Mornings

mornings

I remember as a kid waking up reeeally early Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and those coloured bars would still be on the TV.  We would sit and watch the bars till CBC turned on. Anyone else remember that?

We don’t have a TV so I can’t even send the early risers to go and watch cartoons.  Instead they all crawl into our bed and try to stay quiet until mommy is awake.  And then this happens – comic! 🙂

 


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! 🙂

Berry Picking with Kids

Berry picking with kids

Despite the lapse between expectations and reality, I still go berry picking with my kids multiple times during berry season.  I like a good deal just as much as the next person and U-pick is always substantially cheaper than picked berries.

More than that though, I love the nostalgia of it all.  My mom took all of of us kids berry picking when we were little and one of my first jobs was berry picking with my fabulous younger sister. (I do remember more raspberry fights than cash in my pocket though!) My yobo and I have picked together with the kids every year. He is a great picker and has our buckets full in no time!  My girls have become excellent pickers as well and the boys in the comic are still in training. Soon I can just sit in the shade with some lemonade and watch them pick…. right?  🙂

Best of all, my freezer is full of fresh berries!

4 reasons why your kids should eat with chopsticks

chopsticksYears ago, when our little ones were wee, my yobo and I were out for dinner with an Asian family who had just moved to Canada and their 8 year old could not use chopsticks.  I thought it was scandalous!  I was determine to teach all my offspring to master the Asian utensil.  Along with my many things I was sure I would do as my children grew, such as teach them Korean fluently, have them well behaved, good mannered geniuses, use of chopsticks was high up there on the list.

As parenting goes, I have not been able to follow through on all my lofty ambitions.  They have temper tantrums like the rest of them and their Korean language ability is severely lacking.  But I am proud to say, that they can use chopsticks (phew!).  So though their rooms are messy, they can hold their own in a chopstick challenge.  Well, the ones over 8 at least.

chopsticks

So besides pride, there are some good reasons why you should teach your child to eat with chopsticks.

1. Improves fine motor skills

You know those skills that help kids write their letters, numbers, and their name.  These skills make for great colour-in-the-liners!

2. Improves hand – eye coordination

This will help make your child a future baseball champ or a knitting pro.  I’ve also heard the best surgeons are also those who grew up using chopsticks.  Hearsay, of course.

chopsticks

3.  Builds new pathways in the brain by learning a new skill

With all the talk of neuro-plasticity these days, and the advancement in brain development, why not forage a new pathway or two?  A growing brain could always use an extra trail.

4. It takes longer to eat

(which may not seem like a benefit) but it reduces overeating.

Have you ever tried to wolf down a bowl of ramen – or m&m’s for that matter – with chopsticks?  It definitely takes longer!

chopsticks

We started with all the kids around 3 and they graduated up through various trainer chopsticks to being able to use the wooden ones.  Next step: Korean metal chopsticks!

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

kimchi bokumbap

My yobo loves thrift stores.  When we first moved back to Canada, garage sales, freecycle (remember that?) and second hand stores were his weakness.  He would take almost anything if it was free.  Most of our house was furnished in second hand furniture and he did find lots of treasures.  But for all the treasures, there was lots of … how do I say this nicely, … interesting items.  After I while, I made a little rule.  In order for an item to enter the house, it needed my permission.  Otherwise, it was banished to the shed.  I must say, I have some great items for thrift stores, and they have made good money on us as lots of it has returned back to their shelves. Charity.  It makes the world go round.

My yobo has gotten much better at spotting a good find these days, except perhaps his weakness for chicken things, but that is another post.  The other day he came home with this fabulous bowl which I just love.  It is great for holding soups and stews and this great recipe.

A left over bowl is the perfect fit for this left over meal.  We had some kimchi that had fermented too long and some left over rice.  Couple that with bacon and you have this treasure of a dish!

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

Ingredients

  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • 1 pkg bacon (375 g)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sesame oil
  • 6 eggs

Instructions

  1. Cut up the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry it. Drain the fat and put in a bowl. Save the fat. (I didn't say this was healthy!)
  2. Chop the kimchi into bite sized pieces as well (sense a theme?).
  3. Fry in the bacon fat. Add the sugar. Set aside.
  4. Cut up the onions, carrots and zucchini into small pieces.
  5. Fry the veggies in sesame oil.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the veggies and combine with the bacon and kimchi.
  7. Fry eggs (in leftover fat if there is any) and put on top of the fried rice.
  8. Enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1891

My kids like kimchi bokumbap but they can’t handle too much spice.  We are slowly increasing the spicy-ness of our food to make them into good fire eating Koreans! 🙂

Nyles

Here is our Ny-guy with a tone down version! The recipe includes kimchi for the whole patch.  The kids had less kimchi so the adults had more! Ours was hot! hot! hot!

Sleep… aahhh!

Sleep... aahh!

My kids are notoriously bad sleepers.  As babies, they are up multiple times a night and even as toddlers (and school aged kids) they find reasons wake up and wake me up in the night whether it is an itchy back or a wet bed or a bad dream or the need for drink of water.  My baby is not such a baby anymore but it is rare for me to sleep a whole 8 hours uninterrupted!

My friend tells me it’s just because I am too nice in the night.  🙂 Do you get 8 hours a night?  If so, what’s your secret?  If not, are kids your excuse too?

* I just noticed a typo in the comic… I’ll blame it on the perpetual lack of sleep 😉

Korea & China trip – from a kids perspective

Traveling with kids

I can’t believe that it was a year ago already that we boarded the plane and headed over the Pacific Ocean to China and then Korea!

The kids were determined that they wanted to go and see their Halmoni and had brainstormed fabulous ideas for making money to pay for the tickets.  We had a garage sale, the kids collected pop cans, we brought things to the scrap metal depot and they had lemonade stands.  Kyah even wrote letters to the major airlines asking for assistance.  The kids helped raise over $2000 in the Korea fund towards the trip and that experience made the big event even more meaningful for us all!

After the trip, Kyah put together a power point presentation for her grade four class. The teacher let her share the highlights of the trip including things she thought were interesting and unusual.

If you would like to see the trip through the eyes of a 10 year old, click and enjoy!

My trip to Korea and China

and the saving continues for the next big trip! 🙂

Guest post on Speaking of China

I am so excited to be featured on Speaking of China today.  Jocelyn has a wonderful blog where she explores love, family and relationships in China. She is married to a lovely Chinese man (from all accounts on her blog) and they live in Hangzhou, China. She invited me to write about raising mixed kids.  I share our story of raising these fabulous four in a multicultural environment.

kids

Check out my post over here!

http://www.speakingofchina.com/guest-posts/raising-mixed-culture-kids-in-a-multicultural-environment/