Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well...so much for my overly-eager hope of posting everyday :)

As much as veganism is incredibly important to me, I've realized that I'm not really a "foodie" at all. Yes, I absolutely enjoy food; however, I never really crave any exciting dishes to whip up. I frequently do experience Korean food cravings, which I suppose I am lazy about cooking. Yet, my excuse is that after a loooong day of teaching (and then filled with studying, various classes, etc. of my own), the last thing that ignites any interest is cooking.

What vegan foods have filled me since my last posting on Tuesday?? The same exact ones that filled me the previous week. I know, I know... borrrrring. I can not keep filling my blog with food posts about sweet potatoes, chestnuts, apples/pears, and my spinach/broccoli combo for the rest of the month.

However, Saturday night I was able to include a few things that aren't on my current rotation list.

The amazing day began with my yoga classes (obviously I don't practice at Tom & Tom's... look up)!!


Then I treated myself to getting my hair/make-up done (something I NEVER do.. AND one of the women who works here decided that she is my friend. Therefore, I received absolutely royal treatment at a ridiculously low cost!!).
*oops...no pic*

Finally I was whisked away to the COEX Intercontinental Hotel for a splendid three hours at an all you can drink/eat wine buffet. I will be honest and say that I used to enjoy wine (probably a little too much...hehe); however, now.. I really don't enjoy drinking at all (especially when I had first learned that MANY wines are NOT VEGAN!! I shall dedicate this for a later post...) (1). The company and atmosphere were both particularly lovely, but after only drinking a little over two glasses... I experienced the WORST day long headache.

I had prematurely decided that there wouldn't be any vegan options available, but I was proved very wrong!

There is always water, right? ha. I remember when I had only lived in Seoul for a couple of months... there were MANY meals of just water, rice, and soy sauce. It makes me smile when I think about my early days here (but...I also wince a little at how quickly the time has raced by). I CONSTANTLY get asked the question of, "Is it hard to be vegan in Korea?"...

My answer? Not at all. Surely it is hard if you *have* to eat things like veganized junk food, "food" that has been designed to act like and/or to taste similarly meat. Yet, if you simply take the time to learn about the food and culture, it is incredibly easy to enjoy the AMAZING cuisine offered.

(Note: The pic of my water bottle is EMPTY! I downed this 2L BEFORE even having a sip of wine, and I STILL was plagued by a headache...geesh. Full-out grandma-ness.)

I munched on these for the entire three hours (hmm...maybe I got a headache because all that I consumed were veggies dipped in samjjang (a delicious sauce/paste/dip(?) that is quite savory)...

Finally the evening had whittled itself down to the remaining 30 min, or AKA as fillyourglassesASAPdrinkandrefillpileonthefood time. Our group then ventured to a singing room, and little miss Grandma Patty took off early so that I could catch the subway home (I have not one, but TWO good excuses for being a Grandma: I had to meet my boss and a co-worker EARLY for coffee, AND I had a yoga class). Saturday night success?? Yes.



1. http://www.barnivore.com





Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little overdue

Better late than never, right? :)

At the end of July during my summer break (geesh..almost four months overdue), my superawesomefantabulistic co-worker and I decided to head to Jeju-do (an exquisite island off of South Korea-only an hour's flight from Seoul!). We only stayed a few days, but it was the perfect excursion to recharge our well worn and slightly burned out teaching batteries.

So what does this have to do with Vegan Mofo?

Yeon Wu Nae

I am definitely not an expert foodie (hence my frequent meals of sweet potatoes or fruit...); however, I've been fortunate to experience a wealth of vegan friendly food in Korea. This place was absolutely the best vegetarian proclaimed restaurant that I've been to so far!

Honestly, in trying to rate a restaurant, so many of the reasons that I will enjoy a specific place is based on the experience as a whole. The entire experience of Yeon Wu Nae? Amazing, the end.

After the flight and an extended bus ride, Taylor and I were ridiculously hungry. I had read of this restaurant while trying to do a little planning for our trip, and through randomly bumbling about town, he and I found ourselves somehow magically poofed at it's doorstep.

I attribute it to Korean magic. Everything from the rustically simplistic decor down to the last bites of our meal couldn't have been better.








I even loved all of the cups and bowls!








We each decided to each go with one of our usual favorites, bi bim bap, and then we added an order of Nok Cha (green tea) Sujaebi to share. Taylor also ordered padjeon (kind of like a pancake, and usually brimming with some type of squirmy seafood and veggies), but I let him enjoy that on his own since I had more than enough food that I was about to inhale.




