Yeast Bread with a Sweet Hazelnut & Cardamom Paste

Yeast Loaf with Cardamom Hazelnut paste and dried cherries | by fit for the soul
Yeast Loaf with Cardamom Hazelnut paste and dried cherries | by fit for the soul

With my friend Susan's bridal shower being tomorrow and the wedding next month, I'm trying to be the more financially responsible version of myself.  Quite truthfully a large chunk of my allowance money goes to...you guessed it.  Food.  It's quite embarrassing to admit, I must say. And sweet, doughy pastries that make up the 15% of my not-so-healthy-eating portion, might I add. 

I am absolutely ecstatic for her wedding and in disbelief that it's so quickly coming to an end.  This also means that I need to keep a tight seal on that wallet of mine, and my thoughts out of the gutter (pastry gutter to be exact) if I want to fit in the dress like the last time I tried it on.   It's a long, elegant navy dress that hugs all the right parts (thankfully).  So in light of honoring my sweet, doughy cravings without last minute alterations, I'm baking my own bread more often.

Bread making can seem like a dauntingly tedious task to some folks, but sometimes all that hard work pays off because there's something invaluable in knowing what actually goes into your food. While I am all for getting my sweet fix in an instant at the Torrance Bakery, I am equally approving of the laborious, yet forgotten approaches in life.  Mixing, kneading, waiting, flouring, then kneading, and waiting some more, are so extremely satisfying to this old soul.  "Pfffttt you,an old soul?" You might say. And I hear ya.  But perhaps it's the notion that bread making uncannily resembles life in terms of waiting, changing, growing, regressing, and growing some more. 

I earnestly hope and pray for Susan so that her marriage will be a blessed one filled with growing, reconciling, and ultimately loving at all costs.  Just like I make bread at all costs.  It doesn't always matter how frazzled I am because if I can stay up a few more hours just to see the dough rise and ponder about God's goodness, I'm one happy lady. :)


Super soft bread recipe with cardamom and hazelnut paste | by fit for the soul
How to make your own soft bread | by fit for the soul

This bread doesn't require much work apart from my usual bread recipes.  I do recommend, however, to always have powdered milk on hand if you want a fluffy and (super) tall rise.  You can definitely use almond meal instead of hazelnut flour but I think the fragrant cardamom complements the rich, smoky taste of hazelnut just perfectly.  Dried cherries aren't a must, but you certainly should add a dried fruit element to get this sweet and tangy combination.

It should be noted that I rolled the dough too loosely due to limited space so try to use a large surface area to work the dough.  Rolling it from the outside in towards yourself should be enough to get the swirls of paste evenly layered, and as the photos suggest I rolled it in way too many directions so it looks a bit messy.  But hey, it was unbelievably good.

This bread recipe is perfect for the family and healthy enough for breakfast or as dessert with  condensed milk drizzled on top.  I was also pretty surprised when out of curiosity I googled bread with cardamom filling--just last night.  Turns out that there's actually a very similar bread originating from Finland.  I guess there's always something to learn in the world of cooking!


Yeast Loaf with Cardamom Hazelnut paste and dried fruit | by fit for the soul
Scandinavian Style Yeast Bread with Cardamom Hazelnut paste | by fit for the soul

Yeast Bread with a Sweet Hazelnut & Cardamom Paste

Makes one large loaf

Ingredients for dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3 tbsp powdered milk

1 cup warm water

1 pack dry active yeast

2 large eggs

3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)

1 scrambled egg yolk for brushing

coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Ingredients for paste filling

1 1/4 cups hazelnut flour

1 cup confectioner sugar

5 tbsp butter, softened

2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 cup dried cherries (or other fruit)

Directions

Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment if you have one to speed up the process.  Start by dissolving powdered milk in warm water and follow by adding yeast.  Let it proof for about 10 minutes.  In the mixing bowl, mix together the flours and then add the milk+yeast mixture.  Add eggs, butter, sugar, and knead with the dough hook at medium speed until you see the dough roughly coming together.  Throw in the salt and knead at high speed until it's stretchy and soft, and if it's too sticky add a tbsp flour.  Transfer to a lightly buttered large bowl and cover with a damp towel, placing it in a spot with no wind draft.  Let it rise for about 35-40 minutes and turn oven to 375 F (191 C).

