When Life Throws you Persimmons

Persimmons in the sunlight | fit for the soul
Persimmons in the golden sunlight | fit for the soul

Today is my dad's birthday and tomorrow is my mom's.  Although I always mean to spoil them with love, otherwise known as homemade food since food is the primary way we show our concern in Korean culture, I seem to have a hard time with this task.  This thing called life is much more complicated than we deem it to be sometimes, don't you think?  And I'm afraid I might have let my own endeavors get in the way of cooking something specifically for them, transferring it to my car making sure all possibilities of spillage are taken care of, and setting it on their dinner table. 

Since I am a bit wiser than years past and perhaps a tiny bit better in the kitchen (or so I'd like to think), I took the challenge to use these gorgeous persimmons in a European dish.  I'm hoping to stuff these into DIY ravioli and creating a magical experience for everyone at the dinner table tonight.   If it's worthy of a recipe then I will definitely be sharing it with you!  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one because I'm no expert when it comes to pasta making like our lovely Sarah.  I tell you though, some people are really good at rubbing off inspiration on others.

Selah finally using a spoon! | fit for the soul

The best things in this busy life, as they say, are free sometimes.  And currently some of those include plenty of "proud mommy and daddy" moments!  Selah has been blossoming like crazy the past few weeks, and what we've noticed is that her style of learning is more geared towards waiting, being somewhat indifferent to certain tasks, and then boom!  She suddenly becomes desperate to trying it herself and masters it in one go.  It truly is like she collects an immense library of knowledge and how-tos by watching us, and then executes them in one sitting.  I guess she does whatever she pleases at her own pace, hah! 

As for me personally, I'm pretty tied down this week with a lot of Bible study preparations and groups this weekend.  As some of you may have seen my overt enthusiasm on Instagram, I shared that our church women's ministry is having a "rebirth", for lack of better term, and I have a few faithful and beautiful sisters to run alongside with me.  To be honest I'm more excited than nervous about this ministry, but any prayers from you are certainly welcome.  I can't wait to see the growth in all of us as we study The Word and learn to become the women God has intended us to be.  Exciting times are coming, you guys!

Have a beautiful weekend and I'll be around, so don't be shy to keep in touch.


Have you tried persimmon or dishes that contain the fruit as an ingredient? 

What are some noteworthy and hallelujah moments in your life right now? :)  Share the excitement!

Giant Lemon Pancake and a Cream Cheese Icing + Groundwork Coffee Review

Groundwork coffee review and lemon icing pancakes for breakfast | fit for the soul

This product review was not compensated.  Only the product was provided for this post. 

By now it should be no secret that I'm a total coffee addict...and proud of it too.  There's something about a {hot} cup of freshly brewed coffee that just gets me every time.  I almost dare say that coffee is kind of like the truest of friends.  You know, the kind that no matter how long you've been apart from each other you come back together after eons of years, and yet that warm and comforting feeling still remains?  It understands my needs, if you will.  Coffee is always just in time--trickling from my beloved Keurig and into my cup.  It knows when I'm in one of those "today is a 6 cups of coffee kind of day" moods and even comforts my soul.  The more robust and straight forward the taste, the better.  And now that I've completely romanticized the idea of these fascinating little beans, let me confess that I am in love with Groundwork Coffee. Wow. 

Lemon icing pancake inspired by the Breakfast Bar in Long Beach | fit for the soul

Remember that one time we had our Family Monday dinner at Tender Greens?  Besides our super green meal that night, we also had their amazing coffee courtesy of Groundwork. Much to my delight I have been in touch with Groundwork Coffee as of late, and their customer service is just as outstanding as their brew.  They simply had me go on their website and choose all of my coffee needs, or preferences more like it, as the site narrowed down the choices for me step-by-step.  I normally go for a medium and robust blend that exudes a complexity of flavors, so I wound up requesting their Lucky Jack blend.  It originates from the Central America and the Indo-Pacific regions.  What does that mean?  Well, I'm no connoisseur when it comes to all that geographical jargon but I think those regions indicate the beans are good.  :)  The best part about this LA based company is the concern for their workers' well being as well as global solidarity:

