Category: Food

October 27 2016

Three Easy Appetizers Inspired by Halloween

Every year, my sister, Carol, puts on a big party at her house to celebrate both her husband, Burt’s, birthday and to celebrate Halloween. It’s a huge event, my sister goes all out with the decorations and everyone is expected to come in creative costumes. Carol and Burt always put out a feast, this year’s theme is Dia de Los Muertos so the food is all going to be Mexican.

I volunteered to bring a few appetizers. It was difficult to find food decorated in the Dia de los Muertos theme so I opted for just Halloween inspired. Here are three that I found.

What a fun time of the year!

Crescent Mummy Dogs


Recipe via Pillsbury.

Halloween Spooky Spider Deviled Eggs


Recipe via Delicious as it Looks

Spiderweb Spread


Recipe via Mr. Food

July 8 2016

Photo a Day Project: Day 10 of 365, Lunch at My Favorite Winery

Sam and I just enjoyed a near perfect lunch at our favorite local winery. Called Ponte Winery, it’s a beautiful spot to visit especially if you’re ever in the Temecula area. Their food is always divine. Today, we had the cheese, breads + jams starter, the caprese salad, and the veggie wrap with sweet potato fries and garlic aioli. At the start of this Photo a Day project, I didn’t know that I’d be photographing so much food but I just can’t help it, especially when the food is delicious and so beautifully presented. (Sorry about that lone olive on the table, it looks like it just popped off the dish!)

February 17 2016

Korean Recipe: Stir-Fried Zucchini (Hobak Bokkeum)

Today’s recipe is simple to make and can be eaten as a side dish (banchan) or on top of bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables). The main ingredient is Korean zucchini (otherwise known as gray squash), which is more stocky than regular zucchini and has a rounded bottom. The pale green skin is smooth and shiny while the inside is solid with a crisp flesh. The traditional recipe calls for using shrimp fish sauce (or saewoojeot) but, since we can’t all get our hands on that ingredient, we’ve substituted it with fish sauce.

My kids love eating this dish with white rice. The nice part is that they get a healthy serving of vegetables.

Servings: 4 people
Prep time: 20-30 minutes (salting)
Cook time: 5 minutes

2 Korean zucchinis (gray zucchini)
1 tsp salt
2 chopped green onions (2 tbsp)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp fish sauce (shrimp fish sauce (or saewoojeot) can be used instead)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Cut the squash into fourths.

2. Then with flesh part down, cut the zucchini into half-moon shaped slices.

3. Add salt to the zucchini. Mix it all together and then leave it for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Run cold water over the zucchini so the salt washes away. Drain using a strainer.

5. Using your hands, tightly squeeze the water out of the zucchinis.

6. These are the ingredients you will be using to sauté the zucchini. On the plate there’s the minced garlic and chopped green onion. Standing from left to right is the fish sauce, the sesame oil and the sesame seeds.

7. On high heat, add the olive oil to the pan. When hot, add the zucchini and mix it into the oil. Next, add the fish sauce and the garlic. Mix 1-2 minutes. Finally, add the green onion, sesame oil and the sesame seeds. Mix 2-3 minutes. This whole step should take you no more than five minutes.

You’re done! Enjoy this popular Korean side dish. It’s one of my favorites.

February 10 2016

Two Recipes: Simple Cucumber Salad & Korean Spinach Side Dish

Today I’m going to teach you how to make two really easy Korean side dishes. The first one is a simple cucumber salad, it might remind you of a popular Japanese dish, sunomomo. We only use a few basic ingredients with this. It’s perfect as a small side dish, you can eat with white rice, or just by itself.

The second recipe is for a Korean spinach side dish, called sigeumchi muchim. Not only is spinach good for you, eating it like this will make you forget that you’re essentially consuming a healthy vegetarian dish.

Now let’s get started.