Meanwhile mix all the cardamom filling ingredients minus the dried cherries.  Mix it until it becomes like a paste. 

Roll out the dough on a large, floured surface (up to about 1/2 inch thick).  Gently spread the paste on top and sprinkle with dried cherries.  Grab the end that is opposite of you and somewhat tightly roll it in towards yourself.  Place inside a loaf pan and make sure all ends are inside the pan.  Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle coarse sugar on top.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden.  After cooling down completely, store in airtight container.

Creamy Macadamia Quinoa and Sage Fried in Brown Butter

Creamy quinoa with macadamia and fried sage | by fit for the soul
Macadamia nuts in quinoa | by fit for the soul

I have always been a late bloomer in every sense of the word.  Be it the unnerving stages of puberty which hit me at least 2 years later than all my friends, or something as insignificant as 2014's must-have-items...Like giving in to the iPhone hype about 4 years too late.  You see, I've always been the maverick who refuses to conform to the mold of society and most popular topics don't seem to affect my unique preferences very much...but I have good reasons-- sometimes (said in a distinctly Forrest Gump tone of voice).  Listening to certain pop singers who shall remain nameless (ahem, you whose name rhymes with Babies 'R Us), wearing neon from head to toe like an abiding fashionista would at the gym, and I could really go on with this list.

But food is a different story.  Being keen on quinoa?  No problem! Sacrificing time in the kitchen to test this thing called coconut flour?  I think I started and gave it up years ago. I've been there and done that, pretty much.  Well, most food related things anyway.  Much to Eva's dismay, however, I procrastinated on mustering up the audacity to even think about deep frying anything, let alone a potent herb like sage.  The last time I remember deep frying something other than my hair at the salon is when I was 7.  Just plopped one single potato in scalding oil with my mom's help, and then felt like I could conquer the world.

 

Creamy quinoa with macadamia and fried sage | by fit for the soul
Creamy quinoa with macadamia and fried sage | by fit for the soul
Creamy quinoa with macadamia and fried sage | by fit for the soul

Now, I'm with you if your current response is that of confusion and fear.  Though the idea of fried sage haunted me with curiosity, I was initially stricken with apprehension towards this novel thing.  I mean, I had no idea fried sage was a thing!  The thought of tasting such a pungent herb outside of crock pot stew just didn't make sense to my taste buds.  But now I know better.  Deep frying fresh sage in butter is one of the best foodie decisions I've ever made.  In-n-Out animal style fries has just gained competition, you guys.

So the cornstarch+egg coating makes way for the rich, browned buttery notes to give sage an extra gourmet character.  I've read that most people fry it in oil but I chose butter instead.  The browned butter magically enhances the flavors of the entire dish, allowing richness to permeate through every bit of chewy quinoa.

In order to make the quinoa creamy like Italian pasta without sacrificing its health benefits, I used just a little bit of whipping cream and white wine to bring out the flavors but added cream after photographing the dish.  I highly encourage you to keep the wine above anything else though, or the quinoa will be missing that subtly sweet and aromatic taste.  Paired with macadamia nuts for vegetarian protein and fried sage atop, even your picky family won't complain!  And I speak from experience because it was approved by my quinoa phobic husband and quite opinionated toddler. :)


Creamy Macadamia Quinoa and Sage Fried in Brown Butter {gf}

Makes about 6 medium servings

Ingredients for quinoa

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa

3 cups water

1 cup white wine

4 tbsp whipping cream

1 whole shallot, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)+pepper

sprinkles of parmesan cheese (optional)

Ingredients for brown butter sage \\ from Lisa Kolb

3/4 cups cornstarch

1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)

1 whole large egg, scrambled

4 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup fresh sage leaves

Directions

I suggest cooking the quinoa in water the night before to cut down on time.  But any time is okay.  First place quinoa and water in a medium pot and bring to a rolling boil.  Then lower heat and lightly simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring and fluffing every few minutes until water is absorbed.  Set aside.