Nok Cha Sujaebi is a soup that is made from green tea noodles. The broth is a smooth, creamy, and comforting blend made from perilla seed powder. I wish I could describe the taste... all I can say about it is that it was excellent.








According to most Koreans, I eat my bi bim bap strangely. In Korean, bi bim means to mix (or at least something similar to that), but I don't always like to mix it all up! I enjoy the individual tastes of the many vegetables that can be included... There have been SO many occasions where K-friends, restaurant owners, or even other customers will try to steal my chopsticks and mix my bi bim bap for me!! :)



(If you are unfamiliar with Korean food, bi bim bap is usually served with a fried egg nestled on top of the veggies and rice. One of the first things I learned how to say in Korean was please take out the egg...)

Taylor and I had coconuts stapled in our brains before we had even left Seoul. Since we were heading to an island...visions of palm trees covered in coconuts danced in our imaginations. We quickly grew determined to find and consume them.

On our second day, we spent an awesome afternoon of hiking, followed by heading south to check out a few waterfalls. Upon our arrival, we were greeted warmly greeted:


After being revived from the fresh coconut juice, Taylor smashed our coconuts in half (1), and like cavemen, we dug out the "meat"(2). I don't even remember the last time that I had coconut, but it was INCREDIBLE.


(1) Have you ever tried to smash a coconut? Prepare yourself for a mini-workout.
(2) I couldn't resist...

Monday, November 15, 2010




My students are awesome.
And sometimes... their parents are awesome, too.
Today when my kindergarten class finished,
Dinosaur's (yes, I really have a student named Dinosaur) mother
brought me a
warm,
roasted,
amazing,
sweet potato.
Clearly,
this week is only going to get
better and better..

I feel so blessed to be living in such abundance...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Bunch of BS

Sooo...I took a little hiatus from blogging daily...

BUT... I've still been writing waaay more than I have EVER done in the past. Therefore, I feel good about my posting frequency :).

This weekend, I felt like I didn't have any down time... except on Friday night when I came home from school and absolutely crashed!! I love when you lay your head on your pillow, and sleep immediately finds you.

On Saturday night and Sunday night, I made my current favorite salad...which I have affectionately named:

A Bunch of BS.

It is a broccoli/spinach salad...so I think the name is fitting :)

(I apologize for the icky pictures-my good camera was void of a charged battery AND my apartment has awesome fluorescent lighting...)

Ingredients:
-As much spinach as you can stuff yourself with
-As much broccoli as your tummy is hungry for
-Balsamic Vinegar, to taste
-Cumin, to taste
-Korean chilli-powder powder, to taste (it is called gochu-garu
-A pinch of minced garlic

This salad is ridiculously easy to make, and it is
great for people who want something super healthy,
super fast!

-Wash the broccoli and spinach
-Chop away into desired bite-size chunks
-Mix in the desired amount of minced garlic
(I do recommend going easy on the garlic as it can
take away from the taste of the balsamic...)
-Sprinkle in the desired amount Korean
chilli-powder and toss
-Sprinkle in the desired amount of cumin
and toss
-Top the salad with the desired amount of
Balsamic Vinegar and toss
-Enjoy a spicy, tangy, bunch of bs!!


Mmm.... just thinking about it makes my mouth water!! Maybe it will be tonight's dinner as well...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little bit of homesickness...

This morning while enjoying a sturdy cup of freshly pressed coffee, I came across a Mofo-er who is blogging about her vegan traveling adventures.

Hungry Vegan Traveler

Her latest post smacked me in the face with a heavy helping of homesickness...

While she is venturing on a road-trip 'round the states, one of her recent posts is about stopping in Nashville. Normally I am not too affected from being homesick; however, when it does hit me, my heart feels as though it has been stung by a bee.

For almost two years I have happily lived on the little peninsula of South Korea. Being in Asia has completely transformed me. This entire blog could even be solely dedicated to my Asian transformation; however, this month it has pledged to be vegan.

Nashville is not my hometown; I was born a mid-westerner from the great state of Ohio. Yet after a year of trying to transition out of the college lifestyle, I was lead south.

I do not intend on making Music City my home ever again, but it will always hold a little real estate in my heart.

(I can't seem to write anything without being long winded...)

ANYWAYS...

I became vegan when I was living in Nashville.

