Korean Recipe: Love Letter's Sweet & Spicy Chicken Recipe+Creamy Corn and Cabbage Slaw

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} | fit for the soul
Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul.jpg

Being the health junkie that I am, I rarely enjoy fried food.  Once in a while I'll steal a few fries from Greg because hey, life is too short to not "eat all the things".  But aside from wanting to keep my arteries squeaky clean and my blood freely flowing--thank you very much--I also tend to stay away from fried food (most of the time) due to my sensitive stomach.  I never really know when my fickle belly is going to throw a tantrum, and staying away from the foods that I do know will cause me trouble is always a good idea.

That is, unless it's Korean fried chicken.  Tada!  Make that Love Letter's sweet and spicy fried chicken!  With a side of creamy slaw and some sweet potato crusted pizza and cheese oozing at every bite.  Sounds good, doesn't it?! And believe me. It really is as good as it sounds.  But perhaps that truth will become reality for you when you find yourself a Love Letter near you and take a bite of that crispy, saucy, garlicky goodness.  So do yourself a favor and give it a try sometime! And now that I've disclosed one of my greatest food weaknesses, let me conclude by saying that I can't have fried chicken all too often.  Bummer.  Sure, Love Letter Chicken & Pizza may be just about 10 minutes away from our house but--I just can't do it.  There's no possible humane way to justify this kind of "yolo" consumption every month.  For me, once every few months is plenty because those bad boys are filled with greasy calories, and what's more is that the cooking process rends digestion sabotaging results (deep frying).  So what's a girl to do when she's craving this stuff pretty much 90% of her days?  She bakes them into saucy perfection.  And I actually don't think they taste that different from the original stuff thankfully.  :) I made sure to smother these sizable drumsticks in garlicky sauce, and the final touch that gives this recipe that Love Letter-like signature of sticky+crispy texture on the outside and tender meat on the inside, is cooking it extremely slowly and then raising the oven to a broil at the very end. 

I definitely recommend that you pair this up with a tangy and refreshing side dish like kimchi, pickled radish, or this slaw salad.  The slightly creamy and spicy flavors bring bland and boring cabbage to life.  Trust me.  You must. 

I should note that most Korean chicken recipes tend to have some of these ingredients in common; soy sauce, sweetener, and red chili pepper are just a few of the basics.  This tidbit of information might come in handy if you foresee having a Korean feast in the future, so now onto the recipe, friends!

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul

Love Letter's Sweet & Spicy Chicken {not fried}

Serves approximately 4 people

Ingredients for breading

10 large chicken drumsticks (or 16-18 small)

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

pinch of salt+pepper

Ingredients for sweet and spicy sauce

1/3 cup honey

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp chili powder (for American/Mexican dishes)

1 tbsp Korean red chili pepper

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)

4 cloves garlic, minced

sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

First preheat the oven to 300F degrees.  Stir the breading ingredients on a medium sized plate and if it's slightly scooped, even better.  In a medium bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients minus the sesame seeds and then take out about 1/4 cup of the sauce, then set aside.  Have a large baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Coat drumsticks in flour mixture and then dip it in the sauce.  Place on lined baking pan one by one.  Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or a little more until the meat sticking to the bone is no longer pink.  Flip the drumsticks and drizzle them with the sauce you set aside at the beginning.  Raise oven temperature to a broil and cook for about 5-7 minutes.  When finished, sprinkle sesame seeds and serve with side dishes or rice.

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul
Korean Slaw salad recipe {Love Letter style} by fit for the soul

Love Letter's Creamy Corn and Cabbage Slaw

Makes approximately 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/3 cup corn

2 tbsp mayo (or miracle whip)

1 tbsp greek yogurt (or replace with mayo)

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp milk for thinning

sriracha sauce

Directions

Shred cabbage and toss all the ingredients together.  Drizzle on the sauce and voila!

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul3.jpg

Have you tried Korean chicken, or something similar to this?

What not-so-healthy foods have you tried that were actually healthier, but still just as good as the original?