For the crispy sage, start by having cornstarch and salt in a bowl, and the egg scrambled in a separate bowl.  Melt butter in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Quickly dip the sage in the egg mixture and then coat it in cornstarch.  Do a few of those and carefully drop them in the bubbling butter.  Scoop out after about 15-20 seconds, or when egg is cook and sage is crispy.  Transfer to a plate (with paper towels for soaking extra butter--optional) and reserve any leftover browned butter.

Assembling

Place the sauce pan containing the browned butter on low-medium heat.  Pour wine and whipping cream, then cook the shallots and macadamia for about 3 minutes, or when shallots are translucent.  Add salt and pepper. 

In the same pot you cooked the quinoa, pour the creamy wine and shallot mixture and incorporate with a spoon.  Serve with browned butter sage on top and sprinkle parmesan cheese.

When Life Gets Crazy

The Yellow Vase Bakery Cafe in Palos Verdes | by fit for the soul
Yellow Vase Cafe Latte and Dessert | by fit for the soul
Palos Verdes Ocean View Scenery | by fit for the soul
Nothing like Gramma and Grampa | by fit for the soul
Selah at 1.5 years old playing with stuffed animals | by fit for the soul

When life brings your in-laws to town, take advantage.  The extra bit of free time you get while they watch Baby, I mean. :) So last week I took some 'me' time and aimlessly drove around the South Bay area. Little did I know I'd experience a serendipitous encounter with the winding roads of the Rolling Hills and beautiful ocean view.  As I lost myself in deep thoughts and appreciation of the cool ocean breeze blowing through my dirty-hair-don't-care-hair, I drove right by The Yellow Vase Cafe which looked strikingly familiar.  "I don't know how one could ever miss those beautiful yellow flowers and stark, yellow decor while driving by", I thought to myself.  Then it hit me...it was the cafe Chriselle mentioned on IG a few months back!  If I recall correctly.  Their latte was strong enough to not turn me off from their caffeinated drinks (I have to have it strong), and the apple tart was one of the best I've ever had.  Flaky dough, light buttery taste, and perfectly cooked apples all in one.

While wading through my share of caffeine and good times with my in-laws, I also experienced some lows and nearly-panic worthy events.  You don't ever want to wake up to your child barking up a cough!  You just--don't.  It's one of those things I wouldn't wish on any parent out there.   But I didn't show I was panicking of course. Strangely enough I can usually keep my cool on the outside in times of emergencies so as to not affect people around me, but believe me.  Deep down in the pit of my stomach I panicked for a minute or two.  Then I prayed and called the doctor at 1 am (bless his heart) and a few days after I fervently prayed for my dad because I knew God was the only one I could run to during such a scary time. 


Selah at 1.5 years old portrait | by fit for the soul

When he went into an episode of severe pain I reminded myself that whatever happens in this life happens for a reason and I could only hope for what God knows is best for our family. Thankfully after his health scare we got a call from my sister who was with him at the ER.  Safe.  Nothing detrimental and nothing near death!  But it sure felt like it, you guys. 

So last week was a complete fuse of emotions ranging from high and excited, to tired as a result from sleepless nights thanks to the Croup, and a little bit of inner panic mixed in at the end of the week.  I'm not here to bring gloom and doom though.  I just want to encourage you to cherish your loved ones like never before.  At least for me, I'm holding on to a heart of gratitude with utmost sincerity that even the harshest of circumstances hopefully can't strip me of.  Nothing coming our way will ever surpass our strength to handle it especially when God is so big. Everything...and I mean everything...is temporary including our struggles.  Isn't that such a beautiful truth?