While being away from home, I first experienced cravings for certain foods that I have been unable to have while being here. Now, I rarely (if at all..) miss anything. When I lived stateside, I worked for Whole Foods and had unlimited access to the newest and trendiest "vegan" food available. My diet practically subsisted from Lara Bars, fresh wheatgrass shots, any kind of locally roasted coffee I desired, creative and conveniently available raw food delights, a wide assortment of raw nuts, and other veganized junk food (which now..I can't even believe I consumed so much of. gross).

At first, I wanted Chipotle (well...maybe sometimes I still think about Chipotle..hehe), a peanut-butter cookie Lara Bar, one of Tom's (*sigh* a Whole Foods juice bar juicer and produce chopper aficionado) smoothies, or a PM (local restaurant) veggie burger.

Now? My tummy craves sweet potatoes, acorn squash, spinach mixed simply with red pepper and balsamic vinegar, K-bean-sprout soup (kong na-mul guk), Bi bim bap (veggies mixed with rice), Spicy bean-paste soup (dwenjjung jiggae), super-sticky, multi-grained rice, fresh fruits, and a hot cup of barley tea.

Until today...

Little Miss Happy V Traveler wrote about a few streets and restaurants that kindled warm memories. She included a few newcomers since I've lived there, but I can clearly picture the streets that they sit on...and all of the happy hearts surrounding them.

Amidst the wide collection of restaurants offering anything from gourmet cupcakes to fried oreos to legendary pancakes, there are a handful of places that make the Nash quite vegan friendly.

One place happens to be a small square of Heaven...

I've never been a big fan of ice cream, BUT.. I LOVE POPSICLES!!!!!!!

Fresh fruit crushed and blended into an icy delicacy on a stick? Yes, please (1)






Pineapple was my fav (on a rotation of course...).






"Yes I guarantee, things are sweeter in Tennessee..."


At least, I feel that that lyric holds true when concerning the likes of popsicles.


(1) I know I've been such a photo thief. BUT.. this pics are not from other bloggers. They are from Nashville publications so by swiping them, I think I am just promoting a Nashville business (excuses..excuses...). Although since I have been an excellent little blogger (blogging away every day...I'm so proud of myself), I have been motivated to start carrying my camera with me. More pictures on the way...





Wednesday, November 10, 2010

However, I am well-experienced in accepting defeat in the Battle of the Broken French Press. It was a hard walk home, but I'm pleased to say that my recovery has left me better off.

I know, I know... Vegan Mofo is supposed to be about a month of FOOD, but since my monthly menu is proving to be quite mundane, I'm trying to be a little creative. If you are reading my blog, I'm assuming that you are an advocate for the vegan lifestyle (or..perhaps just enjoy food). The majority of vegans whom I have interacted with are damn good cooks; damn good cooks like gadgets, right?

My recent gadget purchase resulted from an initial bad buy.








The Bonjour Unbreakable
Three-cup French Press






Result: FAIL!

I only purchased this little guy out of convenience. Plugging in an order of deliciously magical Yerba Mate tea from Guayaki (which I will blog about later...), I viewed the option to buy this French Press thinking it would save me time and a little money.

Yes, he did his job well for about two months: happily providing pressed coffee or tea every morning. Until... he decided to quit without providing any sort of a notice.

Mr. Unbreakable broke my coffee-pressin' heart.

The spontaneous break-up had nothing to do with the glass carafe but the actual press. Without any extra stress or nagging, a primary piece from the inside plastic holder chipped off. Writing that it was a "chip" is really just sugar-coating that he became completely useless.

It was a sad morning.

A very sad, uncaffeinated morning(1)...
(On a side note, being the savvy ESL teacher that I am (ha!)...I am curious if the word uncaffeinated is grammatically ok to use in this context. It is my understanding that the word decaffeinated is referring to the actual extracting of caffeine. But.. it doesn't sound right because I can't-correctly speaking- extract caffeine from the morning, just the coffee itself. Therefore the prefix un, meaning the opposite of something, seems to be a better choice. Please... I would LOVE to be corrected. I can't find a well-supported answer.)

The rebound that is turning into Mr. Longterm:










The Bodum Kenya Coffee French Press









Unfortunately, I am a notorious impulse buyer. I was in a coffee shop, locked eyes with this attractive fellow, and somehow ended up taking him home for the night. The following morning, he made me breakfast.

I fell in love.