Our Week With the Grandparents

Charles Wilson Park in Torrance | fit for the soul
Selah and Grandma at Wilson Park | fit for the soul
Selah walking at Wilson Park.jpg
Selah at Wilson Park slides | fit for the soul
Doubletree Hilton Breakfast Buffet | fit for the soul
sand castle with gramma at Hermosa beach
R+D Kitchen dinner date in Santa Monica | fit for the soul

This past week has been pure bliss.  My in-laws were visiting for a solid week and although we were busy working on the church nursery and whatnot (Greg's dad is amazing when it comes to building and doing heavy duty work), we also had a great time of bonding out in nature.  Gramma, Selah and I made sure to stay active and spent time playing at Wilson Park in Torrance.  We also took advantage of the scorching weather which was consistently in the 90s and built sand castles at Hermosa Beach.  Why is it so extremely hot all of a sudden?!  Actually, the entire world seems to be having crazy weather right now. 

Then of course...Gramma and Grampa happily sent us on a date, and believe me--we certainly didn't protest to that request.  After much Yelping last minute, Greg and I had dinner at R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica for the first time.  The food was truly amazing and somewhat reminiscent of fusion slash pub cuisine, though more on the American side than Asian.  I got the seared Ahi plate with veggies on the side while Greg ordered filet mignon and fries. 

On the last day, we met up early for the breakfast buffet of the hotel they were staying at.  The carrot muffin was probably the best item on my plate. The sweets from that breakfast probably helped me fend off the "see ya later" blues, since it's never ever easy to part ways.  Even still, we're so thankful to have the privilege of seeing each other every few months.  And once again I realize that life is too short to not take advantage of the relationships I've been given. 


How was your week/weekend?

What are you most likely to order at a restaurant?

Browned Butter with Caramelized Peach+Coolest Knife Ever

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

Of all the "fancy" foods I could have procrastinated on making at home, browned butter was one of them--until I started making it for 2 weeks straight and it is now outnumbering regular butter.  Obsessed with browned butter doesn't justify my feelings, I don't think.  You see, it wasn't until about 2 years ago that I finally eased up on this novel idea.  An idea that was pretty much at an intergalactic level of importance, called "the consumption of cream fat (aka butter)".  And I'm not going to lie.  Butter was once a food that scared me to death not only because I was apprehensive of the possible side effects, otherwise known as weight gain, but also because everywhere I turned I would see or hear horrifying stories involving this particular food.

Butter raises your cholesterol.

Butter clogs up your ventricles

It also makes you look like a fool in this hyper-clean-eating-society, especially if you live in LA.

Heavens forbid if you're dipping into that bowl of butter at a restaurant!  People might be watching.  *scans surroundings*

Sound familiar?  No?  Hmmm maybe it's just me, hah!  Even though you might think "ohhh Ellie get over yourself", it really is a victory in my life.  I mean, wouldn't you count it as a blessing as well?  But to get back to the idea of browned butter...I had only heard good things about adding this to pastries and cakes.  To my understanding, browned butter takes baked goods to a whole new level of richness and gives it that "what is it" factor.  But before I got too ahead of myself, I felt like I should ease into this ingredient slowly.  Since summer is finally coming to a close I knew I wanted to make at least one last recipe using peaches.  In my mind peaches are always perfect with crusty, buttery, and simple ingredients...and....did I just describe cobbler?  Well, that explains why I chose to pair them with butter.   

I used my new favorite butter for this recipe. because believe it or not the quality makes a noticeable difference!  It is truly easy to make and while it may sound and look sophisticated, it's really not.  It goes perfectly with biscuits, bread, oatmeal or anything your heart desires.  Just make sure to exercise self control and stick to the 80% healthy rule...this way we all win!

Now onto the recipe.

Browned Butter with Caramelized Peaches

Makes approximately 1/2 cup

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 of a peach, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Start by heating a small sauce pan on medium heat.  Melt butter and when it's completely liquified add the rest of the ingredients.  It should start to simmer after about 2 minutes.  Keep simmering and stirring every now and then, for about 4 more minutes.  The peaches should be extremely tender and a bit caramelized, while the butter should literally be light brown.  Let it cool down and pour into a bowl or container.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours or place in freezer for about 1 hour.  Now it's ready to be spread on your favorite food!