Groundwork sources organically grown coffee and tea and pays a premium to the farmers and traders who bring it to market. The company actively participates in numerous certification programs designed to promote ecological, social and economic health and welfare to communities around the world.
Groundwork Los Angeles Coffee.jpg

So as I took my first sip from my French pressed brew, I knew immediately that I needed carbs to go along with it.  The breakfast and dessert-y kind!  You can call me out on this as I'm fully aware that every food blogger claims that their recipe is "the best ever".  And as such, I normally refrain from stating such lofty claims because let's face it--we all have "the best ever" of something, hah!  Hear me out, though.  These pancakes are UNFATHOMABLY AMAZING.  Trust me on this because they've been holding up in the fridge for a good 3 days with no crusting whatsoever. 

Groundwork coffee review | fit for the soul

Two weeks ago we celebrated my lovely friend Susan's birthday at The Breakfast Bar in Long Beach, as you might have seen on Instagram.  I could easily see why their pancakes are rated so high, and with lemon being one of my favorite flavors for bread based recipes--which the Breakfast Bar specializes in--I knew I had to remake it at home.  My version is most likely a tad healthier thanks to whole wheat flour and less sugar in the batter.  The zesty cream cheese icing drizzle is sweet and tangy, but light enough to tease your taste buds.  And the texture of this gigantic pancake?!  As pillowy and fluffy as clouds!  I think the addition of one egg white makes all the difference, and I can't even begin to imagine how much better it would be with whipped egg whites.  Oh boy, the possibilities...Paired up with Groundwork's coffee, Greg and I had the best restaurant experience in the comfort of our own home.

Now {finally} onto the recipe!

Groundwork Coffee review and lemon icing pancakes recipe | fit for the soul

Lemon Pancake and a Zesty Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 4 large pancakes

Ingredients for pancakes

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)

1 large egg + 1 egg white

1/2 cup milk of choice + 1/4 cup water

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

zest of half a lemon

Ingredients for cream cheese icing

3 tbsp Neufchatel cream cheese (lower fat than regular)

2 tbsp milk of choice

1/4 cup confectioner sugar (or maple syrup but adjust liquids)

1 tsp lemon juice

zest of half a lemon

Directions

For the pancakes I used a cast iron skillet but feel free to use a regular skillet.  Lightly grease/butter the pan and have it on low-medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, depending on how quickly your pan heats up--shouldn't be scorching but warm enough.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and powder, and salt.  In a small bowl vigorously whisk the eggs and add them to flour bowl.  Pour milk, water, honey, lemon juice, and zest.  Whisk together just enough so it's well incorporated. 

With a 1/2 C measuring cup spoon the batter onto the skillet and spread out just a bit.  Once it starts bubbling up flip and cook till golden brown. 

For the icing I used a small processor.  Simply whip all the ingredients and drizzle over your giant pancakes.  Enjoy!

Lemon glazed pancakes recipe inspired by the Breakfast Bar in Long Beach | fit for the soul

The most memorable pancakes you've ever had or made?  You can link to the source too!

Have you tried Groundwork Coffee before?  And if not, please do so when you're hanging out in LA. :)

What's your "ideal" breakfast atmosphere and scenario?

Korean Recipe: Sweet Potato Filled Crust Pizza

Sweet Potato Filled Pizza-Korean Style | fit for the soul.com

There are a few things I'm kind of picky about and prefer to have done in a specific way.  Such peculiar preferences include:  getting the perfect ratio of coffee and milk (8:2) , when a dish is claimed to be spicy it better be setting my mouth on fire, or here comes the biggie.  Pizza that feels too "commercialized" or "Americanized".

*hides under a chair*

Now, you are probably starting to think that I'm this arrogant, holier than thou person because of my Argentinean pride...but really, we should get together for a cup of coffee and you'll think otherwise!  Anyway, I was going to say that pizza and I have a love hate relationship.  The sauce is too bland.  The crust is too greasy.  The toppings are all wrong, don't you see?  The earthy taste of herbs and tomato is missing and it just tastes too boring.  So I must say--I have yet to try pizza that tastes just as good as Argentina and Italy's version. 