If you happen to be a French pressing fanatic such as me, I definitely recommend Bodum products. I should have known better (based on stellar reviews from caffeine-junky friends) and initially purchased from the Bodum company. The pot (so far..) hasn't allowed for any grind shenanigans to sneak their way into the drinkable portion of the pressed coffee, and it seems quite sturdy in comparison with the Bonjour.

If this blog entry makes a difference in even one person's potential uncaffeinated (ugh..decaffeinated??) morning, I feel that this blog entry has truly served its purpose.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apple-Cider Vinegar

Through blogging everyday, I have starkly realized that my veganhood is as culinarily interesting as a university engineering student. It isn't that I was unaware of my simple, quick, and convenient eating style, I just never fully scrutinized what I ate-just what it was made up of.

I do love food, but I am more so fascinated with how such small, daily choices can largely impact our world, body, heart, and mind. Therefore every time that I eat, I sincerely make an attempt to really listen to my body and hear what it is truly craving.

For example: I'll be teaching a class and suddenly I'll get blindsided by an overpowering craving for grapefruit.

Yes, grapefruit.

Hmm... my body is probably saying, "You need to protect your lil' vegan ass from these germ-shellacked kiddos. More vitamin C puuuhhhleeezzzz..."

Often I'll view some pretty intoxicating vegan food porn, and while it usually appeals to my eyes or briefly my stomach, I usually don't feel any lasting craving towards it (I think this could also apply to many other cravings in life...).

In light of my boring palate, today's blog is dedicated to a vegan product that I consume constantly:

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR!!




Alone, I think this stuff tastes like how an unwashed hiking sock would smell...sickening. However, mixed with fresh juice, honey, or other fruit-vinegar-ish type liquids (which is how I take it), it has an addicting slightly sweet, sour-apple flavor.

There are many companies that sell ACV, but I use the Braggs' brand. If you can purchase it from a store, it is quite inexpensive. However, I have to get mine shipped here through a special vitamin company.

According to the Braggs (Naturopathic doctors and loooong time health crusaders), ACV contains a wealth of nutritional benefits.

You can check out a little video and extra info here:

http://www.bragg.com/products/bragg-organic-apple-cider-vinegar.html

Before moving to Korea, I worked at Whole Foods. At the cash register, I would frequently see bouncy, glowing, shiny, happy people purchasing ACV by the gallon. Since I'm nosy, I would always ask if the promised health benefits were fulfilled. EVERY customer was always eager to share his or her personal, life changing testimonial with me.

At that time, I was still skeptical of any "magic potion" and tried to focus my diet on strictly raw foods (although, Braggs' vinegar claims to be raw...). It wasn't until almost a year ago when a friend recommended that I tried it for my frustratingly blemish-prone skin. I wish that I could write that it is the best skin clearing agent available, but I've only noticed a little improvement (but.. better than nothing, right??).

I primarily take it for its internal healing properties.

Everyday I must stand before a well-conditioned and finely tuned fleet of highly-powered, small children. These little tanks bombard me with the utmost sophisticated ammunition: boogers.
The naturally occurring Malic Acid in the vinegar gives it anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-child properties. Despite my increasing insomnia, I have (*crossing fingers and knocking on wood*) been able to fend off sickness like a champion.

ACV is also supposed to help increase flexibility and strength in joints and tendons. In high-school, I had a minor knee accident, (perhaps one day I'll write of the heroic and fantastical tale...) and I try in any way that I can to give my left knee a little extra help.

(Also, I have an ardent desire to one day teach yoga and continue rock-climbing.... the joints must stay happy)

I definitely recommend this product. If for some reason you are unhappy with your purchase, you can use it topically on your scalp, skin, or to even clean with!





Monday, November 8, 2010

Ok.. so this post is a product of my laziness.

I was planning to get a fun little pic or two of my school lunch adventures (have I mentioned that I teach English to small children??), and then blog about the surprisingly many vegan options that our chef offers to us. However, instead of posting just one or two pics... I am going to save this idea for a later post (I have the entire month, right?) in order to offer better lunch time viewing options!!

For today, enjoy a few pictures astounding Bukhansan beauty:

I wish I could say that I took this picture. Remember HKG that made an appearance in a previous post (SHHH!! SECRET!)?? He is the photographer.




Patty and Jin-Young. I'm assuming that she is telling me to go faster: Patty=cautious little turtle.

This hike was completed over 추석 (pronounced: Chuseok), which is a three-day holiday similar to Thanksgiving.