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul
Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

Peach adds a slightly sweet taste to the butter, while toning down the richness just a little bit.  It's really the perfect food to indulge in with your favorite bread, especially when you're in need of good ol' comfort food. :)

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

As I mentioned last time, my in-laws are visiting from Kansas and life couldn't be better right now!  Seeing Selah play with her grandparents sends happy vibes to my soul and what's even better is that she's walking like a champ.  Perhaps she knew that she was about to show off to them? 

My mother in law also brought us some souvenirs from their trip to Alaska, and I can safely say that I was in foodie ecstasy when I opened my gift.  So check this out.  She brought me an Alaskan ULU knife!  Wait, what in the world is an ULU knife? (don't worry I had no idea either, and no it's not to be used when you're angry).  It's a knife that is made exclusively in Alaska, and is great for a number of purposes.  People mainly use it for chopping up food nowadays, and I can't wait to start making endless amounts of veggies with this thing.  I have no idea how to use it efficiently though, so I'll definitely have to read up on that because this thing is horrifyingly sharp!  Yikes.

ulu alaskan knife.jpg

Have you ever tried browned butter before, or cooked with it? 

What are your thoughts on butter consumption--honestly?

-I have definitely embraced it and enjoy it once in a while.  If it's there, great!  If it's not, I'll happily use healthy oils like coconut oil.

 

Lately

Okay so let's bring out the ginormous elephant in the room whose tail is comically sticking out through an imaginary window in Looney Tunes style. Sorry about that--I just have a really crazy imagination! We all (most of us) know this blog goes by the name Fit for the Soul and its main motto has always been that "true health starts from the inside out".  This means that whatever we put in our bodies such as healthy and wholesome food should, in fact, return the favor of making us healthier individuals overall.  In addition, I genuinely believe that the greatest factor of true health starts from within our souls.  In other words, feeding mind and spirit equals happy mind and spirit.  Well, if you've noticed in the last few weeks I've been posting more recipes than workouts.  And the truth is that they haven't been the most vegan, gluten free, or health junkie friendly whatsoever.  Not in the least bit, my friends...not in the least bit. 

I've come to the conclusion that although I love to film videos and and share excruciating workouts with you, I don't think I will be doing it all that often for a while.  Not once or twice a week like I used to.  Sure, I will be more than happy to post about those whenever inspiration hits (or if you really want to see my routines then I'll happily share!), but it definitely will be more sporadic as opposed to posts of food, recipes, and life in general.  For now at least. We'll see how things transpire over the course of the next few months since I tend to crave change pretty often.  It's just that I've been bitten by the shutterbug and if I could somehow realistically go off on a photo expedition for days and days, I probably would.  So how do I remedy that darn shutterbug for the time being?  By photographing people and recipes. :)  I will say, however, that I love to share exercises and it will be hard to not stick to that routine.  But if I want to focus on one thing that truly brings satisfaction between the two, it would be food and pretty things, haha.

Now, to explain the lack of 100% clean recipes as of late...well, let me just say that the wiser I grow in this healthy living journey the more apparent it becomes that true health (for me) means to embrace every single aspect of life.  Of course I still eat 80% healthy like usual, but I've learned to be completely okay with indulging in what is seemingly the "worst plague" known to a fitness enthusiast, aka dessert, butter cream, bread that contains white flour (the horror!), and so forth.  So even though I will post about healthy food and recipes since that's what I live off anyway, I want to let myself be free and share even the not-so-clean-recipes.  Embracing love, godly inspiration, and mouth watering recipes, is my goal right now.  I guess you could say that encompasses the idea of passion and balance?  All that to say that things may look a bit different but the essence of Fit for the Soul is still there.  I'm here.  You're here!  And that's all that matters.

Disclaimer:  A few too many photos in this post but like I said, let's be free and snap away to our heart's content! 

