Spending Time with the Grandparents

Life can be so busy these days that it’s hard to spend time with the grandparents. It most often can’t be helped when our weekdays become routine because it’s easier to have a schedule and because I want to have my own “me time” at night after a full day. Usually, our schedule consists of waking up, getting ourselves ready, getting the kids ready, eating a quick breakfast, taking the kids to daycare/school, going to work, picking up the kids, getting dinner ready, eating dinner, playing with the kiddos, putting them to bed, washing dishes/cleaning up mess, then if I’m lucky, I’ll have enough energy to work out, blog, or do some other “me time” activity (NCIS marathon anyone?).  The weekends consists of catching up on errands (laundry anyone??), taking our 4 year old to Korean School and ballet, and trying to keep our 1 year old’s naptime schedule so that he’s not a hysterical booger at night.

Growing up, my grandparents lived with us.  Since my mom was a single mom to three rowdy kids, my grandparents were kind enough to live with us and care for us so my mom can work extra shifts to make ends meet. Because of that, we grew pretty close to our grandparents and I want my kids to have that same feeling of closeness with their grandparents (my mom and in laws as well). So on weekends, my husband, Andrew, and I try to make time to go to Lola’s house (the in laws will soon move near us so hopefully more time with them too!). Ella (our 4 year old going on 30) and Isaac (our ever curious 1 year old) love spending time with Lola , Halmeoni, and Harabeoji and vice versa. The kids love it because there are endless amounts for treats – we are lucky that our kids love to eat. The grandparents love it because the kids’ energy and joy are just so contagious.

It’s also very important for us for the kids to learn about their different cultures. I’m Filipino and I want them to learn to “mano” (a way to show respect to Filipino elders) and to learn some tagalog (a dialect we speak in the Philippines). Andrew is Korean and so we want the kids to learn to “insa” (a way to show respect to Korean elders) and to learn some korean because the in laws have trouble speaking English. Additionally, since Andrew and I are both foodies, it’s also important for us that the kids have a palate for Filipino and Korean food (all types of foods really), and what better way to develop it than eating home-cooked meals by the best chefs in town!

Lastly, since family is so important to both of us, we want to make sure to instill in our kids how vital it is to spend time with their grandparents. I mean, I know I’ve still got a lot of learning to do when it comes to parenting and who better to teach me than from the woman who sacrificed everything so that we could have a better life? If we’re lucky, maybe one day when we’re old and gray (ok let’s be honest, we are starting to gray now…), our kids will take their kids to come see us often.

So no matter how busy life can be, we make it a point to find time, even if it’s just an hour or two, to see Lola, Ingkong (my grandpa, the kids’ great-grandpa), Halmeoni and Harabeoji.

Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

img_2202

Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

img_2221

Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

img_2209

Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

img_2218

There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

 

 

Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

img_2202

Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

img_2221

Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

img_2209

Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

img_2218

There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!