I know this post has nothing to do with food (note the previous mention of my mofo-laziness), but I'm proud of myself that I have continued to post EVERY DAY!!

Tomorrow... back to more mofo marvels...

Sunday, November 7, 2010



Soooo...after consuming a hearty helping of Vegan Mofo blogs today, I have come across this fun little survey. I am super nosy and enjoy discovering random facts (especially when they are veganized!) about most people I interact with (whether it be in a real meeting or through learning about a person from his/her blog).

If you are like me.. enjoy my share of vegan idiosyncrasies...

(There is a good chance that most people find surveys tedious. If you happen to be one of those people, you should happily skip to the next Mofo-er on the list, because in an attempt to warn you, I am long-winded..)


What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?

Hmmm... buttered popcorn?? Now, I would be overly excited to eat plain, air-popped, pop corn; however, I don't have an air popper :(

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

Easy peasy: brussel sprouts and tomatoes. Oh my goodness was I missing out when I was a kid!! I haven't had brussel sprouts since I have been in K-town, but tomatoes are (thankfully) abundant.

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?

(Get ready...1-2-3 gasp) I actually don't really like tofu. I can handle a few cubed bites mixed in with a few Korean delicacies, but other than that.. I really only enjoy the cute little drawings that people create involving tofu.

And.. I don't like "vegan" meats: Boca burgers.. chik'n... etc.

And.. let's add any kind of fake cheese to the list (I was never a fan of real cheese)

Wow. Way to be a Negative Nancy :)!!

I've decided that I'm probably the most boring vegan ever.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?

I wish that I could answer this question by writing water.

Unfortunately, the truth is black coffee *sigh*. At one point in my life I ALMOST kicked the habit,... but I absolutely love it. LOOOVE it. I am passed the "I need it to stay awake phase." I admit that I love the buzz, but I actually enjoy it more for the taste, the smell, holding the hot cup in my cold, winter frozen hands (haha.. I'll even drink it hot in the middle of a sweltering summer day!), sipping it while I read, and enjoying the wonderful compliment it provides to conversation.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?

When I attended my university, I made damn good cookies, but at that time, I wasn't vegan. As my vegetarianism blossomed into veganism, I was working constantly and lost my passion for the kitchen... I think it would be fun to get into vegan baking, but I do not have an oven.

At gatherings, I have been known to throw together a pretty mean veggie plate!!!

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

I am awfully picky (translation: annoying), so I'm sure that I have some weird food rules. At the moment, I can't think of any though...

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

Trail mix. The end.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Coffee. While living in Korea, I have spent too much money on finding and drinking good coffee. Also, I'll often splurge on top-shelf produce...

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?

I am definitely a snacker; I like to eat little meals all day long! hehe. I usually just snack on fruit... chestnuts (they are plentiful here) veggies, or just a little rice.

Geesh.. even my snacks are boring.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

AHHH! When I was living in Nashville, one of my favorite places to eat at was a restaurant called the Mellow Mushroom. While I don't miss too many foods from back home, I can instantly start to drool a little when thinking of their vegan pizza!! It was topped with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions, AMAZING pizza sauce, and artichoke hearts. The dough was lightly brushed with olive oil making the puffy crust seem like clouds glazed with a little morning sunshine.

Oh no... cue drool.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?

Most of what I consume are fruits and vegetables; therefore, my favorites in each category are constantly changing. Currently they are as follows:

Favorite veggie: broccoli

Favorite fruit: Asian pears

What is the best salad dressing?

My own!!! It is a mix of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of apple cider vinegar, super-spicy red pepper powder, a wee bit of garlic, and a little cumin.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?

Wow. No exaggerations.. it has been almost two years since I have had bread!!! It isn't that I don't want to eat bread, I just 1) don't have any craving strong enough to purchase good bread, and 2) I don't have the resources to make it myself. I also don't have a toaster... this isn't a good question for me.

BUT..

If I had access to Ezekiel bread and a kick-a toaster, I would be spreading natural peanut butter, topping with sliced bananas, and sprinkling that fine mess with a little cinnamon.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

Mmmm... I love a good bowl of 콩나물국!! Although, any Korean soup that I have had (veganized, of course... I have discovered that most K-soup is made with some type of seafood broth), has been wonderful. Among all of the magical skills that Koreans have, cooking ranks high on the list.


(I'm borrowing this photo from Korean Gourmet...)
(Also... sometime this month I'll put together an entry of my favorite veganized K-food!)