1. Slice cucumbers horizontally to make round discs.

2. Add the salt and mix it into the cucumbers, coating it. This will give the cucumbers a deep, salty taste.

3. Wait an hour, letting the salt soak into the cucumbers. Then, in cold water, wash off all the salt away. Drain.



4. Add the apple cider vinegar and the sugar. Mix it into the cucumbers using your hands. Last, add the salt to taste, which will be about 1 tsp.

10 small Persian cucumbers
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup and 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (later)

1. Slice cucumbers horizontally, making small discs.
2. Add in salt and mix it into the cucumbers.
3. Let soak 1 hour.
4. In cold water, wash away all the salt from the cucumbers. Drain.
5. Add in apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. Mix.

This next recipe will be for the Korean spinach side dish. These are a few of the ingredients you will be using.

1. Boil water.

2. Wash spinach in cold water and rinse. This is to take off any dirt on the spinach.

3. Set the spinach in the boiling water, add in the salt and cover the spinach with the water. Wait just one minute, the water doesn’t have to boil again, and then remove the spinach. It should be wilted but not soggy.

4. Drain in cold water again, washing the spinach thoroughly.


5. Using your hands, clamp them down on the wet spinach to squeeze out all the water. You may want to do this two or three times. Make sure the water is all squeezed out or your dish will turn out soggy.

6. Cut up the spinach into small bunches. (Option, you can squeeze out any excess water after cutting the spinach up.)

7. Add in garlic, green onion, fermented soybean paste (doenjang), perilla oil (deulgireum), and sesame seeds. Mix the whole thing together with your hands.

6 cups of water
1 pinch of salt
1 bunch of spinach
1 tsp minced garlic
3 chopped green onions (equal to 2 tsp)
1 tsp fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
1 tsp perilla oil (deulgireum)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Boil water.
2. Wash spinach in cold water, rinse.
3. Set the spinach in the boiling water, add in the pinch of salt. Cover the spinach in water. Wait one minute and then take it out. The water doesn’t have to boil again.
4. Wash the spinach in cold water again. Drain. You can do this two times, to make sure all the dirt is gone.
5. Using your hands, squeeze the water all out of the spinach. You can do this two or three times.
6. Cup up the spinach in a tic-tac-toe pattern.
7. Using your hands, squeeze out the water from the spinach again.
8. Add in garlic, green onion, fermented soybean paste (doenjang), perilla oil (deulgireum), and sesame seeds. Mix the whole thing together with your hands.

January 22 2016

Delicious Potato Banchan

Today we’re making an easy Korean dish that just requires a few ingredients. We start with sliced potatoes and then we add in some onions, green onions and garlic to make this side dish that’s best served with warm, white rice. This is great to make for when the kids get home from school, Parker loves eating potato banchan after it’s been cooled down. You can serve it right off the stove or you can chill it in the refrigerator and eat it cold.

1. Slice the potatoes into thin strips.

2. In cool water, wash the potatoes and then drain.

3. In a medium saucepan, with the heat on high, add the olive oil and then add the potatoes.

4. Add in the water and salt.

5. Saute the potatoes, mixing them into the olive oil and making sure to not let the potatoes stick to the side of the saucepan. You don’t want the potatoes to burn.

6. Chop the onions into thin slices.

7. Chop the green onions finely.

8. Add in the minced garlic.

9. Now reduce the heat to medium and add in the onions and green onion. The potatoes should be tender now. Add in the sugar.

10. Optional, add in the perilla oil, sesame oil and sesame seeds.


Potato Banchan Recipe:
3 medium sliced and washed potatoes (like french fries)
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 medium-sized onion, sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp perilla oil (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp hondashi (optional)

1. In a saucepan, on high heat, add in the olive oil and potatoes. Stir occasionally so the potatoes don’t stick to the pan and burn.
2. Add in the salt, water and minced garlic.
3. Once the potatoes are tender, reduce heat to medium, and add in the onions, green onion and sugar.
4. Optional: Add in the perilla oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds and/or hondashi.

