In.Joy the Little Things..


I am counting down the days until we depart Korea to settle back into the states.  I believe we're down to 60-something days now.  And while I'm anxious to get back to American soil and see our parents, I think I will be a little bit sad when the time comes to actually leave.  It seems that all I can think of is things I 'need' to get or 'need' to do before we leave (and quite honestly it's stressing me out).  And while 2 years seems like quite a while to be living in South Korea.. it's not nearly enough time to do and see everything this country has to offer (especially when you have a baby).  But a sweet friend reminded me that I just need to remember all the things I have done while here.. all the things I was able to enjoy.  I really needed someone to tell me that.. and I'm glad she did!

I'm so blessed to have been able to enjoy and experience many things here in Korea.  There's a lot I will miss.. even the little things.. like Lotteria.  I'm really not big on fast food.  At all.  Well.. except the occasional Mocha Joe from Burger King.  ;)  But Korea has a wonderful fast food restaurant called Lotteria.  The one thing I  most enjoy are their sweet potato cheese balls.  I will miss them so much.  They are really the only reason I even go there.  It's a long work week for Coleman this week.. so Clara and I may just have to take a little trip so I can enjoy these little balls of joy again.  My husband thinks they're gross.. but I just have some strange obsession with them.



Avocado Pita 'Pizza' {recipe}


I love avocado.  I'm pretty sure my love for it developed while I was pregnant.  I could have eaten these little things EVERY day.  These would make a great lunch, or a light dinner.  I love to make them when I really don't feel like cooking (not to mention.. they are GOOD for you).

I hope you try this one - it's worth the small amount of time it takes to prepare.  :)

Avocado Pita 'Pizza'

  •  2 whole pita breads
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium (ripe) avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce (or more to your liking)
  • 1/2 lb. cooked chicken, shredded or cut in strips (I used my rotisserie chicken that I freeze)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups or so Monterey Jack or Colby Jack cheese
  • pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Brush one side of each pita with olive oil.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash the avocado with lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and hot sauce.  Spread over pitas.  Layer with the chicken, tomato and cheese.  Bake 5-6 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Add pepper to taste.  Makes 2 servings.

Rotisserie-Style Crock Pot Chicken {recipe}


I don't know about you, but I like anything that makes my life easier.  I started making this rostisserie-style chicken about a month or so ago.  After we do our big grocery shopping trip (we go twice a month), I use this recipe to cook a 5 lb (or so) bird.  Then I'll shred it up and refrigerate it, or freeze what I won't use up in a few days, and use it in my recipes throughout 2 weeks... like chicken enchiladas, chicken alfredo, chicken pot pie, chicken noodle casserole, chicken salad sandwiches for lunch, etc.  It works so well for our little family, and is so much cheaper than buying 4 or 5 (1 lb) packages of chicken.. and saves time during dinner since it's already cooked.  :)

It's also good if you just want to eat it by itself with some sides for dinner.. after sitting in the crock pot all day, the chicken is so flavorful and delicious.. and tender (literally falling apart.. love it)!

(is it just me, or is this picture creepy?  it kind of creeps me out.. maybe I'm just weird?)

Rostisserie-Style Crock Pot Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 whole garlic cloves (optional)

Skin the chicken (if you want, you don't have to) and get rid of all the nasty insides, etc.  I usually buy the chicken that already has the insides cleaned out so I don't have to deal with that mess.

In a bowl, combine all of the dried spices.  Rub it all over the bird.  Massage it in good!  Inside and out.  Put the bird in the crock pot, breast side down.  Put the onion and garlic inside the bird.

Do not add any liquid to this.

Cover and cook on high about 5 hours or on low 8 hours.. or until meat is fully cooked and has reached your desired tenderness.

When it's done, shred it up and eat it!  Or refrigerate/freeze it for future use (like I do:).

Our Weekend


Three day weekend.  Short recap.

Grocery shopping.  A big ol' trip (our cupboards were bare!).  Exciting, though, because I'm going to be trying out lots of new recipes!

Clara has a new 'habit' -- chewing on her bottom lip.

Had some friends over for some Pizza Hut pizza (Korean-style... sweet potato crust.. yes, please!).

Church.  I dressed Clara in the cutest little outfit (with the most adorable tights) - and I mean little - it was a 3 month outfit!  And yes, she is 7 months old.

Got my nails done with a friend.  They're bright pink.  They make me happy.  :)

 Drank coffee.

Made 'green' smoothies for the first time.  Very yummy.  Clara enjoyed it too.  ;)

Relaxed and played with my little princess.  She is crackin' me up these days!

Caramel Flavored Syrup {recipe}


One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year has to be my espresso machine.  I love my coffee, but I prefer all the hyped up coffee drinks.  You know.. white chocolate mocha, caramel latte, vanilla latte, mocha, etc, etc.  I might as well have taken up stock in Starbucks.  So I most definitely have gotten my moneys worth out of my espresso machine already.  It makes me happy.  Every morning.  :)

Now, keeping with the whole 'trying to do things the homemade way' thing (as talked about in my previous post), I saw this recipe and thought it would be a great thing to try.  I'll use it often, and making it much cheaper than buying it.  Oh, and it tastes good!  I was seriously impressed with myself when I made my caramel latte this morning.  Now, how much you put in your coffee is completely up to you.  It's pretty sweet, so I only need a little bit.  And perhaps a tiny drizzle on top.  :)

Even the cute little bottle I put it in makes me happy...

