Saturday, October 10, 2015

Microwavable quick and easy Korean food

Have you ever had a hankering for a quick fix and some microwavable savory, yet somewhat healthy Korean food? I've found the college student's quick Korean food fix dream come true! Last week, I meandered into H Mart in San Diego with my friend.  We are usually slammed by the smell of the fishy items like in many Asian markets and the aroma from the carby-licious bread goods from Paris Baguette. This is a Korean market with lots of fresh produce, fish, meat, and all the good Korean foods you could ever want. There are plenty of ramen options, too! : ) 

Walking through the store on the weekend you will hear from all corners, "SAMPULL, SAMPULL, TRY A SAMPULL..." In the most Korean ahjumma accent you can imagine. To me, they quickly begin speaking Korean. After all, I am a Korean / Asian face. In most cases I'll start out speaking English because I want to set the foundation for being American and then attempt to spat out some broken Korean when trying to get a point across or confirm something. 

My friend and I discovered bibimbop and japchae bowls. They were on sale for pretty much dirt cheap. By now, the sale price is likely no longer valid, but I'd still recommend checking out these bowls. They're not that bad! The sample assistant persistently challenged us to sample both foods as well as have me snap a quick picture of them. She was inviting and friendly explaining that college students bought baskets full of these pre-made meals. Well...sorry, lady! We are not college students, but we won't pass up a good sample! I'm gluten-free and therefore had to refrain from any food potentially doused in soy sauce. 


Lady modeling Bibimbop bowl, but not wanting to show her face!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kimchi on my mind


I can't get the blessed thing out of my head. I went out to Korean restaurants every other day this week - maybe a minimum of four times - and indulged in all kinds of kimchi side dishes.
The extremely fermented, bitter, and sour kind.
The freshly made with more than just a hint of sugar or sweetness added.
The bland flavored kimchi.
The hot 'n spicy kimchi in my kimchi kimbap.
The radish kimchi.
The dongchimi kimchi.
You name it. Chances are I had some of it.

Then, I got fed up with not having my own kimchi and went to Zion Market to eat some kimchi kimbap (the Korean version of sushi) and picked up a small jar of kimchi that I've already eaten half-way through in two days. I have a very old jar sitting in my roommates' fridge that I will recover when I return tomorrow.  I've been craving kimchi THAT much. My old jar is so fermented and sour by now that it's probably ready to be turned into a tasty stew.

What did I eat for lunch today? A large green salad with a side dish of kimchi.

What did I eat for snack today? A side of kimchi.

What did I eat for dinner today? NOT kimchi!  I went for a walk and got some tasty pho! Whether I had another bite of kimchi to top the night off, is something I'll leave you to determine.

Dear God, please spare my stomach. I hope these filled cravings are doing something good.

On another note, it's September 1st. Chuseok is next week. Autumn is almost here.

Happy first day of September everyone!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May Gray

I haven't posted this month because where I am living doesn't have internet and whenever I find access to internet I always find myself taking care of business and or catching up on the latest social media feeds and news.  I know, I know. Bad. Bad. Hopefully by next month I will have some wifi access. : )

Here in San Diego we have this thing called May gray. It's supposedly gray and overcast most of the month. However, this May, only a small percentage of the days have been "gray" and cloudy.  We hit some record breaking high temperatures and had some large fires in the county.  My life has mirrored the spurts of sunshine, hot fires, and dismal gray days in so many ways.  There have been some fired up storms, with some gray days, and even some beautiful sunshiny days in my own life.  Regardless of the ups and downs and storms that may weather us, it is a good time to remember and reflect on how each of these different weather patterns in life bring us closer to the creator and only make us stronger. I won't give up. I will only keep up and strive for the best.

No turning back. Keep moving forward.

I also have a mad craving for some healthy samgyetang as the hot summer days continue to roll through San Diego.

Stay cool everyone!

Friday, April 11, 2014

a love for hongcho

What's the big deal with HongCho? I love it. That's all that really matters. The pomegranate vinegar juice concentrate can be added to water or used in sauces, yogurt, salad dressings, milk, carbonated water, etc. I use it as flavoring for my water as a thirst quencher. The packaging and various reviews state that the vinegar:

  1. Supports the rate of digestion. 
  2. Helps absorb calcium. 
  3. Is an addition to everyday healthier life. 
  4. AND. is a vital quencher. "So refreshing!" 

For the best taste add one part vinegar to three parts water. 

Best taste: Hongcho 1: Water 3
Strong taste: Hongcho 1: Water 2
Light taste: Hongcho 1: Water 4

A serving size is 12 tsp. 

