Photo by Kelly West Mars Photography

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Hoddeok Experience

Shannon & our new favorite ajumma behind her.

As most of you know, Shannon & I went to Osan about two weeks ago and sampled our first hoddeok.  This street vendor treat was just so good, I was determined to make it myself.  And I cannot wait to take this recipe home to the states, to share with my friends & family.

I'm so glad that Shannon & I took the time to stay and witness the art of making hoddeok.  It was such a fun experience!

You start out with a yeast based dough, similar to dough boys.   You then shape the dough into a biscuit sized ball, then open it up, creating a well to add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling.  (Filling: brown sugar, crushed peanuts, cinnamon).

You then bunch the edges back over the well, sealing the sugar mixture in, and make sure it keeps its nice round shape. 

Then on a hot griddle or frying pan (over medium heat), pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom.  Place your hoddeok, seam side down, on the pan long enough to become a golden brown.  Then flip it over and carefully (using a spatula or press), flatten it out like a pancake.  Let it cook until it's golden, then flip it over again and let the other side finish cooking.

Once it's done, place it on some papertowel to soak up the oil and let it cool for a bit.  The sugary center has melted into a liquid and is extremely hot!  (Trust me, I found out the hard way the 1st time I bit into one). 

Cooling after coming off the pan.

It was so delicious, I was about half way through it when
I remembered I needed to take a picture!
The next time I make hoddeok, I am going to attempt to make the dough from scratch using this recipe, and I'll be sure to take more pictures of the entire process (shaping, stuffing, sealing and flattening w/o having a sugar blowout).
And on a sidenote, the link above has a great step-by-step video that is a riot.  I nearly died when I saw the space suit that the woman cooked in. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ritzy Pork Chops

Last night I came up with my own baked pork chop recipe and it was outstanding... the best pork chops I've had in a while! I've had a few requests for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it on here. :)

I threw this recipe together without measuring anything, so my measurements I'm posting are just guesses at what I used. And you can improvise with what spices you want in with the coating too. All this is, is glorified shake'n bake. :)

2 boneless pork chops
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tube/package of Ritz crackers (crushed to equal a little over a cup).
1-2 tbsp Grated Parmesian
1 tsp Garlic
1 tsp Basil
1/4-1/2 tsp Pepper
2-3 tbsp Butter
Acacia honey (regular honey is fine too). 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the crushed ritz, parmesian garlic, basil, & pepper. I didn't add any salt since I figured the ritz have enough salt on them already.

Trim the fat off the chops and give them a little beating (tenderize).
Dunk 'em in egg
Coat 'em in cracker mixture anyway you like.

Grease or Pam a baking dish, put your chops in, and then add just a few pats of butter (maybe like 2 tablespoons worth), around the chops.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Once there's about 10 minutes left of cooking, take the foil off so that the coating will be a nice golden brown.

When you serve them up, drizzle them with a little honey and they're good to go.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The best cookie I've had in a while!

Here's the recipe to an absolutely perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie.  They are divine and they grace your kitchen with the most mouth watering scent. Just describing them makes me want to grab another cookie. ;)

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir into pumpkin mix.

2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.

3.  Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. 

*(If you don't grease the sheet, they will stick. I found out the hard way.  The rest of the batch I used a baking spray that contains flour).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chusok & Fall Harvest

I just wanted to share what a nice experience I had yesterday.  Maeve and I were headed to the playground down the street from our apartment, and along our walk I noticed that one of the produce vendors had some beautiful pumpkins for sale. Since I had previously mentioned on my FB profile the other day about how I wanted to buy a Korean pumpkin, I thought I'd go check it out!

So I asked how much (in Korean - Go Me! lol). They told me 10,000Won (which is about $8 or $9USD). Then they waved at their daughter, asking her to come out and talk to me. Their daughter spoke English fluently, and it turns out she teaches English as a 2nd language at an elementary school. She just happen to be home visiting since it's Chusok here (Korean version of Thanksgiving).

Their daughter went on to tell me about how her grandmother grew these pumpkins, and then asked me what I would use them for. (They don't see many Americans in this area where we live off post, especially random white people asking to buy pumpkins lol). So I explained to her that Halloween was next month and I needed a good pumpkin. She didn't make the connection, and so I gave her the abridged version of what Halloween is like back in the states.

