April 27, 2010
(You can click up there to be transported.)
Please, do not be alarmed, family and friends., but WordPress is not our fave. It’s really geared toward pro-bloggers and most of their good features are on the pay-for-it version you download.
And, since we will never purchase the pay-for-it version when we know we can get something just fine over at Blogger…
We have moved back — yes, back — to Blogger.
Of course, it was a very weighty decision fraught with much anxiety.
Or.. me showing Ben how much more Blogger rocks than WordPress and him instantly seeing my point and agreeing.. so.. maybe less anxiety than eagerness..
But we hope the move will be pretty seamless.
Computer GEENYUHS that Ben is, he figured out how to transport all our posts from here to Blogger in one fell click of the mouse, so it’s all over there now.
And, for anyone concerned they won’t be able to comment, you should be able to. There is an option to post Anonymously (without signing up for an account anywhere), so you could do that and just include your name in the comment you post. Or, you’re fancy-pants, you can use your G-mail (Google) account, or one of several other accounts listed when you go to comment.
We hope this will make it way easier to deal with things like uploading pictures and junk.
And that is all.
See you at Blogger.
April 26, 2010
We’ve seen this stuff around:
Mostly as steaming street food.
And I always knew it was bugs, but I never knew what kind until tonight when I stumbled across it looking up Isaac Toast.
Well, turns out it’s silkworm pupa.
You read that right. The festering eggs of the worms.
It was a serendipitous discovery though, because just tonight, while having Korean BBQ, the hosts thought it would be pretty funny to bring the foreigners this tempting treasure (sigh). It was the first time we’d ever seen it up close.
(FYI: it’s no better looking in real life.)
Beondegi, for that is it’s given name (really? I totally would have guessed “puke worms”), is one of only a couple things I cannot bring myself to try. Not even a little bit.
Not even the tip of my chopstick.
It is covered in sticky, brown sauce (Read: slime).
It LOOKS like bugs.
So, we did not try it. But we didn’t give them the satisfaction of being grossed out either.
At least, not outwardly.
And in retaliation, I ate lots of kimchi and all my raw green onions.
And I am certainly hoping they were properly surprised, because they have gross kimchi and their green onion salad leaves something to be desired.
I miss our old KBBQ place.
April 26, 2010
After Ben mentioned that the top Ewha sticker prize was a toasty sandwich (or is it 5,000 W.. I don’t remember), my mom asked what that was. And, instead of just replying in the comments, I thought I’d give you a few pictures of these, erm, tasty.. cabbage-y… egg-and-cheese sandwiches.
This is your typical toasty sandwich from Isaac Toast, probably the most well known toasty chain in Korea.
And People Baking Toast is one our favorites.
There are also loads of little independent toasty shops, too. We have one called TOAST about two blocks away from our apartment.
These places have all kinds of sandwiches, but most seem the same to me. All of them feature a fried egg and American cheese, and almost all feature shredded cabbage, corn (often fried inside the egg part) and pickles and/or some sort of sweet sauce. Many locations carry several flavors of these sweet sauces. I know Isaac has their own “Isaac sauce” and I’m sure People Baking Toast probably does, too. A few sandwiches will have different meats: bacon, ham, Korean sausages, etc..
It might sound a lot worse than it actually is. I know the thought of eating cabbage on things was not just a little repulsive to me when we first got here, but now it hardly fazes either of us. It’s really not as awful as it sounds, although, at the same time, it’s not something we’re dying to have. Maybe it’s the sweet sauce that puts it over the edge..
If you think about it, though, this must seem to the children like Jesus came and a made a perfect Korean combination.
Corn: on EVERYTHING.
Eggs: on everything ELSE.
And Cabbage: on ALMOST everything.
So, I guess they just kind of took all the things that go on everything and made a sandwich. It probably seemed like a brilliant plan and I’m sure questioning the ingredient choices would be met with a sort of, “duh, eggs, corn and cabbage are the perfect combination,” kind of response.
To Koreans, they truly are.
What is funny, to me, is that Isaac Toast just opened a location in California: Korea’s Isaac Toast Sandwich Shop–First U.S. Location Now Open in Westwood–First Impressions
You may notice the wheat bread, the delicious looking tomatoes and crispy bacon. Note that none of those are typical of a REAL toasty sandwich.