Sweet Potato Filled Crust Pizza from Love Letter Menu | fit for the soul.com

As usual, I ate my words to the very last bite the moment I gave Love Letter's sweet potato Gold pizza a try.  Remember my undying obsession with their spicy chicken?  Their pizza, in my opinion, is just as good.  Sure it may not be up to Italian standards and the toppings may be rather plain, but the secret to their utterly popular pizza is the sweet potato filling inside the crust.  You read that right, my friends...A sweet potato filling.  What is this life?!

In Korean culture we pretty much eat yam--which we affectionately (and incorrectly) call sweet potato for lack of better English--morning day and night.  I remember back in high school my mom would always have a batch of yams waiting for me in the toaster oven.  I would happily take one to school all the way up until I was in college, and if we were out of snacks for the day she would suggest in her matter-of-fact tone of voice, "Eat yams!  They're the best food for your body".  Now that I think about it, she even brought a few to our wedding day because she was genuinely concerned that I'd pass out from stress and starvation before the ceremony.  Those memories are the best kind (though somewhat stressful), and the kind that give me a push to revive my love for such a healthy single food in a not-so-healthy-recipe.  But I'd like to think that it all balances out in the end, don't you agree? :)

What I love about this recipe is the slight contrast of sweet and savory.  Don't worry about the sweet flavor being overwhelming because it doesn't overpower the rest of the ingredients.  On the contrary, they are quite good at complimenting each other.  Serve this with some creamy cabbage slaw and you've got yourself a satisfying meal.

As seen here, yams have a beautiful golden flesh with a thicker consistency than orange sweet potatoes.  And what do you know?  They're actually not even related to each other.

Pizza with Sweet Potato {Yam} Filled Crust

Makes 3 small pizzas

Ingredients for Pizza Dough

2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sea salt (or regular)

1 cup warm water

3 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for Sweet Potato {Yam} Filling

2 medium yams, baked and peeled

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp softened butter

2 tbsp milk of choice

Ingredients for toppings

8 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp oregano

2 cups frozen onion & pepper

2 cups mozzarella

Directions

In a stand mixer bowl, whisk the flour, flax, yeast, sugar, and salt together for the dough.  Then attach a dough hook onto the machine and pour in the warm water and olive oil.  Knead on medium speed until everything is well incorporated.  The dough should be slightly sticky but completely uniform.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and a large plate on top.  Let it rise to about double its size for 50-60 minutes. 

To make the sweet potato {yam} filling, process the baked yams with butter, honey, and milk until finely pureed.  It will be a goopy mixture.  Spoon it into a ziploc bag and cut one tip of the bag.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees and lightly flour a flat surface.  Take one-third of the risen dough and gently knead it on the surface (or spin it on fingers) with a rolling pin.  It should end up in about 8x8 in. in circumference (like a small cake).  Pipe the pureed yam near the edge of the disk but about 1/2 in. away from the edge, in circular motion.  Now, grab the dough from the edge and fold it over the yam filling so it becomes enclosed. 

Directions for assembling

Spread about 3 tbsp of tomato sauce, sprinkle a bit of the salt and oregano, mozzarella, and frozen vegetables.  Repeat all those steps for the other pizzas.  Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden at the crust. 

Sweet Potato Filled Crust Pizza-Korean Style | fit for the soul.com
Sweet Potato Filled Crust Pizza from Love Letter Menu | fit for the soul.com

What's the best pizza you've ever eaten? 

What are some particularities you have with food?

27th Birthday!

Cake House fruit and cream cake for 27 years of blessings | fit for the soul

Some of you already know that I like to keep it simple and quiet for my birthday, and I think I've been that way ever since I can remember.  Well, except for that one time in 3rd grade when I had a fancypants party at the ice skating rink; the whole place was rented just for me and my friends!  It took quite a few puppy faces to get my parents' approval on that, so don't think it was an easy task. Hah! Other than my party back in 3rd grade, I normally like to go out with a few friends or have a relaxing time with family.  Yesterday (October 12) marked my 27th year of this life, which has been filled with blessings upon blessings.  The older I grow the wiser I get, with a few regressions every now and then.  Or so I'd like to think? :)