Lately {Musings Food and Fitness}

selah taking few steps at 14 months

I feel extremely blessed to have this munchkin in my life.  I always feared that I wouldn't know what "unconditional love" means when it came to loving my own child, but I've been proven wrong time and again because she's precious just the way she is.  Selah is now taking 3-5 steps depending on whether she's on wooden or carpeted floors.  She's not early and she's not late, but the important lesson I'm learning is that no matter what my love doesn't change.  Now, if she throws tantrums for days then my patience can run a bit low...haha. 

brown butter peach scones

Sometimes recipes turn out completely different from how I initially imagined.  Yes, these scones were decently good but I'm afraid our friendship would be severed if I shared them on here.

lavender in a vase

I'm seriously not trying to zen myself out here, but inspiration truly is everywhere!  Something about greenery and pretty herbs that get me going in the kitchen.

breakfast buffet at Playa del Rey bed and breakfast

Day dreaming of this breakfast buffet from Playa del Rey B&B!  That was the last date that we went on thanks to my in-laws, but thank goodness I have pictures to live through it again.  On a related note, they are coming this Monday and we couldn't be more excited to spend some time together.  Since summer is coming to a close I probably should take them to the beach?

al pastor tacos with homemade guacamole

Let me tell you.  Pre-marinated spicy al pastor meat is amazing.  Sure, it may contain some ingredients I probably don't want to know about, but until I learn how to make it myself this will have to do.   At least there's homemade guacamole on the side?

one legged standing splits--yoga

A huge accomplishment right here!  Standing splits were my enemy because I always felt like I would fall forward.  Errr well, I have.  It definitely is a move that gets me out of my comfort zone as it pushes me to keep practicing even though I don't see instant improvement.

morning toast and devotional

The mentality of spending time with God no matter what it takes may seem fanatical to many people.  The funny thing is that God is fanatical!  About loving us, that is.  I notice such a change in attitude when I start off this way, because it's like a reset button that takes me from my carnally inclined self to seeing through His eternal eyes.  

Have a wonderful weekend!


If you have a blog or website, in what ways have you grown or changed the content?

What are some things that are inspiring you lately?  Or passionate about?

Homemade Whole Wheat Buns+Lavender Cream

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream | fit for the soul

Hey guys!  I don't know how I could have forgotten to share this important news on my last post, but truth is--I've got some buns in the oven.  It was quite unexpected you could say, as I wasn't planning on it at all this week nor the next.  Heck.  I really didn't think this could happen at least within the next few years even!  I sincerely believed that life would take me in a different direction but alas, I came up with these beautiful and fluffy whole wheat buns after much daydreaming of making galettes for the first time. ;)  I'll tackle those galettes soon enough.

It has been a long time since I've baked up some yeasty bread because as you might have guessed, it's one ingredient that I seem to steer away from due to "bad" experiences.  Well, I think it's fair to say that once you give yeast a second (or third or fourth) chance and don't go too crazy with the ingredients on your first few tries, it's actually really easy to work with.  With that in mind, I didn't make these into 100% wheat as I was afraid I'd end up with gummy bread.  I kept it safe by using part whole wheat and part white flour.  

I've got to say...Mandy sure knows how to engage you with her volatile writing (read: angry) and amazing food!  Her gorgeous photos are sure to make you go gahhhhhhh in front of your screen and ummmmm I think she has the power to take fear away?  Fear of making fluffy yeast bread, as evidenced by the upcoming recipe.  Although my recipe is far from the ingredients she used, I have to credit her for the all the inspiration and slight adaptations in my own recipe. Note: the next few paragraphs can be quite long so feel free to skip to the recipe.