Here, you will find yellow-pink, slushy (yes, slushy) tomatoes, pure white 1950’s style white bread and limp, pink — not red or brown — bacon that neither breaks nor crunches when you bite it.
This sandwich, by comparison, actually looks pretty durn delicious.
For a look at The Real Korean Toasty Sandwich Experience, check out this blog post: Isaac Toast: The Korean Version of the Ramly Burger .
I don’t know what a Ramly burger is, but THIS is toasty sammies at their best.
Or.. worst, after seeing the American picture.
Scroll down to the last picture on the blog post and you’ll see the kind of bacon I mean.
…sorry if I made you hungry. : – |
April 25, 2010
These are the “Ewha stickers,” the much desired carrot of Ewha’s carrot and stick child disciplining approach to encouraging good behavior. There isn’t actually any stick, besides getting the Korean teachers to yell at and maybe scare the kids, so we’re pretty much dependent on bribary to get them to sit still and do a lot of things that kids never want to do. They can take the stickers and use them buy goodies from the front desk. For the younger kids there are pencil cases, pens, and rulers. For the older kids they can get computer game money and coupons for toasty sandwiches. Some of the older kids also use them to gamble with.
For my first two months I didn’t actually know about the stickers (go Korean communication/teacher training). When I found out, I thought I could give out any old stickers, so I tried to give my students some animal stickers that I found in my desk. They were cute, but worthless as Ewha currency. The childrens quickly set me straight. Since than I have given them out like they are little sticky pieces of sugarless candy. It is an utterly painless way for me to bribe the kids and curry favor. The other American teachers are pretty stingy (mostly because they don’t seem to like the children), but I see no reason to spare the stickers.
My ultimate goal, besides paying off the kids, is to pass out so many stickers that German style hyperinflation will take hold of the Ewha economy, hopefully resulting in new stickers or something equally exciting. According to my kids, the sticker payoff system as already had to be revalued twice during the past two years, causing the price of a toasty sandwich to increase from 30 stickers to it’s current price of 120 stickers. Hopefully with time and determination I can help to drive the price up to at least 500 or so stickers.
April 25, 2010
Nowadays almost people think is funny.
I think I have seen “nowadays” written more times in Korean than the rest of my life combined.
When they write “almost people,” what they really mean is most people, not some subhuman group of cloned “nearly” humans that exist only in Korea.
Finally, funny is constantly miss used to when they mean “very fun.” As in, “I went to watch the movie “2012,” it was very funny. Or, “playing computer games is funny.” No matter how many times I explain that “funny does not equal very fun,” they will write it week after week. So I’ve long given up and accepted it. Living in Korea is just more funny that way.
April 25, 2010
Cause it is here:
For a sense of scale, the thing in the right hand corner is one of those ridable floor moping machines. Yes, this sign is big, about 10 feet by five feet big. Also it is just one of two, there is another one, the same size, on the other side of the room. You know, just in case you somehow managed to miss the first sign.
This in a country which is horrified when Catie wears a sleeveless dress. Also while Mel was here we had all the trouble finding places for her to feed Rocco. Clearly we were just missing the GIANT signs.
April 3, 2010
As I have said previously, I’ve been going a little bit CRAZY over the lack of craft supply superstores here.
Or, just craft supplies in general.
But, occasionally, I’m able to pull some things off.
Like Mr. Flopsy (not be confused with the Flopsy of “Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail”).
As usual, you can tell that amazing photography skills don’t belong to me.
Until then, sorry about all the blurry.
He was hand sewn (obviously, since we don’t have a sewing machine), which was a little bit a nightmare (not that I wouldn’t do it again about fifty-hundred times if I had the fabric). The fabric is pretty coarsely woven, maybe a linen. The linen look is popular here. Anyway, though, to keep him from fraying, I had to sew every seam twice: once in running stitch, once in blanket stitch.
It was fun, though. I just complain because really I wish I could do it again.
I actually had all of this lying around the house. The red felt was from the stockings I made us for Christmas, the white I bought to embroider, but didn’t, and the brown and cute fabrics I had from a project I started… a long time ago.
I made him from the Black Apple doll pattern, here, from Martha Stewart.
I don’t have paint and I’m all about the embroidery now, so I embroidered his face instead of painting. I also modified the pattern to make him a boy. Hopefully he looks like a boy, I’m not sure.
But he is. So, at the least, he’ll just be a girly boy.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.