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

I have a confession: Even though I have been vegan for over three years now, I have only ever had vegan cupcakes twice!! I know, I know.. what is wrong with me?!?! When I was living in Nashville, I once dined on a batch of cupcakes baked by my dear friend Lacey. The only way that I can try to describe how good they were that their taste was as astoundingly magical as the goddess Aphrodite was known for her beauty (that makes sense...right?)

Of course the recipe was from:


I'm not certain of their name, but I'm sure it is something like Oreo Heaven or Oreogasms (hehe..that was too easy, I couldn't resist).

And another Nashvillian, my dear friend and gluten-free chef extraordinaire Megan put together simple, vegan, and gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. The frosting was simple... just regular cupcake frosting? I don't know how else to write about it other than it was brightly colored and tasty??

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

While I haven't sampled a great assortment of vegan pastries, I've tried my fair share of cookies!!! I used to work at Whole Foods and we sold cookies from the Alternative Baking company.


and... I can't choose a favorite. I remember ALL of the flavors I tried being GREAT!!

Although, after seeing many of the Mofo cookie pics out there... I'm sure there are a few bakers who could put these cookies to shame!!

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?

*sigh* I'm the most boring vegan ever.

If you haven't read any of my previous entries, I need to tell you that I get stuck in food ruts. MAJOR food ruts..

Right now, I'm consuming sweet potatoes as if every meal were my last (sometimes I get dangerous and I'll throw my rut off by switching to broccoli and/or spinach..)!!

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

:( I'm the only one in my house.

When I was dating my boyfriend long ago, we had very opposite views on peppers. While I passionately love them, they made (possibly still make?) him gag (if anyone cares, that wasn't the deal-break though.. hehe).

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?

Pffftt... 15 min? Honestly, should I have even been allowed to join Mofo??


Ok... it is obvious that cooking isn't necessarily my thing. Yet, I am incredibly passionate about the food that I eat!! Every time that I eat something, I am making a choice to love others, love the earth, and to love myself. I am by NO MEANS perfect. I'm sure that some of the coffee I've consumed in the past comes from places where fair wages haven't been paid... or perhaps some of the fruits/veggies I have eaten have made nomadic travels to reach their final destination.

But..

I am attempting to live a vegan lifestyle and show as much compassion as I possibly can. My hope is that it will inspire others to "fight the good fight"-not necessarily by becoming vegan, but to simply become more aware of the daily choices that they make.

On a side-note... I have been an excellent little blogger!! *pat self on back* I went from MONTHS in between posts to writing EVERYDAY!! Woooo..way to go progress :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

While I love my Grandmother dearly, I unfortunately inherited her central nervous system. Therefore in most social situations, I can be painstakingly awkward (1). My palms and armpits get sweaty, anything and everything lodges itself between my teeth, and my klutziness is magnified.

Today I attended the wedding of my Korean friend. Translation: I was one of two foreigners (the other was the brides's sister's husband), but I actually enjoy it when I'm one of the few wegooks (hehe.. k-talk for foreigner)!! Although, since my Korean language ability is dreadfully poor, this only intensified my anxiety.

THEN.. to top it off, I spent the entire wedding with HKG (handsome Korean guy) ;).

This is my long-winded way of writing that I forgot to take pics of the DELICIOUSLY fab vegan food that I enjoyed!! *sigh*

However, I was thankful that the vegan choices were plentiful. Among tons of tasty veggies, traditional Korean rice cake, and LOTS of pineapple, my favorite thing was actually an iced tea of some sort that I had never tried before (extra points are awarded to the beverage because dashing guy served me, and he seemed excited for me to try it...).

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of it!!! ARGH! I blame it on the nerves. How was I supposed to remember its name while I was focused on balancing the veggie mountain that was reigning over my plate??

I promise a name on Monday when I question my K-co-workers.

SOOOO...since I don't have any awesome wedding food pics, I'll share another picture of (cue thematic music):

chestnuts!!


After the wedding I ventured to Apgujeong, and like usual, upon finishing my yoga class, I treated myself to my current favorite delicacy! I DID take pics of the awesome little stand that I usually purchase them from, but I think the pics look lame (I'll try again tomorrow...).

****

Off of the vegan-food love and onto something amazingly beautiful that I read today:
Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through
The distances.
That's not for human beings.
Move within,
But don't
Move the way
Fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi


To anyone who finds themselves reading my blog, have a beautiful Sunday.