January 6 2016

A Big Hot Pot of Delicious Miso Soup

Today I worked with my Korean nanny Cindy on creating a delicious, deep broth of miso soup. Rather than just use the store bought miso soup paste and with water, we added in a bunch of ingredients and then let them all stew until we got a rich soup. Enjoy this dish on its own or with a side of rice. It’s both healthy and delicious.

1. shitake mushrooms

2. shitake mushrooms 2

1. Wash dried shitake mushrooms and then soak them in water for 30 minutes.


2. Put all the water in a large pot and heat on high.

3. moo

3. Cut up large slices of Korean radish (or moo). Add to the pot of water.

4. ginger

4. Cut up a few slices of peeled ginger. Add to the pot of water.

5. dashima

5. Wash kelp (or dashima) in cold water and break into strips. Add to the pot of water.

6. shrimp

6. Measure out 1/2 cup of dried shrimp and add to the pot of water.

8. anchovies 1

7. Clean out the insides of the anchovies and take off the heads.

10. anchovies 3

8. In a separate small frying pan, fry the anchovies on high for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to pot.

11. everything

9. Clean with water and then squeeze the water out of the mushrooms (which have now been sitting in the water for about 30 minutes). Add to the pot. Finally, add in the onion. Heat all together till the soup is boiling, then bring down the heat to medium. Heat for one hour.

12. skim

10. While heating, skim bubbles out of the pot with a hand strainer.

12-2. take out

11. After one hour, take out all of the ingredients with a strainer, leaving only the soup behind.

13. separate

12. Separate into two halves. You’ll only be using 1/2 of the soup base.

14. miso

13. Add in the miso paste.

16. dried seaweed

14. Soak the dried seaweed in water to loosen it up. Massage with your hands and then wash it. Add it into the soup.

15. tofu

15. Chop up the tofu into small cube size pieces. Add into the pot.

17. green onion

16. Finally, add in the chopped green onion.

18. done

17. All of the final ingredients are in. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and you’re done!

5 dried shitake mushrooms
4.5 liters of water
1 Korean radish (or moo), peeled and cut into large slices
2 slices of ginger, peeled and cut into medium sized slices
4 strips of dashima (or kelp), washed and soaked in water
1/2 cup of dried shrimp
1/2 cup of dried anchovies
1 small onion, cut in half
3 tbsp miso paste
1 handful of dried seaweed, washed and soaked in water
1/3 tofu, cubed
2 green onion, finely chopped

1. Wash mushrooms and let them soak in water for 30 minutes.
2. Add water to large pot and then add in the following ingredients: Korean radish, ginger, dried shrimp, onion.
3. Take off black insides of anchovies and heads. In separate pan, fry anchovies on high 2-3 minutes (use no oil).
4. Add the anchovies to the big pot.
5. Wash mushrooms clean, squeeze water out of them and then add them to the pot.
6. Heat all together till the water boils, then bring down to medium heat.
7. Continuously take the bubbles out with a hand strainer.
8. After one hour, take out all of the ingredients with the hand strainer, leaving only the soup.
9. Separate the soup into two halves. You’ll only be using 1/2 of the soup base.
10. Now add in the following ingredients: miso paste, seaweed (that’s been soaked in water and loosened), tofu, and green onion.
11. Heat on high for five minutes, bringing the soup to a nice boil.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Mixed with white rice, it’s my kids’ favorite.

December 29 2015

Dubu Kimchi: Sauteed Kimchi with Tofu

Dubu kimchi (or sauteed kimchi with tofu) is a popular Korean dish that consists of sauteed kimchi served next to pan-fried tofu. This dish is a popular anju, which means it’s often consumed with alcohol, like soju. Usually you add pork to the kimchi portion but we’re going full vegetarian style in our recipe. Eaten together, the strong flavor of the kimchi is well balanced by the delicate taste of the tofu. Overall, it’s easy to make but it does require more than just a few ingredients. (You’ll need a few of them from your local Asian or Korean food market.) Now, let’s get started.