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream dough fermenting | fit for the soul

Trust me in this.  You really want to try these cute buns slathered with zesty lavender butter cream!  The sweetness mainly comes from the cream of course, but the whole idea of eating fluffy bread with such a fragrant addition is akin to running through lavender fields in France.  Not that I've done that...yet.  You want to know a fun fact?  Back when I was in high school my best class was French.  I loved everything about it...everything from the grammar to the tests (yes, I said that), to the cultural lessons, and the fact that I excelled in it.  Pretty much the only subject I was good at, hehe.  But I digress.  Since I was so in love with it all I often contemplated whether I should study abroad in France.  Sometimes the dream felt so real.  I specifically remember my teacher suggesting to little ol' me that I should take that leap of faith and study abroad.  I mean, my teacher liked me?  She really really liked me?  Enough to want to recommend me to certain universities in France, where lavender fields and endless amount of perfect food await this foodie?!  Well, you can probably guess how that went.  After prayer and spending time in God's presence I knew that it wasn't the right path for me.  Despite my own desires He said no; you see, only He knew best and what marvelous dreams He had in store for me.  Yes, at the time I still held on to my honest doubts, wondering if I had heard correctly from Him, but as time went on, those doubts gently faded as I was able to experience more and meet the perfect people for me.  Also known as, Greg (and everyone else who has been making a difference in my life). 

So where am I going with this?  Well first of all, I just wanted to share a bit more about my young(er) days.  But I'm also surprised at how much something as seemingly neutral as food can take me back to those fun memories.  I may not be able to be in France or run through lavender fields a la Julie Andrews style, but at least I'm able to kick back with a mug of piping hot coffee and these buns slathered in lavender cream.  Enjoy, dear friends!  And I mean, enjoy whatever you have at the moment because you never know where God is leading you. 

Now onto the recipe.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Buns with Lavender Cream

Makes 13-14 servings

Ingredients for whole wheat buns

1 cup+2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp milk of choice

1 large egg+1 egg white

4 tbsp softened butter, diced small

Ingredients for lavender cream

4 tbsp room temperature butter, cubed

3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp crushed dry lavender buds

lemon zest of 1/4 of lemon

some lemon juice to smooth out cream

Directions

Use your standmixer (or hand mixer) with dough hook attachment.  First mix the first three ingredients.  Then add honey, salt, and the rest of the ingredients and knead on medium speed for a few minutes until everything is "glued" together. Add tiny bits of white flour if it's too sticky and knead a little longer. It should be somewhat sticky, but still easy to transfer to a large bowl. 

After you place it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 50 min.-1 hour.  I refrigerated it after that through the night, but I think it's still best to let it rise for 1-2 hours right before baking instead.  If you do refrigerate overnight make sure to put it in a warm area to finish up rising for about 1 hour.  After that, take small balls with dusted hands and gently stretch them on a lined cookie sheet.  Fold it in a taco unto itself, and then two more times in different directions. (kind of like folding towels)  Gently make into ball shape and place about 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 18 minutes or golden on top. 

Let cool down and make lavender cream.  For the cream, just beat all the ingredients and add more lemon juice if it's too rough, but you shouldn't need much of it.  With serrated knife slice through the middle of the bread horizontally.  Fill with butter cream and voila!

 

fluffy homemade whole wheat buns.jpg
Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream4.jpg

These are extremely soft on the inside, and butter cream has a mild aroma but far from soapy. 

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream | fit for the soul
Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream6.jpg

Have you studied abroad?  Or been to France?  What were your experiences like?

Favorite lavender recipe?

Lavender Maple Simple Syrup

lavender maple syrup | fit for the soul

Alright you guys.  This is going to be a somewhat "vulnerable" and embarrassing post.  By embarrassing I mean that I don't feel proud of the things I'm going to share, but we are all human and I hope you understand where I'm coming from; perhaps you can even relate?  Normally I don't like to talk about this type of topic because I can't seem to express my thoughts through writing without sounding like a whiner.  Moreover, I don't want it to come off as a pity post in which I want everyone to feel apologetic and obligated to me in any form whatsoever, so let's be on good terms from the get go.  With that in mind, let's move on to this coffee talk, shall we?