Simplicity is something for which my heart consistently yearns.  My identity is constantly grated with circumstances and thought processes that I'd rather not face.  Family is only about a gazillion times more precious than ever before, and I didn't think that was even possible!  My ever growing collection of kitchen items keep on piling up because that's what I do--all thanks to your support.  Being in my own skin is slowly becoming more comfortable thankfully, or else I'd be in a pretty dark place.  And I also realize how much I lack in humility as I often rely on my own understanding, not something intentional but something that happens nonetheless...Yet I find strength in God's amazing ability to replenish the rights I have wronged, the thorns in my life that are in fact, blessings in disguise.  Everyday is an adventure and I'm excited to sail through the day, because I know God has been guiding me for the past 27 years.  If that alone doesn't make me thankful, I don't don't what will!

Uncle and nephew love | fit for the soul
Family Photo for my 27th Birthday | fit for the soul

It brings me to tears (drama queen much?) to think about how much I have!  I am definitely counting my blessings today, and hopefully you do too. 


Count your blessings with me!  What are some unexpected things you've been blessed by?

Do you prefer simple birthdays, or do you go "all out"? ;)

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with French Pastry Cream

Apple wheat cinnamon rolls with pastry icing | fit for the soul.com

You've heard of that saying, "you are the people you hang out with".  And although I can't say I drool like Selah who so happens to be one of my best buddies, or that I have a blowout stinky enough to let the world know, or that I get obsessed with a simple leaf on the ground, or all of the above, I can attest to the fact that Greg (husband) and I are adopting each other's preferences as the years go by.  It's a give and take process, really.  He and I start to look more like alike (now that would be cool!) and he eats {some of} my veggie dishes while I...unfortunately...give in to the most sinful desserts ever.  Like his favorite cinnamon rolls!

While I'm not in love with cinnamon rolls I am fine with eating it once in a great while.  Perhaps it's the obnoxious Argentinean pride talking, but oftentimes I turn my nose up at this dessert and it usually ends up at the bottom of the list of my dessert preferences.  Remember how I said that post-baby-hormones are no joke?  Well, surprisingly I get weak in the knees when I get a whiff of that sweet, comforting, cinnamon-y aroma traveling through the mall nowadays.

Now, since marriage is about compromise and all I finally gave in and made these apple cinnamon rolls drizzled with pastry cream.  Because you see, I much prefer that vanilla infused, creamy, and complex taste of pastry cream over plain sugar and butter.  Nothing wrong with the latter but for me it winds up tasting too sweet, while its French counterpart teases my taste buds while keeping me grounded. Leveled.  It's all about balance after all. Sure it sounds fancier than white glaze and maybe it is.  But it really compliments the spiced apple flavor in this doughy dish, giving a unique twist to an old American classic.

You can easily alter this recipe by adding a bit more sugar in the cream and between the rolled layers pre-baking, if that's what you prefer.  Greg loved these despite the fact that they contain wheat flour and his opinion is as reliable as the Cali sun--it never fails me.  Nevertheless, he did mention the recipe needs more sugar so I would recommend adding no more than 1/4 cup extra is you're taking that route.  Other than that these fluffy clouds of dough are moist and perfect to welcome Fall.  LA weather...would you please hurry and catch up with the rest of the country?  We're dying here!  Anyway, grab a cup o'joe and kick back with your favorite reads while you're at it...sounds epically awesome, doesn't it? :)

Apple cinnamon rolls drizzled with pastry cream | fit for the soul.com

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with French Pastry Cream {wheat}

