobo looked aghast!  What had I done to his eggplant darlings.  They were not looking at all the eggplant dishes of his long gone youth.  Sceptically he tried them; and then he admitted they were delicious.

So if you have an eggplant growing in your garden, or your loving neighbour hands you one, try this recipe.  You’ll thank me.

Grilled eggplant

Grilled eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp gochu garu (red pepper flakes) - optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the bbq
  2. Slice the eggplant thinly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients
  4. Marinade the eggplant in the mixture for a few minutes
  5. Place the eggplant slices on the grill
  6. Flip when browned and grill the other side for a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the eggplant)
  7. Remove and serve hot.
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2031

Kimchi and sausage bibimbap

kimchi bi bim bop

A delicious rice bowl topped with kimchi, sausage, seasoned vegetables and a fried egg.  A dollop of spicy Korean paste tops it off and you mix it all up in your bowl for a tasty twist on a traditional Korean recipe. Translated to mean
“mixed-up rice”, this traditional Korean dish has been moving mainstream.  It has been spotted on the menu of a popular chain restaurant and now you can make it at home!

But this fabulous kimchi and sausage bibimbap has a little story.  This summer one of my comics was published an I was paid a small honorarium.  How exciting!! I can now call myself a published cartoonist.  :)  So how does one spend the Amazon gift card that was given as a token of appreciation from the magazine?  A book of course; a cute kids book by the same name, Bee-bim-Bop! by Linda Sue Park. I have been eying this book for a while, it is written about Korean food by a great Korean-American author. (Kyah did a book review on one of her books here.)

Take a look!

Bee-bim Bop!

It’s an adorable tale of a little girl helping her mom shop and prep the food making bibimbap for dinner.  My kids love bibimbap and love to help me cook; it feels like the book could be written about us!

Bee-bim-bap!

So after reading this book, who wouldn’t be inspired to make bibimbap?

Kimchi and sausage bibimbap

Ingredients

  • 5 cups hot rice (we did a mix of white and brown)
  • sausage cooked and cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 eggs fried
  • 1 zucchini sliced into thin pieces and quickly fried and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 red pepper sliced into thin pieces and quickly fried and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup kimchi cut into bite size pieces
  • Sesame spinach - mix together these ingredients:
  • 150 g blanched and drained spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tbsp sesame oil
  • Korean red pepper sauce, gojuchang (from mykoreankitchen.com) Mix together:
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

Instructions

  1. Assemble the bibimbap by first putting rice in each individual bowl
  2. Add zucchini, red pepper, kimchi and sausage
  3. Top with a fried egg
  4. Spoon a scoop of gojuchang sauce as desired by spice level
  5. Mix it all up in the bowl - this is the part the kids especially love! "Mix like crazy"
  6. Enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2015

We usually make dolsot bibimbap, which is cooked in a hot pot with a raw egg, just because I think it is fun.  But when I served this to my yobo, he said it tasted like normal Korean bibimbap because it wasn’t so fancy! :)

Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

zucchini pancake

A simple savoury recipe that tastes like the summer garden!

It is that time of year again where the garden is overgrown and the zucchini are in abundance.   I mentioned that this year my garden has been unloved and is in desperate need of attention.  Normally I dote on my garden and faithfully water it and daily check in on all the treasures growing under the leaves and on the vines.  With life having gone sideways earlier this summer, the garden has been neglected.  So much to my delight and surprise, the other day when I was mumbling my apologies to my garden, I discovered several huge zucchinis growing.

We have a real love affair with zucchini in our house.  We eat it multiple times a week and I shred up the excess from the summer and I put in almost every soup or stew imaginable in the fall until my supply runs out. So discovering these beauties was a score.  We got right down to grating them and produced 6 loaves of zucchini bread, copious amounts for the freezer and these fabulous pancakes for dinner!

And I was happy to note that there were a few more zucchinis hiding amongst the overgrown weeds in the garden… :)

So however you get your zucchini, whether it is from your garden, from a friend’s garden or the fruit and veggie stand, do yourself a favour and make these!

girls and zucchini

My girls and their green babies…

boys and zucchini

and my boys and their green weapons!

Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 large or 16 small

Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Slice the zucchini finely (or grate coarsely... which ever works for you)
  2. Cut the green onions into 1 inch pieces
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and add the vegetables
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat
  5. Add desired amount of batter
  6. When browned, flip and squish down the pancake as flat as possible
  7. Flip again and squish
  8. When deliciously brown, serve hot with soy sauce
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1993

Linguistic confusion

Apa in Korean

My kids are not fluent in Korean <hang my head in shame> but we speak a few Korean words and expressions around the house.  The kids say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and other simple phrases but they know that they are Korean.  They call their grandmother ‘Halmoni’ but they know that is the Korean word for grandmother, likewise for uncle and aunt.  Apparently this one did not realize that “Apa” is the Korean word for “Dad”! :)

I grew up in a Dutch Canadian home and similarly there were a few Dutch words that we always used and it wasn’t until I was a teenager did I realize that they weren’t English!

Did you grow up in a multilingual home?  What words did you think were English?