Oh, that and the quadruple batch of These Muffins that I made. Well over 40 muffins have been shoved in our freezer, which is nice, because then I don’t feel like I have to eat them all the time, but I also don’t feel like I have to MAKE them all the time.
I switched the recipe up a little bit to accommodate what we had and because the first batch made a real thick batter that baked up dry and crumbly. They turned out way better the 2nd, 3rd and 4th times and it’s my new fave muffin recipe.
I also added streusel with a teensy bit of cinnamon, which just.. I mean, why even MAKE muffins without streusel is what I want to know?
1. We didn’t have all whole wheat flour, so I did half whole, half white.
2. I put in maple syrup instead of sugar, cup for cup. I’d usually cut the other liquid in the recipe back because of it, but it was so dry before that I didn’t this time. Also, quick FYI: Maple syrup is my new best friend, because it doesn’t make me feel nauseous when I eat it, it doesn’t make baked things brown too quickly like honey does, and it tastes exactly like sugar.. which is probably because that’s all it is.
3. I added yogurt for half the milk because A.) The oil it called for isn’t enough fat (our yogurt is about 1/6 heavy cream, which I thought might help), so the muffins ended up really dry, and B.) I didn’t want to use all the milk we had. Ben likes his milk. This was probably the best improvement.
4. Flavoring: I added the zest of one lemon + the juice of half a lemon. I also added a little vanilla, because I have vanilla and I like to add it to stuff and I can if I want. This really combated the blah factor that was all over the first batch.
Aannd… that was all.
They’re still a teensy bit dry when they come from the freezer (especially the ones from the 1st batch), but if I defrost them in a ziploc it seems to help.
I like blueberry muffins the best of ALL.
March 29, 2010
Orrr… actually not.
Since my oatmeal cookies failed miserably.
Tip: Oatmeal cookies taste better with butter inside of them, as opposed to, you know, sitting on the counter..
My banana bread is on the verge of terrible failure as well. It said to put it in a large loaf pan, but I knew better. I shouldn’t have listened.
There’s a lot you can bake in a toaster oven without adapting. A lot. The only exception I know of is bread. I guess I didn’t expect quick bread to rise very much, but it did, and now it’s but centimeters from the top element and although the top is VERY dark, the bottom isn’t cooked.
Such good intentions.
Still, I had a few successes prior to the failures. I made a triple batch of granola, which equals kind of a lot of granola and definitely a lot of work. With a toaster oven instead of the real thing, it’s a little more like making 6-8 batches of granola. Granola is annoying, period, though, which is why I made so much. I just hate being tied to the kitchen, stirring it every three minutes.
Still, it is worth it. It’s delicious and I’ve missed having it around.
I also made granola bars with dried cranberries, walnuts and pecans and some mini chocolate chips. They aren’t like store bought granola bars. Maybe they’re more like oatmeal cookies in bar form. So, I guess it’s just as well that my oatmeal cookies didn’t turn out. The granola bars are delicious. And, so we won’t feel compelled to eat every single one of them by tomorrow, they’re in the freezer.
I also have my yogurt incubating, by now a regular Monday happening. I can’t believe we go through what must be a half gallon of yogurt a week, but we do, using it for buttermilk in recipes, and as sour cream in recipes and on other things like tacos. It’s cheaper than sour cream (8.00US for a tub) and tastes nearly identical, though it is a little runnier. I make it with cream, though, so it doesn’t have the thin flavor of regular nonfat yogurt.
On the stove, I have my second batch of chicken stock going and it turns out (duh) that it’s a whole lot easier to pick a chicken if you just let it cook long enough. Then it practically falls apart for you and it doesn’t take an hour.
It’s still disgusting, especially when I have to de-neck them (I don’t for stock, but I do for roasting), but I’m getting used to it.
The difference between chicken broth and chicken stock, I found out today, is bones. Stock has bones and broth doesn’t. I didn’t know there was a difference, but I made stock. I’ve boiled two whole chickens, as well as a couple carcasses leftover from roasting. Also, I heard the tip somewhere that you should save all the ends and weird pieces from your celery, onions and carrots, and boil them for stock. I have been over the past little while and it’s so nice not to have to throw a real, live carrot, onion and celery in there. It always felt like such a waste of a delicious carrot. That, combined with saving the carcasses, makes homemade stock almost free!
And, the longer we’re poor, the more I learn the value of FREE.
Especially when it comes to food since I like food.