Anyway, before leaving, they insisted I take a picture of their pumpkins. They were really nice people, and needless to say I will definitely be buying from them in the future.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Websites I Love

There are websites that I find myself drawn to almost every day... whether to drool over, get tips, recipes or just because they're fun.  I love it when people share their favorite sites with me, it gives me something relaxing to do while Maeve is taking her afternoon siesta. 

So I thought I'd give you a list of sites that I absolutely love, for when you find yourself with a few precious moments of down time. :)

Pioneer Woman  -  Yeah, you hear me rave about her all the time on Facebook! She is amazing.. she cooks real food (none of this fufu crap), it's good old fashioned home cook'n. Her recipes are easy, delicious and she provides step-by-step pictures of how to make it... so it's almost impossible to screw up the recipe.  Plus her photography is phenominal, and she even has a photography section on her site where she provides tips and so on.  Check her out, she will inspire you! 
(Special "thank you" goes out to Shannon for introducing me to PW).

Belk - Clothes for the family! I had never heard of this store until I was reading celebrity gossip on Yahoo where Jessica Simpson was promoting her new clothing line, and Belk happen to be sponsoring the party.  I Googled them and quickly found myself saying, "I need to order that!"  They have clothes for the whole family, some of the items are a little pricey, but when they have sales - they go all out on the discounts.  I found a pair of jeans normally priced at $65 that were on sale for $19! 

Picnik - Easy (and free) photo editing.  You can upload a picture (or 5 at a time), and edit pictures using all sorts of filters and adjustments.  Before Jed bought me Photoshop, I was using this website every day for my photo project!

Novica - Artists/crafters from all sorts of exotic locations sell their handmade items here.  The site is in association with National Geographics, and all the artists are certified through them.  You can buy handcrafted jewelry, tapestries, home decor and all sorts of neat things.

Light in the Box - Now my review on this site is technically still pending, but so far this site has been a lifesaver.  They sell wholesale items that are produced in China.  Now I know there's a lot of people who refuse to buy "Made in China" items these days with all the lead issues and what not, but for inexpensive special occassion dresses, this site is a must see.  They reproduce all sorts of celebrity red carpet dresses in different colors and can even custom tailor it to your measurements. I just ordered my gown about a week ago, so it should be here next week! :)  I'll keep ya posted on the results.

Tiger Direct -  Anytime my husband & I are in the market for new electronics, we always check this site first to see their price.  They sell new (as well as refurbished items), super cheap.  This is the site Jed ordered my DSLR camera through, and we were able to save close to $200!  Not everything on that site is cheaper than other stores, but when they have deals, generally they are too good not to pass up!

Army Wives Forums - This site is like crack, I check it every day.  This is an awesome social site for military wives.  The women on there exchange all sorts of info, tips and what not for military life as well as every day life. Plus many of the wives/fiances/girlfriends have found it to be a great support system during deployments.

Blunt Card - I get a good laugh everytime I visit that site.  The stuff that guy creates is hillarious and screwed up, but there's always some truth to it. hehe  You've just gotta see it for yourself.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Adventures with my camera & photoshop!


This morning Maeve woke me up at 06:30, which was totally uncalled for.  Although, I'm glad she did now because the sun was shining in our living room and created the perfect lighting for me to experiment with my camera.  I've been wanting to try and capture a lens flare (those little sunlit light rings in pictures).  They aren't easy to catch for a newbie, and it took a bit of manuvering to get it!  I'm also having a blast editing my pictures with Photoshop Elements.  It's a lot to take in, there's so many ways to tweak your pictures with the program, I'm not sure I'll ever learn it all. At least I've discovered I can download these free "actions" where I can edit the majority of my picture with just a double click.

I thought I'd share with you how much of a difference photoshop has made for me.  It's amazing, I'm so happy Jed surprised me with this gift... I absolutely love it! :)

Below is a picture of the street behind our apartment. (Click it to see the full shot). 
Before                                                                                After

And here's the before and after on one of the pictures I took of Maeve this morning. 

Before                   After

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome to my first blog!

Welcome! I've been meaning to start a blog for a while now, and since I feel like I've been spamming Facebook lately, I figured this would be a great place for the overflow of pictures, recipes and stories and what not. So bare with me as I get this built up a bit more.