Makes 6 large rolls

Ingredients for rolls

1 3/4 cups bread flour

3/4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp rapid rise yeast

1 large egg + 1 egg white

1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup warm water

3 tbsp softened butter

3 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for filling

3 tbsp melted butter

1 1/2 cups finely chopped apple

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

Ingredients for pastry cream

3 egg yolks (use leftover yolk from bread ingredients) + 1 large egg

1/3 cup honey

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

1 cup scalding hot milk

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tbsp butter

Directions

Start with the bread first and use stand mixer if possible, or hand mixer.  Mix bread flour, wheat flour, and yeast in stand mixer bowl.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, water, butter, honey, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix/knead the dough with a dough hook attachment, first on low-medium and gradually raise it up to high.  The dough should become uniform within a few minutes, but if it's still too sticky you may need to throw in a tbsp or two of bread flour.  It should be mushy in texture.  Let it sit for about 45 minutes-1 hour in that bowl, covered with a damp towel and a large plate to "seal" it.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Make room on a clean flat surface to knead and roll the dough.  The dough should now be perfectly uniform and easily stretched when pulled.  Lightly flour surface with bread flour and gently roll out the dough to an oval of about 10 inches in width, and 20 inches in length.  As long as it's about 1.5 inches thick it's good. 

Brush on melted butter on the dough, liberally sprinkle apple chunks, cinnamon, and brown sugar last.  Grab the dough from your end and gently roll it away from you (see these pictures for ref.).  Cut dough into 6 rolls and place them on a round cake pan in the pattern of flower petals.  I used the cast iron skillet and the results were wonderful!  If you do use a cake pan, you may need to bake for a few minutes longer or shorter.  Now place the pan/skillet in the middle oven rack and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.  While that's baking, make the pastry cream.

In a food processor, add the eggs (one of the egg yolks is from the bread recipe so there's no wasting) and whirl away until it's frothy and well incorporated.  Add honey, vanilla, salt, scalding milk, and cornstarch.  Process for a few seconds but note that it will be crumbly and chunky.  Then transfer to a small sauce pan along with the butter.  Stir and cook on low heat until it's not raw.  Transfer back to the processor (clean it first) and whirl until velvety smooth. Drizzle on top of cinnamon rolls by filling a ziploc bag with one tip cut off, sort of like a piping bag.

Apple wheat cinnamon rolls with pastry icing | fit for the soul.com
Apple wheat cinnamon rolls with pastry icing | fit for the soul.com
Apple wheat cinnamon rolls with pastry icing photo setup.jpg

What are some desserts you don't really care for the traditional way?

Favorite kind of dessert cream?

Are you and the people in your life becoming like each other?  In what ways?

A Season of Trust

Selah by elevator.jpg

This past week has proven that it is possible to feel all of ten thousand emotions at once.  Worried, thankful, busy, tired, excited, giddy, sunburned (eh?) and the list goes on.  Selah has been going through a serious growth spurt of character and let me be the first to tell you, it isn't all giggles and smiles.  Her toddler ways are finally showing their true colors behind that sweet & innocent facade (I kid about it being a facade), so this momma is definitely on her toes nowadays!  Any of you moms or aunts going through this right now?

There is another reason why it was such a hectic week, though.  Today I began a new season in my life, or should I say, our lives?  I started work again, you guys!  The catch this time around is that it only consists of one work day a week.  I know this isn't a lofty pursuit as many of you work full time already, but for this stay at home momma working one day a week is a huge deal.  Not only is finding a sitter for Selah a daunting task in itself, but I would definitely need a full time job that makes it all worthwhile. 

We've been needing the extra income but knew that God would still provide for all our needs...We just didn't know how He would do it.  And to be honest, there were times when my heart was filled with tumults of doubt and fear.  The question of who in their right mind would want to hire me for just one day would paralyze me, and just when I thought I'd lost hope while perusing every website to no avail, a thought came to mind: "Why not call (insert friend's name)?  Her family business might have the perfect opening for you."  Without fear of hearing "no" I took that next step--only to find out that I had been hired on the spot. I mean, who does that?!  A caring employer, and most importantly, God.  That's who. 

While my mind was speaking out anxiety and doubt, God's voice was shouting reassurance and faith.  He lead me through the valley where just enough light illumined the way, only to take me up the mountain where I could admire the beauty of His grander plans from afar.  He whispers to me, "see?  I told you I'm trustworthy because you are far more precious than the lilies in the field."  Do you guys believe you are that precious in His sight?  I want this to serve as a reminder that not all is lost when circumstances appear to be barren.  Life rarely presents itself in one big puzzle, but rather, God allows us to put the pieces together bit by bit so as to grow in love and in trust.  I guess one could say--there's beauty in the unknown because that's where we find strength and courage.