You can drink the beverage after a meal, after a shower, after a workout or anytime of day you feel the need to drink something so delicious. I like to drink it after or with some meals and after exercising. I often dilute it with water and drink it anytime a moment of thirst comes over me. I have to drink as much water as I can on a daily basis, so thankfully I have Hongcho flavoring or lemon for my water.  I have more stamina and energy after I drink a glass of this goodness.  

I bought a 3 pack (2 pomegranate and 1 blackberry) Hongcho vinegar mix from Zion Market here in San Diego last week. It was on sale. Taste it! You can grab yourself some over on Amazon, if you're not close to a Korean market! Click pic below. It's delish.

Friday, April 4, 2014

how NOT to eat bibimbap

Yesterday evening my friend and I decided to go to a meeting to inquire about writing for a Korean magazine in San Diego. 'twas a very interesting and fun experience learning about it and meeting all of the people. Though almost all of the people were familiar faces to me, my friend met lots of new people.

Afterwards, we ran out in a flash to find a Korean restaurant.  We originally intended to eat dinner beforehand, but we got a late start. By the end of the meeting our stomachs were making the gurgle gurgle, "please feed me" sounds.

We ended up on Convoy St. at Grandma Tofu and BBQ. In Korean it is known as 할머니순두부!
We ordered a selection of favorite Korean foods.

I usually like to eat fairly healthy and enjoy eating a good hearty bibimbap. I always order the hot stone pot bibimbap. If you would like to sound like you know what you're ordering you can say you want the dolsot bibimbap, which written in Korean is 돌솥비빔밥. The hot stone bibimbap is the best! It cooks up all the vegetables and makes the rice and other foods at the bottom crispy. The stone pot itself always adds extra flavor.  Because I am abstaining from gluten for an undetermined amount of time, I order mine without meat. Most restaurants will add soy sauce to their meat marinade. Though Koreans will tell you that their soy sauce was and is traditionally made without wheat, in America almost all soy sauce is made with the glutinous goodness that we know of as wheat.

As many stereotypical Asians do when their food comes out, we started snapping pictures.  My friend snapped a picture of me while I grabbed my chopsticks and picked up the first vegetable in my stone pot. HOWEVER, might I inform you that this is traditionally NOT how to eat your bibimbap.  See below.

Modeling how NOT to eat bibimbap

How do you eat bibimbap? I would say it's best eaten after adding some gochujang, Korean red chili pepper paste to the top. Using your spoon and or chop sticks mix all of the vegetables, egg, meat, sauces, etc. together.  If you're eating the bibimbap in a hot stone pot, be sure to scrape the food off the sides and allow the other parts to warm up, too.  You can then eat your bibimbap with a spoon!  It's okay to eat with chopsticks too, though it's much more commonly seen and easier to be eaten with your handy dandy spoon. Note: be careful not to burn yourself against the edges of the hot stone pot. When they say hot, they mean it!

My friend ordered the combo with soondubu jjigae (tofu soup) and kalbi (tasty marinated ribs) that comes with a hot stone pot of rice.  A look at what we ate:

Left: Friend. Right top: hot stone bibimbap, bottom: the dishes

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April showers bring May flowers

In San Diego it rarely rains!  Fortunately, we got some rain today!

Having lived and gone to college in Oregon, the rain always brings me a sense of peace.  Sometimes there is a bit of stress that accompanies it when having to fight the rains to face the day, but rarely does it rain enough to cause that kind of stress or problem.

Rain makes me happy!

There are so many things I could and would enjoy doing when it rains here:

a) go for a walk/jog
b) let it serenade me back to sleep
c) curl up in a chair with a good book and hot cup of tea
d) not do what I'm doing now
e) all of the above.

Water is life. It's refreshing and nourishes our soils, land, and our bodies.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

looking back helps me look foward

I keep looking back...looking back at Korea, looking back at my adventures while dreaming forward to Korea and other service projects if they are to become a reality again. Where is time going? Last year I traveled a lot for work, pleasure, and personal emergencies.

I keep looking back at the past...remembering good things...It's great I have memories to look back upon, but today is different. I need to look at today and accept that it is not the same.  I do not know when I will return to Korea. I do not know where I'll be next week or next month.

Instead, I'm going to look back with a smile only to motivate me to keep moving and progressing in a forward direction.  Right now that looks like having my health, being well, becoming stronger, and living in the present.  I can create new memories everyday! Hence, why I started the #100happydays challenge!

As I look forward, there are many things I want to accomplish and places to be. I am going to continue to set those goals in motion by doing what I know is within my capability on a daily basis.  In many ways, I am living at the mercy of others in faith with no control of my surroundings or my future. I promise to stand strong, positively looking up, believing and doing the little things that slowly get me closer to my goals and dreams.

This week includes exercising, sleeping, and studying even if for only ten minutes each per day.  That is what I can do. That is what I will do.

Let's keep fighting!