Portrait of Selah at 1.5 years old | by fit for the soul

How has life been for you?

If you're a mom, what are your favorite ways to unwind when you're away from your little one?

-Definitely taking walks, coffee breaks at a nice cafe, or searching for random spots around town.

Black Sesame Cake Roll with a Velvety Chocolate Whipped Cream

Super fluffy sesame roll cake with velvety chocolate whipped cream | by fit for the soul
Sesame roll cake with a chocolate whipped cream | by fit for the soul

Calling all cake lovers!  Yes, you. :)  There is something unequivocally luxurious about a cake that's been shaped into a log.  I've had a (huge) variety of cakes throughout my 20 some years of life and nothing so far seems to trump the fruit+the fluffiest whipped cream you ever did have combo from the Korean bakery, rich Argentinean ricotta cake, and roll cakes with all kinds of pretty, swirly colors.  I welcome the challenge to try every cake known to human kind, however, because one can never eat too much of the stuff (even for a health nut like me).

For someone who's so madly in love with cake as I am, this black sesame variety is a dream come true.  Velvety chocolate cream and a black sesame batter that boasts a fluffy texture without it being so airy that you don't feel like you're actually eating nothing.  And for Valentine's Day I assume you want to impress somebody, am I right?  And no single food says "I love you" like chocolate does, and well....if we were to be totally honest, no single food says "I'm letting you have the entire stash of chocolate I got from my classmates and co-workers because I'd rather you gain the extra weight. Sorrrryyyy."  But in all seriousness, this cake was birthed from the love and excitement I feel for my church family!  If I had all the time in the world I would cook and bake all day long just so I could gift a dessert to each one of our members and even our neighbors while I'm at it. 

Sesame roll cake with fluffy chocolate whipped cream | by fit for the soul

Greg gave me the nudge to bake up something creative (but not too crazy in the taste department) for our new visitors and I jumped at the chance immediately.  I hope you decide to give this a try because I know you'll maybe, probably, or definitely love it? ;)

I took the liberty to use my 9x13 inch baking pan simply because I don't own a jelly roll pan, let alone a regular cookie sheet with sides that come up.  I cut the cake in half horizontally and it turned out perfectly fine, although I would suggest that you handle it with extreme gentleness and patience.  Try to spread the whipped cream on the crumbly surface so the side with the sheen (or the one where the knife didn't cut through) faces outward when rolled up.  I noticed this little trick helps the rolling process and minimizes cracks in the cake. 

How to make a roll cake and homemade whipped cream | by fit for the soul
Sesame roll cake recipe for an afternoon coffee | by fit for the soul
Sesame roll cake and a chocolate whipped cream recipe | by fit for the soul
Sesame roll cake with a chocolate whipped cream | by fit for the soul

Black Sesame Cake Roll with a Velvety Chocolate Whipped Cream

Makes two cake rolls

Ingredients for cake

1 cup+1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup ground black sesame

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)

6 tbsp softened butter

1 large egg+1 egg white

1 cup sour milk*** (1 tbsp vinegar+milk)

1/3 cup honey

2/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Oil spray for pan

Ingredients for chocolate whipped cream

1 egg white

1/2 cup confectioner sugar

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp honey***

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

Start by having the sour milk ready about 10 minutes prior to adding it to the batter.  Mix 1 tbsp vinegar and add enough milk of choice to make it 1 cup.  Preheat the oven to 375 F (191 C).  In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours, ground sesame, baking soda, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.  In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or stand mixer with whisk attachment), cream butter, eggs, sour milk, honey, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and lightly mix until well incorporated and there aren't big clumps.  Just don't over mix.  Have a sprayed 9x13 inch pan ready, pour the batter, and spread evenly.  If you use a larger pan you might be able to skip the step of cutting the cake in half horizontally later.  Bake for about 25 minutes if using a 9x13" pan.