In what ways do you find yourself doubting these days?

What are some mountains in your mind that you've overcome recently? 

Korean Recipe: Cheesy Pork Tteokbokki + Homemade Brown Rice Tteok

Cheese Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok | fit for the soul

I have never made a bucket list in my entire life, and I don't think I plan to because I'm one of those people who proudly say, "don't worry, it's all up in here in my brain files".  Even though most people have nothing but good things to say about bucket lists, I refuse to follow that route because the word list stresses me out. With that being said, there is one thing out of the myriad of "up in my brain files" activities I want to do someday.  And that something is plain and simple.  I just want to spend a whole week in Korea eating my way through Seoul--particularly in pojang-machas.  A pojang-macha is basically a little booth stand that sells all kinds of street foods.  Most of them focus on one particular type of food, and the ones I've been daydreaming of are the tteokbokki stands. 

Tteokbokki consists of two words:  tteok- rice cake; bokki- sauted

Cheese Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok | fit for the soul

This devilish little food is a spicy, and I mean spicy!  Dish that consists of cylinder shaped rice cakes, fish cakes, veggies, and boiled eggs, all sauted and doused in peppery sauce that will leave your tongue burning but pleading for more.  It seems to have originated in a different combination of flavors back in the days when royalty ruled the land, but the most popular one is the kind I just described.  Mean, saucy, and comforting.  Growing up I was used to eating my mom's wonderful tteokbokki but much to my dismay--being the Korean mom that she is--she never measured anything and went by taste and feel.  Sometimes whatever she found in the fridge, really.  Well, that obviously made the job a little harder for me because after a few attempts in high school I simply gave up.  The taste, the texture, everything was off.  Fortunately I've come back with a vengeance on this easy but mysterious recipe.

Anchovies and dried mushrooms for Korean broth base | fit for the soul

You see that right there?  Yes!  Those are dried anchovies and mushrooms to start up the broth.  I always make sure to use anchovies to make the most flavorful Korean dishes, because it's a cheap way to make broth that rends a what-is-it-factor while keeping it healthier.  After learning some wisdom from Min's recipe, however, I had no choice but to slap my head in disbelief.  Disbelief that I had been butchering such a perfect dish because I could never get the taste right.  She added anchovies which was exactly what I was missing.

My tteokbokki recipe is what we would know as the fusion type of Korean street food.  I'm not sure how restaurants make this dish, but I decided to saute it in a cast iron skillet and bake it to cheesy perfection for an extra layer of crispness on top.  The mild gooey cheese balances out the bold flavors, which ultimately adds a complexity to this dish.  I took the risk of making my own brown rice tteok (rice cake) and although it turned out great, it wasn't as chewy and solid as the ones we buy at the store.  It's a great recipe, don't get me wrong, but I got a bit impatient while grinding the rice which resulted in a less chewy texture.  You can use this recipe or feel free to buy pre-made tteok at the Korean store. Let me forewarn you though...tteokbokki is not for the faint of heart but can I dare you to give this a try anyway? 

Cheese Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok | fit for the soul
Cheese Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok4.jpg

Cheesy Pork Tteokbokki {Spicy Korean rice cakes}

Makes about 3 servings

Time: 20 minutes without baking and if store bought rice cakes are used

Inspired by MJ and Hungryman

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups water

4 dried anchovies, heads cut off and intestines removed

3 dried shiitake mushrooms (or dried kelp)

3 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally

6 bunches of green onion

1/4 cup Korean red pepper paste (or less)

1 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp sesame oil

2 pork loins, cut in strips similar to rice cake size

14 cylinder rice cakes (or more if small in size), recipe below

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (or other like mozzarella)

Directions

For this recipe, if you don't have a cast iron skillet then you can just use a regular pan.  For the baking you can transfer it to a baking pan.  However, the cast iron makes a big difference in ease of cooking, dishes, and flavor. 

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.  In the cast iron, simmer water on medium heat with anchovies and mushrooms for about 6 minutes.  Take anchovies out and throw away.  Chop green onions about 4 inches long, but save a few for garnishing at the end.  Add carrots, green onion, pepper paste, pepper flakes, honey, and oil. Make sure to stir and let everything dissolve. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes. 