1. Add the olive oil and kimchi into a large pan. Heat on high for 2-3 minutes or till the kimchi gets softer.


2. Next, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and sugar. Mix up all the ingredients and heat on medium for 10 minutes.

3. While the kimchi mixture is cooking, slice up the tofu into medium size rectangles.

4. Put olive oil into a separate pan and pan-fry the tofu till the sides get light brown. About 3-5 minutes on each side. Set aside.


5. Back in the kimchi mixture, add in the deul gireum (or perilla oil), hondashi, gochugaru (or Korean chili flakes) and sesame seeds. You add these ingredients in later because a) the deul gireum could burn and b) for seasoning. Mix back on high and heat for 5 minutes.

That’s it!

2 cups aged kimchi (store bought)
2 tbsp olive oil (use 1 tbsp for kimchi, 1 tbsp for tofu)
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 sliced jalapeno
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp deul gireum (or perilla oil)
1/4 tsp hondashi
1/2 tsp gochugaru (or Korean chile flakes)
1 tsp sesame seeds

1. In a large pan, on high heat, add the olive oil and kimchi. Mix and heat for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the onions, jalapeno, garlic, and sugar. Mix everything together and then lower heat to medium and sautee for 10 minutes.
3. Slice up the tofu into rectangles.
4. In a separate frying pan, add olive oil and pan-fry the tofu until each side gets light brown. About 3-5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
5. Back in the kimchi dish, add the deul gireum (or perilla oil), hondashi, gochujang and sesame seeds. Mix everything together and heat back on high for 5 minutes.
6. Eat kimchi and tofu together.

December 16 2015

Japchae, Stir-Fried Glass Noodles (Vegetarian Style)

Japchae or stir fried glass noodles is usually served at Korean parties or on special occasions. We’ll oftentimes have them on a random day in our house, the kids love this dish because they love to slurp up the noodles. You add a lot of vegetables in here like carrots, onion, and mushrooms, so that’s always a bonus. Japchae can be served as a side dish or a main dish, it’s up to you!

1. Here are all of the vegetables we’ll be using. First, chop or slice all the vegetables.

2. Cut broccoli into small pieces. These you’ll slice into strips: the white and purple onion, the bell pepper, the mushrooms, and the carrots.

2. You can use any kind of glass noodles. Here’s the one we used, which is from the Korean market.

3. Start by boiling water in a pot. When boiling, add the broccoli and a pinch of salt. You just want to get the broccoli a little soft so just leave it in there for about 30 seconds. Rinse with cool water.



4. In a big stainless steel bowl, get ready to add in each vegetable as they get stir fried. Each of the vegetables get stir fried separately, to preserve the tastes. First, we’ll start with the white onions, the purple onions and the mushrooms. Add 1 tbsp of the grape seed oil, add the vegetable, add a pinch of salt and stir fry for one minute each. Then, add this vegetable into the big stainless steel bowl.

5. Once you’ve done it with all the vegetables (bell pepper and carrots), it’ll look like this. Notice, we’ve added the boiled broccoli.



6. Now in a separate saucepan, you’ll bring 5 cups of water to a boil and then add in the glass noodles. Stir occasionally. Cook about 7 minutes or till the noodles get not so chewy. Using a strainer, rinse the noodles with cold water.

7. Cut up the noodles with a knife so that the noodles aren’t so long and stringy.

8. Add the noodles to the vegetables and mix.

9. It’s time for the seasonings. Add the soy sauce, the sesame oil, sugar and sesame seeds. Mix. Now, take the whole thing, and heat it on medium heat back in the wok for 3-5 minutes or until the noodles are warm. Stir frequently so that the noodles don’t get stuck to the bottom.