For the whipped cream, use a stand mixer or hand mixer.  Use your ingredients while they're very cold.  Whip the egg white until it becomes kind of frothy and add the sugar as you keep beating it for about 30 seconds.  Add whipping cream and whip until it forms nice peaks, and then add cocoa and honey and whip until well incorporated.  If you don't wish to use honey you can sub it with more sugar and a bit more cream.  Refrigerate while getting cake ready.

Assembling

Unstick the sides of the pan with a large knife, invert the cake on a flat surface and let it cool.  Then Cut it horizontally so both sides are about 1/2 inch thick.  Spread an equal amount of the whipped cream on the non-crumbly surfaces and roll towards you very carefully and gently.  Serve in slices and enjoy!


Favorite black sesame dessert?

What flavors remind you of Valentine's?

Korean Recipe: Seasoned Eggplant Side dish {Healthy}

Gaji Namul Korean Eggplant Side dish | by fit for the soul
Gaji Namul Korean Eggplant Side dish | by fit for the soul

So we've already established the fact that Korean food is super healthy, right?  Well--except for the few maverick dishes that are notorious for their high fat and sugar content like galbi+bulgogi, unless you swap out the sugar for a better alternative like in this recipe.  You also can't forget the msg laden tubs of kimchi that are healthy only when the casing blatantly reads "NO MSG", and of course grilled pork belly which only happens to be my favorite meat next to fish?  But I digress.  Every type of cuisine has its pros and cons and I truly believe Korean cooking has more pros than anything else. 

Take this Gaji-Namul side dish (가지 나물) for example.  It's truly versatile in flavor because you can make it spicy or just plain tangy, and you don't even need to measure anything as we normally gauge the flavors through the dip-and-taste method.  None of that tablespoon jargon included in our cuisine, which can also get a bit problematic when trying to remake Mom's recipes and you can only imagine how that usually works out.  Not good.  But you see, I'm on a mission to spread the love and for the sake of anyone trying to adopt a Korean diet, I have measured out the most essential ingredients in this eggplant side dish.  Come to think of it, these are the most basic items you would need to make the base for many of our little accompaniments.  So make sure to keep these in your pantry and your fridge frequently stocked up, and you'll be more than ready to cook like a true Korean wife.  Errr or husband for the more open-minded, younger generation. Or if you're feminist. :)

Gaji Namul Korean Eggplant Side dish | by fit for the soul

Gaji-namul is normally steamed until the flesh is very tender, but for the sake of time and effortlessness I decided to lightly simmer the eggplant for a few minutes.  The seasoning can be a combination of vinegar and lots of red pepper flakes of you can go without the spice if you so prefer.  Pair this up with rice and a substantial main course, or simply have it as a salad for lunch.  The most satisfying and simple dish without sacrificing taste!


Seasoned Eggplant {Gaji Namul 가지 나물}

Serves 2-3 as a side dish

Ingredients

3 medium sized eggplants, cut lengthwise (5-6 in. long)

2 green onions, chopped (save a little for garnish)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)

2 tbsp vinegar (any neutral tasting kind)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

In a medium-large pot, bring water to a simmer over medium heat.  Then add the eggplants and keep simmering for about 4 minutes or until slightly tender, and then drain and run under cold water to cool it down.  If you do have a steamer then I suggest you do the steaming method instead, as this results in a more flavorful eggplant with a meatier texture. 

Mix the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients and garnish with the remaining green onion.  Enjoy!


What's your favorite eggplant dish? 

-Mine are Berenjenas en Escabeche a la Argentine style, hot and sour eggplant, and this!

What Korean dish would you like to see here?

Korean Recipe: Soboro Bread With Red Bean Paste Filling {팥 소보로/팥 곰보빵 }

Soboro {소보로} and red bean paste Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul
Soboro {소보로} Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul

Some foods are kind of like the most treasured memories we possess.