If I had to be completely honest to myself (and to you), lately I'm a roller coaster ride of all sorts.  Hello postpartum that-time-of-the-month hormones!  I'm really sorry that I'm disclosing this topic on a (mainly) food blog but yes, I didn't have to deal with any of that for a whole  year+ after having Selah.  It was one of the YAS! moments which has unfortunately come to a halt, haha.  I mean, all things good and bad come to an end, don't they? But all that unpleasant talk aside....I'm not sure if it's hormonal shifts that are taking place, but I realize these days I'm quite fickle when it comes to making decisions for my own self.  These decisions aren't based so much on life or death, but more of where some of my passions are leading me.  As much as I love to blog and share the ins and outs of life with this amazing community, I also find myself questioning whether or not I'm making a difference.  Like, at all. You see, I'm one of those people who need to do things with purpose and seriousness.  If I don't see something beneficial and purposeful coming out of that endeavor which ultimately should bless others, I automatically want to throw in the towel. Sure, comments and interaction fluctuate as that is the norm for any endeavor we pursue, especially blogging.  And even though I know that doesn't determine the cloud of influence I have on others, one night I'll go to bed thinking "agghhh what's the point?" and wake up the next morning feeling rejuvenated and excited to get in the kitchen--ready to share recipes with the whole world and most importantly, the gift of encouragement I have to offer to my readers.  I've been swayed in that manner back and forth for a few months now, but I've come to the realization that I truly am passionate to be a part of this community and (hopefully) am able offer some insight to that one "lost sheep".  I figure this goes for anything in life.  When we know we are in the right place, then that's all the assertion we need to go ahead and make a difference in one person's life.  So whatever is brewing up in the dark abyss of your brain right now, get rid of those thoughts and turn them to good ones.  Don't give up unless you know you're supposed to! 

As I said earlier, sometimes all it takes to gain inspiration for me is to get a good night's sleep.  You know how it goes.  Lack of sleep can really mess with your emotions and science backs it up.  And there are other times when I go out for a walk at the weekend farmers market and inspiration springs up everywhere, like fresh harvest waiting to be reaped.  That is a really fun feeling, you guys.  :)

When I came across this tiny pot of fresh lavender at the farmers market, I knew right then that I would be soon obsessed with the stuff.  Not only am I day dreaming of making candles and whatnot (we'll see about that, ahem), but I'm really excited to include it in some of my dishes, particularly baked goods.  However, I do not advise that you use lavender from actual nurseries because they can be bitter and probably not good for your health due to pesticides.  After realizing that fact post-excitement of buying said plant, I got these cute little dry buds from Whole Foods so we wouldn't die from chocking on soap flavored food.  It only rends about 3 teaspoons but thankfully it is extremely affordable.  I took the liberty to make a simple syrup out of these lavender buds and it couldn't have been easier!  Here's the recipe that's really not a recipe. 

lavender maple syrup | fit for the soul

Lavender Maple Simple Syrup

Makes approximately 2 cups

Ingredients

1/2 C pure maple syrup

1 C water

1/2 C raw cane sugar (or white)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp dry lavender buds

Directions

Place a small pot on low-medium heat.  Add all the ingredients in the way they are listed and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Stir often.  When it's cooled down you can pour it into a glass container or jar, making sure it's airtight.  Refrigerate for future use.

lavender maple syrup | fit for the soul
lavender maple syrup  fit for the soul4.jpg

So thank you for your constant support.  Thank you for being you and for allowing me to be a part of this community filled with such talented and creative individuals!  I hope to be a blessing to you as much as you have been to me.

lavender maple syrup | fit for the soul

Have you ever used lavender in your cooking?  If so, how was your experience?

How do you deal with negative thoughts when it comes to blogging?  Or anything in life?

My Recommended Recipes+Inspiring Links

Today I want to briefly share the recipes that I personally recommend from the blog.  People sometimes ask me which recipe they can make for so and so occasion.  Of course, I confidently--errr more like nervously?  Pinpoint at this recipe, that recipe, and oh!  That one too!  If I were to be honest, though, I don't think all of Fit for the Soul's recipes are on point. I started this blog when I was quite young in my ways, and my taste buds have definitely developed and refined themselves over the years.  So it's safe to say that I wouldn't necessarily recommend a few of them, but the other ones?  Well, I've got you covered. 