Then add strips of pork and rice cakes and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.  The pork doesn't need to be well done because it will go in the oven.  Sprinkle cheese.  Take skillet and place it on top rack of the oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes.  Garnish with chopped green onions from the ones you saved earlier and enjoy!

How to make brown rice tteok or garaetteok | fit for the soul

Homemade Brown Rice Garaetteok {Long rice cakes}

Makes approximately 18 rice cake cylinders

Adapted from Maangchi

Ingredients

3 cups filtered water

2 cups brown rice

1/2 cup short grain white rice

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Soak both brown and white rice in 3 cups of water overnight--about 10 hours or more.  After it's been soaked, pour it into a food processor along with the salt, and grind it until the rice is practically made into mush.  It will be tempting to stop when it's just ground up, but it needs to be very fine.  

Transfer to a rice cooker/steamer and cook for about 20 minutes, or on white rice setting.  Once it's done and cooled just a bit, pour 1/2 tsp of sesame oil on a flat surface and knead the rice "dough" so as to glue everything uniformly.  Make it into a log shape of about 3 inches in height and cut into strips of 1 inch in width.  Basically a stick.  Roll it in the oiled surface into cylinders and voila!

Cheese Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok | fit for the soul
Cheese and Pork Tteokbokki in cast iron skillet with homemade brown rice tteok | fit for the soul

Wednesday Links + Aquarium Trip and a Yolo Meal

Selah and daddy at Long Beach Aquarium | fit for the soul
Love Letter Cabbage Salad | fit for the soul

Family Mondays are an indispensable tradition here in the Betzen household.  Whether we take an hour walk at the park playing with rocks and leaves, make sand castles at the beach, or indulge in the richest foods ever, we've got it covered.  Thankfully though, rich foods are only a treat for those days when we feel quite "adventurous", as evidenced by our visit to Tender Greens some weeks ago.  Two Mondays ago we did just that.  We took advantage of our yearly pass to the Long Beach Aquarium (thanks, sis!) and had a YOLO meal--for lack of better term--at Love Letter's Chicken & Pizza. Yup.  The very one I told you guys about when I made my own sweet & spicy chicken?

We marveled not just at the beautiful jellyfish which I find absolutely fascinating by the way, but at Selah's amazement of it all.  Her little hands pressing against the tank (wait, is that allowed?) as she marvels at God's wonders is a treat in itself.  I think Greg and I have more fun watching her than anything else, really!  Sometimes it looks like we're laughing at her from an outsider's perspective, but I promise that's not the case.  Any other parents share in our sentiments? :)


And here we are back to Thursday Links, except that it's actually Wednesday today.  My schedule has been a bit different lately so my posts might go up on different days. 

How beautiful is this Secret Cake by Molly?!  I'm absolutely head over heels about the scalloped frosting, and the idea of revealing the baby's gender by the color of the cake is pure genius. 

I always say that moderation is key to maintaining your shape and health in check, but like I said...moderation, hehe.  Hence, I'm really giving into this Hokkaido milk bread recipe and I foresee it becoming a treat in our kitchen soon. 

I say yes to this entire outfit!  It is so neat, simple, and yet unique enough to make a statement.  Aimee did an outstanding job on this one in my opinion. 

Although many of us subscribe to different beliefs, there is no question that Kristy's blog is a treasure chest filled with encouragement--and in my humble opinion--truth that pierces through the soul.  Her Sisters in Christ series is so timely and utterly uplifting.  If you're looking to start fresh, then this post might be just for you.

It's no mystery that I'm a foodie.  It's also no mystery that I virtually drool over lots and lots of different dishes, and this Steak Panini looks mouth wateringly enticing!  It's either the gorgeous photos, the recipe itself, or both.  You decide.

Instagram has quickly taken over the world which is both awesome and scary.  Since it is my favorite social media platform after all, will you connect with me?  No shame in asking. ;)

Have a blessed day, you!  I think it's safe to remind you (and myself) to take it one day at a time, so let's do it, yes?


What are your favorite links this week? 

Which recipes have you been eyeing as of late?