In the case of this most excellent bread known as Soboro (소보로) or Gomboh bbang (곰보빵), one could say that it's a childhood favorite for many who've grown up in a Korean household.  For me personally it signifies comfort, tender care, hospitality, a few pounds gained in the process (boooo), and the greatest (baking) challenge to have been conquered in years.  And no matter how often we consume this peanut butter studded delicacy we never grow tired of it!  Yes yes.  A lot like our sweetest memories, indeed.

The buttery notes seeping through the clear wrapping that it's often packaged in at the bakery is so comforting to me.  It is reminiscent of the tender love I felt as a child in Argentina, when mom would make a pit stop by Canaan Bakery and come back home excitedly chirping about how she got my favorite bread ever.  And she still does that whenever I pay her a visit, you know. ;) I remember those days like it was just yesterday and as much as I struggle to keep my distance from Soboro due to fear of addiction, I'm afraid I've fallen hard exactly two decades ago. 

Soboro {소보로} and red bean, Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul
Soboro {소보로} Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul

Soboro bread is a Korean "delicacy" that has been around for, uhhh I don't know how long.  But long enough for my mom to tell me endearing--and what some would call highly exaggerated-stories of her childhood.  If I recall correctly, a bun of soboro distributed by the American soldiers cruising around the neighborhood would help her get through the day.  She wasn't from a wealthy family, nor was she guaranteed a proper meal on some unlucky days so this piece of bread got her to school happy and satisfied.  And as cheesy as her narratives of trudging to school on an empty stomach in knee-deep snow may sound, I believe her.  I believe she was comforted by the taste of this humble bread just like I am when I think of the simple pleasures of life.  I'm curious if any of you have stories like that from your own parents!

So I made up my mind to bake Soboro at the blissful age of 6, and here is the result after 21 years of finally mustering up the courage!  I hope you give this a try and enjoy it (get addicted) as much as we do.  The light crispiness from the peanut streusel complements the pillowy, milky bread.  Traditionally Soboro is made without the sweet filling, but nowadays almost every Korean bakery sells this richer alternative as well.  As with most Korean breads, expect this one to be sweet but not decadent like say, an American quick bread.

Soboro {소보로} Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul

A few of my suggestions not shown in the photo:  After shaping the risen dough into a ball and flattening it with your hand, brush the top with an egg wash of 1:1 egg yolk and water.  This way the streusel will rest more easily as the bread is baking and you're guaranteed a glistening golden top.  When pinching/sealing the dough after filling it with paste, try to pinch it all into one uniform point instead of sealing the edges one on top of the other.  Doing so will allow the paste to stay perfectly centered instead of layered throughout the bread.  Enjoy!

Soboro {소보로} Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul
Soboro {소보로} and red bean paste Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul
Soboro {소보로} Korean peanut streusel bread recipe | by fit for the soul

Soboro Bread with Red Bean Paste Filling {팥 소보로}

Makes approximately 12-13

Ingredients for bread

3 cups all-purpose flour***

1 packet instant dry yeast

1 large egg+1 egg white

1/3 cup honey

1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)

3 tbsp powdered milk+3/4 cup warm water***

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 can sweet red bean paste

1 egg yolk+1 tbsp water

Ingredients for peanut streusel

3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (or creamy)

1 tbsp softened butter

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp honey

1 egg white

3 tbsp powdered milk

Directions for bread

Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment if possible, but if you don't have one you can always use a large bowl and beaters instead.  In that large bowl hand whisk the flour and yeast.  Then add the egg+egg white and honey, and begin mixing with the dough hook set on medium speed for about 30 seconds or more. 

Add salt and the diluted mixture of warm water and powdered milk, following with the softened butter.  Mix on high speed until the dough is pliable but firm.  If it's too sticky add a few tablespoons of flour, or a bit of water if it's too tough.  Leave the dough in that bowl and cover with a damp towel in an area with no wind/draft--about 45-60 minutes.  Soon after preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C).