These GF hazelnut cookiewiches with mocha cream cheese filling are sure to wow a crowd. They've been tested by kids and you know what they say--kids are really honest!  Way too honest sometimes.

Another dessert sandwich that is surprisingly vegan and gluten free.  Snickerdoodle and lemon ice cream sandwiches.

If you want to impress that person you're newly dating with your culinary skills, with a look-at-me-i'm-so-culturally-adventurous factor, you might just want to try making hot stone pot (dohlsot) bibimbap.  Can't go wrong with that one because it is extremely versatile.

If your newly acquired boy(girl)friend starts to wonder why you keep on making Asian dishes like this soba with creamy tangerine honey dressing, you can just blame it on me.  Don't worry, I've learned to grow quite a bit of a thick skin. (Or so I'd like to think)

Keeping traditional buttery desserts healthy, vegan, and gf isn't always easy.  Maybe you'll like the healthy profile of this satisfying berry cobbler!

Your AC just broke down, so you swore that if you have to lay your hands on the oven one more time, you'll go crazy.  No problem.  These no-bake almond butter jelly squares will come in handy the next time the AC techy flakes on you.  Plus, one of the steps includes the fridge so you'll stay extra cool, yay!

Let's get crazy with the flavor combos!  How about some mint pineapple cake with mascarpone frosting?  Sounds strange yet tastes so good.  So good that I didn't eat more than 1/3 of it all by myself.

You can also be all kawaii and oh-so-sweet to your kiddos (or significant other) by packing them bento style food, like these carrot shrimp jeon bites with homemade eel sauce.  Mmmm!

Craving a little taste of France, but don't have energy to bake a whole pie, nor take in the extra buttery, albeit delicious calories?  Look no further with this gluten free green onion and spinach quiche for one.

I hope you enjoy if you give them a try. :)

Inspiring Links

I'm sorry this post is full of links, you guys.  But I really want to share the amazingness that these bloggers are, so I hope you don't mind too much.

Lady and Pups' recipes and photography are simply fantastic.  I also think their About page is pretty cool because it's so unique!

Beth Kirby's courage to open up to the world about her bipolar is admirable.  I am blessed to know that she pursues her passions despite the struggles she faces every single day. 

I think I may be a tad obsessed with Japanese anything because I'm loving this foodie guide to Tokyo, written by the wonderful Sarah!

And the Japanese food obsession continues...with Nami's delicious recipes and most importantly, her sweet and kind personality.

Must try these fun moves from Lindsay--especially the plyo press push to ninja tuck.  My abdominal and trapezius muscles are crying already.

Great reminders to stay balanced while pursuing a fit lifestyle.

Try this awesome cardiovascular yoga routine that targets obliques and inner thighs...and then tell me you're not feeling the burn in those exact areas.  You won't regret it!  Or maybe you will?

Have a beautiful day, and I will be unplugging tonight and most of tomorrow for personal reasons.  But do keep in touch because I will be back soon!


What are some inspiring links you've found recently?

Korean+Japanese Recipe: Carrot Shrimp Jeon Bites & Homemade Eel Sauce

carrot jeon triangles with eel sauce-korean and japanese bento style

When I was in elementary school one of my biggest shames was being Korean, or Asian in general, for that matter.  I remember it clearly as if it was yesterday.  That day in 3rd grade when I blatantly asked my mom to stop packing my school lunch, all because I was so tired of having to hide my food that had this distinct "sour smell".  I really tried to hide it too!  But unfortunately, I just could not stop the smell from permeating through the tupperware and onto my school supplies, causing all the kids to scowl in disgust.  Yep, it was good ol' Korean packed lunches to blame for.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who experienced that growing up!  