1/3 of a 500g package of glass noodles
2 cups of broccoli
1/2 white onion
1/2 red onion
1 red or orange bell pepper (for color)
5 Shitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in water)
1/2 carrot
6 tsp grape seed oil (1 tsp per vegetable)
5 cups of water
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional, add another 1 tbsp)
1/8 cup sesame oil
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
pinches of salt, to taste
1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Cut or slice all vegetables. Separate broccoli into small pieces. Slice into thin strips: onion, red onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and carrots.
2. Bowl water in a pot. When boiling, add in broccoli and a little salt. Boil for just 30 seconds. Rinse with water.
3. You’ll be sauteeing each vegetable the same. Use 1 tsp grape seed oil add it into a hot wok. Then add the vegetable, a pinch of salt and saute for one minute. Do the same for each vegetable. As each one is done, dump it into a large, stainless steel bowl.
4. Add the broccoli to the veggies and mix all together.
5. In a separate saucepan, boil water. When boiling, add in the glass noodles, stirring occasionally. Cook for 6 minutes or until noodles are not too hard and chewy. Rinse noodles in cold water.
6. Before you add the noodles to the vegetables, cut them up with a knife so that they’re easy to eat.
7. Now, add the noodles to the vegetables.
8. Add in seasonings: soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and sesame seeds. Mix.
9. Put mixture back in wok and heat on medium for 3-5 minutes.

December 14 2015

20 Clever Christmas Treats for Crafting with Kids

After seeing Cuded’s post, 30 Christmas Food Ideas, I was inspired to create my own list of clever Christmas treats. It’s fun to get the kids involved with projects like this, especially since you can eat your work at the end! My sister Carol set up a lemonade stand-style table to sell turkey-looking cake pops around Thanksgiving and she’s looking to do something similar for Christmas. (They sold out of their inventory. People stopped their cars to buy the treats!) This Christmas, I’m hoping this list will come in handy for our family’s newest tradition.

Above: Snowman cake pops by 52 Kitchen Adventures

christmas tree
Chocolate covered strawberry Christmas tree by Lovely Little Kitchen

Ice cream cone Christmas trees by Coupon Clipping Cook

Melted Snowmen Cookies by Betty Crocker

Red velvet Santa hats by Target

Polar bear pops by Miss Candiquik

Candy cane heart pops by One Little Project

Christmas tree Rice Krispie Treats by Simplee Thrifty

Reindeer cupcakes by With Sprinkles on Top

Santa hat brownies by Daisy’s World, adapted by Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Peanut butter Rudolph reindeer by Ladies’ Home Journal

Strawberry cheesecake Santas by Raining Hot Coupons

Snowman Donuts by Cupcake Diaries

Sleigh riding teddy bears by Budget Savvy Diva

Marshmallow snowmen by Flexible Dreams

Santa Nutter Butters by Penguin Stamper

Pretzel Christmas trees by I heart naptime

Edible Santa suit candy cups by Hungry Happenings

Oreo snowman pops by Easy Baked

Oreo penguin cupcakes by Elizabeth Stark at Babble

December 9 2015

Recipe for Kids: Hot Dog Banchan

This quick dish is perfect for when you don’t have much time. The recipe is simple, you take the hot dogs you have in your fridge and turn them into a banchan, which is Korean for side dish. There’s something almost magical about combining ketchup and soy sauce. Who knew those two would go so well together? Serve this dish with white rice and you’ll have a complete meal in no time.

Gather ingredients. Peel and chop onion and green onion. Chop mushrooms and hot dogs.

Heat your wok on high, add the ketchup and warm it up for one minute.

Next, add the soy sauce, mixing it together with the ketchup. Set heat to low-medium. Add the sugar.

Add the onions. Mix everything together. Now, add the chopped mushrooms.

Add the hot dogs and stir into the mixture for a few minutes.

Add chopped green onions and sesame seeds.


3 turkey dogs
5 small mushrooms (1/4 cup), de-stemmed and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 an onion, diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Sprinkle of sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a wok, add ketchup. Heat on high till ketchup is warmed (one minute).
2. Add the soy sauce, mix. Turn to low-medium heat.
3. Add the sugar, diced onions, mushrooms, and hot dogs. Sautée for a few minutes.
4. Last, add the green onions. Optional: Sprinkle in some sesame seeds.

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