Directions for peanut streusel

In a separate medium-large bowl mix the peanut butter, butter, flour and sugar with a whisk until a slightly crumbly mixture starts to form.  Add honey, egg white, and powdered milk and mix so that there are small and big chunks of streusel. 

Assembling

***You can definitely substitute the all-purpose flour with a combination of 2 cups white+1 cup whole wheat pastry or other easy-to-use flours.   I ran out of the healthy stuff!  And as for the powdered milk in the dough, you're not required to use that and instead make it with warm whole milk.  Here's a rundown of the benefits of baking with powdered milk in case you're curious.***

When the dough is risen, grab the dough in the amount of 1.5 golf ball's size.  Gently form into a disk of about 1/2 inch height with your palms and fingers, making sure not to rip.  The disk will end up about 5-6 inches in circumference.  Spoon roughly about 3 tbsps of sweet red bean into the center of the dough and carefully bring all the edges together pinching them into one point.  Place on a lined cookie sheet and flatten with your palm as much as you can so it's about 2 inches in height.  Repeat this step with remaining dough and brush the egg wash mixture (yolk+water) on top of each one.  Grab a handful of streusel and carefully place it on top, covering as much of the dough as possible.  Bake for approximately 24-28 minutes, or when the dough is shiny and golden and the streusel is cooked but not burnt. 


What bread recipe has always intimidated you? 

-Definitely this one and sourdough!

Have you tried this peanut streusel bread before?  Any favorite streusel recipes?

Carrot and Pistachio Salad with a Lime Avocado Dressing

Carrot and pistachio salad with a lime avocado dressing | by fit for the soul
Toasted pistachios for a Salad | by fit for the soul
Grated carrots for shredded carrot salad | by fit for the soul
Carrot and pistachio salad with a lime avocado dressing | by fit for the soul

If there is one single bit of knowledge that my parents instilled in me as a little girl, it's the notion that one should eat food mainly for its nutritional value.  Especially veggies! Wait, what?? As I mentioned in my previous posts, I have Korean culture to thank for for allowing me to appreciate vegetables not only for the health benefits they provide, but their amazing taste as well.  I mean, the possibilities with Korean seasoning are endless, so you can imagine I've had my fair share of produce in my 20 some years.

Although I've grown to love vegetables plain and raw as much as the cooked alternative, I know for a fact that certain people {points finger at husband and baby Selah} can barely stand the smell of certain veggies, let alone the taste.  So that's when the lovely Deb came to the rescue...I remember seeing her beautiful and most mouth watering carrot salad with tahini+ roasted chickpeas months ago.  Although veggies in their whole entirety might send some running down to the nearest McDonald's, the shredded variety is less intense even for the pickiest of eaters.  After long eyeing Deb's recipe I finally got my procrastinating bum to the kitchen and started shredding till I almost lost a finger.  I was determined you guys.

My suggestion is to shred your life out on with these carrots so you can have plenty in the fridge for the rest of the week.  This recipe is good for 3-4 servings so feel free to double the ingredients.  Now, I speak from personal experience here so hear me out...if you're looking to introduce this salad to your toddler, I highly recommend smearing a whole wheat tortilla with the lime avocado dressing.  Then sprinkle some cheese along with the carrot mix and some hummus for protein.  Eventually you might just find yourself cackling at your sly ingenuity because little Bobbie doesn't know your secret. ;)


Carrot and Pistachio Salad with a Lime Avocado Dressing

Makes 3-4 servings || Highly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for Carrot Salad

4 large carrots, peeled and grated (on medium sized holes)

3/4 cup chopped raw pistachio

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup julienned onions (or shallots)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt+pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Ingredients for Dressing

1 avocado, flesh scooped and cut

3/4 cup almond milk (or other)

2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt+pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

Start by preheating your oven to 350 F.  Now prepare the carrots.  Use a grating box and place it on a large flat surface.  Grate carrots on the medium sized holes.  Set aside.  Move on to toasting the pistachios in a medium baking pan, placing it in the oven and baking it for about 5 minutes or until crunchy but not burnt.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet/pan on medium heat.  Cook the corn for a few minutes until the frost is gone, and then add the onions along with the salt+pepper.  Occasionally toss with wooden spoon and cook until onion is translucent and corn is lightly caramelized.  Set aside.