I really don't mean this to sound like a poor-me post, but it's really not fun to hear remarks like "ewww that red cabbage stinks! (good ol' kimchi)"  at any age, especially if you're the smallest student in your entire 3rd grade and you're straggling behind the big kids, when you could definitely use a boost of self esteem!  Talk about mustering up confidence, right?  Haha, well...thankfully that scenario hasn't been an issue for many years now, and as I mentioned before, I couldn't be any more proud to have my Korean roots still alive and well.  Thank goodness too, because I don't know if I could ever survive without some scrumptious, albeit strong smelling Korean cuisine...but then strangely enough, I don't think I can go without Japanese food either.  Both are equally good.  Both are somewhat complimentary while being on complete opposite sides of the spice spectrum.  Koreans love explosive must-torture-myself flavors, while Japanese folks prefer that subtle and delicate taste in their dishes.  And that's how this cute little bento wannabe recipe came about!  Aside from craving both styles of cuisine, there wasn't any particular reason as to why I chose to create this Korean-Japanese inspired recipe; I guess I simply wanted to play with my food (kids, don't try this at home) and taste the best of both worlds.  :)  The carrot patties/Jeon remind me of a snack my mom used to make me as a kid, and what better way to re-live good childhood memories? 

What I love about these cute little bites is the slight crunch on the exterior of the carrot patties, and soft texture from the other ingredients.  If you've ever tried eel sauce then you probably share my love for its sweet, smoky, and slightly "fishy" flavor without the wangy taste.  Trust me!  Eel sauce isn't as scary as the name suggests.

carrot jeon triangles with eel sauce-korean and japanese bento style | Fit for the Soul

For the cute triangle shapes I used little molds (about 2.5 in. long on each side) for bento boxes, which you can easily get at places like Daiso, Mitsuwa, Marukai.  I'm not sure how accessible Japanese markets are in your area, but to my knowledge Daiso (a Japanese $1 store) has been popping up left and right here in Southern California.  You can probably just as easily order these online, though.  Even though these carrot and rice triangles look tedious to make, they are actually extremely easy to put together.  The best way to go about it is to grate the carrots ahead of time and keep them in the fridge.  And the rice?  Assuming you have a rice cooker, you will have the work done way ahead of time, so the hardest part is probably grating the carrots and making them into carrot jeon (전).  Now onto the recipe!

carrot jeon triangles with eel sauce-korean and japanese bento style | Fit for the Soul

Carrot Shrimp Jeon  Bites with Homemade Eel Sauce

Makes 8 triangles

Ingredients for rice

  • 1 C uncooked brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 C water

Ingredients for carrot patties/Jeon

  • 1 C finely grated carrots (not like pulp)
  • 1/2 C diced shrimp (raw or cooked)
  • 2 TBSP flour dissolved in 3 TBSP water
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • oil spray for cooking

Ingredients for eggs

  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • oil spray for cooking
  • seaweed paper (unsalted, and optional)
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Ingredients for eel sauce // adapted from Nami's recipe

  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP white cooking wine
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP flour dissolved in 3 TBSP water
  • 1/8 tsp Hondashi

Directions

First cook brown rice in a rice cooker if possible.  If you don't have a cooker then cook in a pot over medium meat, stirring often.  Set aside but it's okay to use even if it's still warm.  Spray a large skillet with oil and heat up over medium heat.  Grab a medium bowl and thoroughly mix all the carrot ingredients.  Use the triangular bento mold (or cookie cutter of choice) to fill with carrots about 1/3 of the way up, leaving enough for 8 patties total.  Carefully place triangle on skillet with a spatula, and cook about 2 minutes on each side.  Set to cool.

Oil the skillet again.  Scramble all the egg ingredients in a bowl and fill whole skillet with the mixture so the egg is thin.  Cook about 1 minute on each side over low medium heat.  Transfer to flat surface and use mold to cut 8 pieces and set aside.

Fill the bento mold with rice about 1/2 way up and then place on a plate.  Layer with carrot patties and egg.  For the eel (unagi) sauce, simply simmer in a small pot on low heat for about 3 minutes, while stirring a few times.  You can double or quadruple for future use!  The Hondashi is optional but it definitely gives the mixture a more authentic eel flavor.  Lastly, drizzle sauce on top of the stack and garnish with seaweed and sesame seeds!

korean japanese recipe eggs
bento brown rice triangles

Have you tried bento/doshirak in Korean/Asian picnic food before?  What did you think of them?  Don't worry, I won't judge. ;)

Favorite Asian cuisine?