1) Yet... now that I think of it, Gram is never awkward in social situations. In fact, she has mastered ultra-savvy class. Perhaps she just harbors all of her woes and then lets them later explode like a jack-in-the-box.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ahhh...Friday...

It is refreshing to reach the end of the week, but simultaneously, I have begun to find it a little bit creepy in how quickly the weeks have been passing.

Hmm... What is with this speedy-week witchcraft??

I remember something my grandfather said to me when I was a little girl:

"Patty, the days always seem so long, yet the years will quickly escape you..."

My grandfather, in all of his wise grandfatherness, was (and still is) correct. Small children can frequently make for over-stuffed minutes and fattened hours. However, the past year and a half replays in my mind as quickly as a cartoon flip-book tells a story.

(Dramatic pause for a moment of reflection...)

SOOO.. onward with the mofoing...

What was tantalizing and fascinating that entered my vegan tummy today??

I want to say my favorite food item was 1/2 of the soft, almost gooey, highly-sweetastic sweet potato that my co-worker so kindly shared with me, but.. since yesterday's topic included potatoes, I will write about another fall time favorite of mine:

ROASTED CHESTNUTS!!!!!!


(Of course my chestnut picture is disagreeing with me about becoming famous, but I will try to get a new pic tomorrow-hehe.. I will be in an area of Seoul where I know an old woman who sells them!!!)

As with sweet potatoes, my favorite way to enjoy these little guys is paired with an Americano or French Pressed coffee (my coffee snobbery will surely make its appearance soon..). Often on Saturdays or Sundays after my yoga class, I will purchase a little bag of them, choose one of the ridiculously abundant coffee shops in Apgujeong (압구정), crack open my current reading selection, or share them with whomever I'm with.

If you have never been enchanted by a chestnut eating experience, I suggest that you get ahold of some pronto!! They can be enjoyed a variety of ways (from steaming, pounding into flour for baking, they can be made into a similar soy milk-ish drink, or included in many dishes), but my FAVORITE way to enjoy them is (of course) simply roasted by themselves.

While every time I have eaten chestnuts they have been unsweetened, roasting them offers a dulcified, slightly chewy, smoky flavor. The mild sweetness that evolves is a perfect mate for the acidity of coffee...

Tomorrow, I will be attending my friend's wedding, and she repeatedly told me of the mass quantity of vegetables that will grace the buffet!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Easy peasy.



Current favorite food: The Sweet Potato

(For those of you who don't know...)
I live in Seoul, South Korea.

This is an example of a conversation that I have had approximately a billion times (One of my faults: exaggeration). EVERY time that I have to engage in this, for some reason, it never gets easier for me. Of course it is not the other person's fault... when a someone shares info about him or herself with me, I am curious to learn more about the said fact. However, I suppose due to my personal insecurities, I usually feel awkward. :)

But then again, when I trip over my feet while walking on perfectly, unadulterated pavement-I feel awkward.
Or... when I realize that I've been a complete facebook/blog stalker-I feel awkward.

Geesh.. I can never easily or briefly say/write something.

Oooo...that is another situation where I feel awkward: when engaged in conversation (or obviously, when I'm writing a story about xy or z,)it never can be conducted simply. Long winded stories tumble out of my mouth uncontrollably as an avalanche picks up speed.

On to the convo:(note...I am never frustrated by this convo, I just always feel like a big weenie explaining myself)

Random person (whether it be a foreigner or Korean): "Wow. You're vegan? Really? Like.. you don't eat any meat?"

Me: "Yes... I'm really vegan, and yes, I don't eat any meat."

RP: "But.. do you eat fish?"

Me: "Mmmm...nope. No meat (nicely stressing the no and the meat)" *smile* " And actually, I don't eat any animal byproducts." *awkward smile, accompanied by a polite, conversation-lightening laugh to emphasize that I am not trying to be rude*

RP: "What? Like...no milk, either?" (oh no, I just became weirder plus five..)

Me: "No...milk. Orrrr....ice cream/cheese/butter.... and eggs."

RP: "Oh my gosh.. I love eggs. I could never not eat eggs. So...what do you eat? Wow!! Isn't it hard to be vegan and live in Korea??"

Me: *Big smile* No..not really at all.

RP: "But...what do you actually eat?"

At this point in the convo, I am reminded of one of the many reasons why I LOVE living in Seoul. I'm grateful for how gloriously abundant the produce is (minus a few items...). EVERYWHERE that I travel, vendors have fruit/veggie stands, and frequently, regardless of time or temperature!!