In a food processor (I used the Magic Bullet), mix all the dressing ingredients and add more liquid if you prefer a thinner dressing. 

Assembling

Simply place the desired amount of carrots on a large plate.  Mix in the pistachios, top with the caramelized ingredients, sprinkle some of the chopped cilantro, and drizzle on the avocado lime dressing. 


What is your favorite carrot salad recipe?

In what ways do you "sneak" in awesome veggies?

Our Trip to Kansas!

A snowy day out by the lake in Wichita, Kansas | by fit for the soul
Breakfast at Gramma's house in Kansas | by fit for the soul
Apple cinnamon rolls with cream cheese glaze | by fit for the soul
Wichita, Kansas Lakeside | by fit for the soul
Wichita, Kansas frozen lake | by fit for the soul

Our week in Kansas was unexpectedly relaxing considering that we normally stick to a schedule of meeting this group and that group at coffee o'clock .  During past visits we only had a few hours to spare with our immediate family just before bed time, so having a leeway in our schedule was just what we needed to recharge. This time Sharon (mother-in-law) decided to keep things simple because she knew Greg and I needed time to sit back than more anything else.  Of course we had our cousin's beautiful wedding to attend at the Museum of World Treasures which was the main reason for visiting, but getting some time to simply "be" made a huge difference for us--both physically and spiritually.  

Selah enjoying her time with gramma and grampa Betzen was definitely a highlight.  Her utterly cute dancing and new quirks such as saying "cooooil" or "wassat???" when she's fascinated, or her incessant playing of musical Charlie Brown Christmas dolls which made me feel quite deranged after a few hours, made this trip.  As I mentioned in my last recipe post, I hadn't realized that Wichita is slowly but surely welcoming "hipster" businesses like Reverie Coffee Roasters.  For just a short moment in time it was like being transported right back into the LA scene which only left me wanting a super sized Spanish Latte.  But I digress.  This coffee shop is amazing, you guys! Fresh beans being pulverized to dust right before your very eyes, friendly staff that's as passionate about the beans as you are, and a relaxing atmosphere?  Well Wichita friends, look no further and head into Reverie asap, but make sure to wear earplugs if you know you can't study with the deafening noise in the background.

I also noticed that while looking through the eyes of my camera I was able to hear the nothingness that surrounded Wichita (specifically our parents' home), which can be better translated into the idea of stillness and quietness that we rarely get in the city.  This led to much reflection and strengthening of our souls as we spent even more time praying and enjoying the little things because ahem--Selah was busy with gramma so these parents were free as birds, hah!  This also meant we got to watch one of the best movies (Unbroken) we've seen in well...years (literally)!   After an amazing church service, baking my favorite apple cinnamon rolls for the family, waffle flops with Sharon and laughing till our lungs burst, a memorable ahi tuna dinner at Firebirds, an excruciatingly wonderful deep tissue massage, and a body pH consultation I felt like a million bucks. Yup!  I'm still the health freak you've always known me to be, and now I have a body brush in hand per the doc's recommendation and a collection of herbal supplements and bath oils to cleanse my liver.  I think I'm ready for this whole life-back-in-Cali thing. ;)


Amazing meal at Firebirds in Wichita, Kansas | by fit for the soul
Selah and Gramma with toddler car | by fit for the soul
Selah on Gramma's fireplace-toddler photo | by fit for the soul
Gramma's Lake in Wichita | by fit for the soul
Out by the lake in Wichita, Kansas | by fit for the soul
Kansas Sunset | by fit for the soul

What are the places/states you travel to the most?