Also on the stove, is some enchilada sauce for chicken enchiladas tonight. It’s a little more like.. chili or something, without the dried ancho chiles, but.. we do what we can. We’ll see how it turns out.
Speaking of enchiladas for dinner, I should go and actually make them.
Look who’s coming to visit in two weeks!
I’m pretty much excited.
Hopefully we’ll find interesting enough things to do… The more I think about life here, the more I realize that chicken stock and granola are pretty much it.
It makes me happy. I’ll have to think of something more than that for people visiting though.
March 20, 2010
Our latest interest has been the Myers-Briggs test.
Actually, the fake Myers-Briggs test since… we aren’t willing to pay $30.00 just to have a computer define us with four letters.
I’m sure pretty much everyone I know has already taken it. I’d taken it before, too, but I couldn’t remember my letters. It’s kind of funny to read an in depth description of each personality type because it’s a little uncanny.
Anyway, we took our free test here: http://similarminds.com/jung.html There are probably better ones, but this one worked pretty well.
For a more in depth description of each type, we went here: http://www.personalitypage.com/portraits.html
In case you’ve never taken it, there are four categories: Introverted/Extroverted, iNtuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, Judgding/Perceiving. That breaks down to I/E, N/S, T/F, J/P.
In every category, you’re rated higher in one or the other based on how you answer the questions and that gives you your letters.
Ben is an ISTJ: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. And, apparently, according to our picture there, is “doing what should be done”. He’d be pleased to hear that.. let’s NOT tell him. 😉
I’m an ISFP: Introverted (we’re an outgoing pair, aren’t we..), Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. Yes, apparently I see a lot of stuff, but I never share. I don’t know what that means. Except that maybe I don’t like to share… but I don’t think that’s true. Until Ben tries to eat my chocolate.
Anyway, we think everybody should take the test and post their letters in the comments because we want to know them! If you know them without taking the test, that’s fine, but tell us your letters! We’re interested. We’ve even been taking the tests FOR some of you and we’ve got you all figured out… That’s right.
You can read our “portraits” here:
Tell us your letters! Do you realize how long we’ve been here? We probably don’t even remember what any of you are LIKE.
We need the reminder so we’ll recognize you when we get home. Otherwise, we’ll see you at the airport and be like, “You LOOK like my mom, but my mom is Feeling, not Thinking and she’s MUCH more Extroverted…”
And you wouldn’t want that.
March 20, 2010
I know nobody likes my cooking anymore, but it is still delicious. So there.
While I did sub maple syrup (in the cake) and honey (in the frosting) for the sugar and whole wheat flour for white, these were seriously amazing. It was a real recipe to start, so you could just make the real thing: Lemon Cream Cupcakes. Like normal people. Unfortunately, we’re just not that boring. :p
In the interest of AWESOME, I tried The Pioneer Woman’s (speaking of awesome… check her out: thepioneerwoman.com) The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had instead of the frosting in the recipe and The Best Frosting sounds weird because it has flour in it, but it is NOT weird. You should believe me, 1.) because it is the pioneer woman and she does not lie about food, not ever, and 2.) because I LIKE good frosting (not store bought) maybe better than anything in the world and apparently better than my teeth since I keep eating it…
I picked this frosting at first because I thought I could substitute honey for the sugar, which I did, and it turned out so much better than I expected. I kept hearing that it had the texture of whipped cream, but I disagree. I think it has the texture of really, really good buttercream like the light, airy kind I make out of my cupcake cookbook that’s, like, 1/2 butter and 1/2 whipping cream. For the lemony-ness, I added about a tablespoon or so of lemon juice (would’ve added more but I was pushing it with the liquid additions..) and about 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and it is SO killer.
I like cupcakes. I make cupcakes. I EAT cupcakes. I do not lie about cupcakes.
I asked Ben if he’d eat them before I made them (not so lemony, that one..) and he said he would, but I did not expect him to be quite so enthusiastic once they were done. Between last night and breakfast this morning, he’s had 5.
It should mean something that I used whole wheat flour and they’re STILL all light and airy and yummy. And the frosting is all light and airy and yummy and I expected it to taste like whole wheat, but it doesn’t. Although, being my crazy self, I soaked both recipes about 12 hours before making them. It helps to soften the edge of that “whole wheat” taste and also makes things bake up much lighter (extra baking powder helps as well..), in my opinion.
These are going in the repertoire.