There were a few dietary adjustments upon landing in Seoul:

1) Learning that most Kimchi is made with itty-bitty shrimpies and some type of anchovy/fish paste (I was informed of this after being repeatedly assured that it was animal free)

2) Most of the soups are made with fish stock

3) I don't want to generalize, but in my own experiences... most Koreans don't consider fish/chicken "meat"

But other than those few examples, being vegan in Korea is not hard.

Wait...

I take that back. I do struggle in one area..and that is the social aspect of my veganism (hence the convo). It sucks, and I always feel that I'm being a huge inconvenience (which is something that I just need to learn to get over...).

ANYWAYS.. back to food. This is supposed to be a month about vegan food blogging...

The food rut that I'm currently stuck in: sweet potatoes.

*they are delicious: sweet, soft, chewy-melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness
*there are various varieties and ways to cook them: steamed, sauteed, baked, boiled, roasted..
*they are SIMPLE to cook: 1) wash 2) put in steam pot 3) continue being a facebook/blog stalker while briefly waiting
4) finished!
*they are super convenient: sweet potatoes even have their own little protective shell!!
*they are fairly inexpensive, and since it is fall...right now, they are cheap!!

On my daily travels, I love seeing all of the produce vendors that line my neighborhood's streets. Since it is the season for sweet spuds, vendors have tons of little red baskets overflowing with potato joy!!

Today?? I enjoyed a couple of them steamed to ultimate perfection.

Again, simple veg tastebud heaven...

(eating suggestion: pair a sweet potato with coffee...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the ultimate procrastination station...


The title of this blog post is (unfortunately) probably the best way to describe my blog. Actually, I feel that I shouldn't even be able to call this blog address a real blog due to my lack of posts.

HOWEVER...

January-schmanuary, I have deemed November as a personal month of new resolutions and change!! The first month of the new year is cliche anyways, right?? Hordes of people claim "New Year Resolutions," but I shall take a self-changing/improving/motivated stand (translate: sitting at my desk and completing preventative carpal-tunal syndrome exercises) to make the most the dwindling year.

Patty's End of the Year Resolution(s)...ready, set, GO!

I am going to commit to an ENTIRE month of posting EVERY DAY!!!

Starting...now...

November 3, 2010

Hmm...what was my reason? What prompted me??







The official 2010 Vegan Month of Food!!!




(Check out all of the mofo-info here: www.vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2638&catId=2)


Therefore as my 3rd act of New-leaf November (11/01-I completed back-to-back Bikram yoga classes and 11/02, I began an organizing rampage!! woooOOooOooo), I am committing to a writing a new blog post

every

single

day

(even if I possibly missed the official Vegan Mofo sign-up).

Everyday... I will let the world (well, probably just the few who randomly visit my blog..) in on my strange little food concoctions that are fast, easy, and as many Koreans would say, "good for your health..". Others will fill their vegan blogs with elaborate and comforting vegan cookies, cakes, curries-the ultimate assortment of veganized cuisine. BUT.. here on this little beanstalk (hopefully you caught the pun....) (1) will be growing an appreciation of food eaten simply (or.. maybe I'm just trying to justify my cooking laziness...).


Starting with my dinner last night:



I know, borrrring. BUT.. my stomach stays full and happy enjoying my ridiculously simple meal. PLUS..as an added bonus, these sweet, golden-y, lil' beauties are high in fiber, and they are a moderate source of Vitamin C, K, and E.

Dinner tonight?? A few bunches of fresh broccoli, chopped, and sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar/hot pepper powder/cumin mix (I should also mention that while I enjoy keeping my meals simple, I get stuck in ruts. My veggies and salads have been feeling this spice mix for a good 2-3 months!!) Then, I finished my delicious dinner with another asian pear (I've gone a little pear crazy lately..hence the rut).

Have a Happy Veganbloggingtastic Month!!!

Note:
1) It probably is a pretty awful stretch being that I have to mention my own attempt at a pun.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Today... I turn three years old....

Happy Birthday to me :)

Not really. I'm actually a May baby, a Taurus...

However, today I "celebrate" being vegan for the past three years.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"c'mon courage...teach me to be shy..."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

it has almost been one year that i have lived in this amazing, little country, and these little people have changed my heart forever:







on to another 365+ days of laughing, learning, living, loving, and of course, always (hopefully) growing....