I decided to try caramel first, because it's my favorite.  But I plan on trying to tackle other flavors as well!

Caramel Flavored Syrup
recipe from Annies Eats

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce (from previous post)

Combine sugar, water and caramel sauce in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Store in the refrigerator.  It may separate a little after standing for some time.  Just give it a little shake and it'll be good to go!

Creamy Caramel Sauce {recipe}


Life has been pretty slow since the holidays have come and gone (and I'm totally OK with that).  Clara and I have been spending a lot of time at home, just hangin' out.  And I've had more time to work on some different crochet projects and try out some new recipes.

One of my goals for this year is to do things the more 'homemade' way.  Make my own sauces/syrups, breads and doughs, spices, baby food, etc.  Not only is it a lot healthier than buying pre-made (with all those preservatives), it's also very gratifying.  Like this caramel sauce for example.. the first time I made it.. I burned it.  Burnt caramel doesn't taste all that good, if you didn't know.  But this time, it is DELICIOUS.  And it felt so good to have accomplished it.  :)

When you go to make this, make sure you have the time.. and no screaming babies around to interrupt you.  That's how I burned mine the first time.  ;)  So I tried it again when Clara went down for a nap.  You have to keep a close eye on it, and constantly stir it.  But the results are fabulous.  I really just wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but I practiced some self-control and didn't.  :)  You can do many things with this sauce.. dip apples in it, drizzle it over some cake (cheesecake!), or over some ice cream (vanilla bean is my favorite), stir it into a frosting for some yummy caramel buttercream, or stir some in your coffee (post on that coming soon)...

Creamy Caramel Sauce
recipe from Cook Like a Champion

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    In a large, deep saucepan, spread the sugar in an even layer and place over low to medium low heat.  Watch it carefully. Once it starts to liquefy around the edges, gently stir it towards the center.  Continue gently stirring until all of the sugar is melted, but take care not to over stir.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove it from the heat (it burns fast).

    Carefully whisk in half the cream, which will bubble and steam quite violently.  Stir until the cream is thoroughly combined, then whisk in remaining cream. Stir in the salt and vanilla. If any sugar has hardened (more than likely, there will be a big, hard chunk in it), place the saucepan over low heat and whisk constantly until smooth (might take a while, be patient).

    The sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.   It can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan set over low heat.  Add additional cream if the sauce is too thick.

    Makes 1 1/2 cups.

    Baked Oatmeal with Fruit {recipe}


    Although I don't eat it every day (but I should), breakfast is my most favorite meal.  We eat a lot of pancakes and waffles (and I mean a lot)... so I thought it was time to throw something a little different into the mix.  I love this oatmeal!  And the great thing about it is that you can put whatever fruit and nuts (or no nuts) you want in it.  I put blueberries and bananas in mine the first time I made it, although next time I think I'll leave out the bananas.  Raspberries would be delicious in this as well!  Or peaches.. strawberries.. blackberries.. whatever you like.  :)  I love fruit, oatmeal, breakfast.. so.. this one really made me happy!  Plus it's fairly healthy.. right?

    We dug in before I could snap a photo ;)

    Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
    recipe from Annie's Eats

    • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (whichever you prefer), divided
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided

    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

    2.  Grease a 1 1/2 or 2-quart baking dish.

    3.  In a medium bowl, toss together the oats, half of the nuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir with a fork to combine.

    4.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine maple syrup, egg, butter, milk, and vanilla.

    5.  Sprinkle half of the berries in the baking dish.  Then sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle remaining nuts and berries over the top.

    6.  Bake 35-40 minutes, until top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Apple Pie Cookies {recipe}


    So I made these amazing 'cookies' for Christmas.  Apple Pie Cookies.  They look like little cookies, but I guess they're more like mini pies.  Whatever they are, they sure are delicious -- just ask my husband, he knows!

    I made my own pie crust for these, which I prefer.. and it really doesn't take much more time.  But you can certainly use the refrigerated pie crusts if you'd rather.  That works too.

    I made another batch of these tonight so my husband could take them to work tomorrow and share with everyone.  Aren't they cute??

    Apple Pie Cookies
    recipe from Annie's Eats

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
    • 1/2 cup very cold water
    • 2-3 medium apples, whatever you like to bake with
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • dash of grated nutmeg
    • water
    • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp. of water
    • sugar for sprinkling

    For pie dough, combine flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir to blend.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it's course and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas.  Stir in the water and mix just until the dough has come together in a cohesive ball and all of the dry ingredients are moistened.  Form dough into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Put in refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

    After you dough has chilled, preheat the over to 350 F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Peel the apples and cut them up into small, thin pieces.  Toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice.  In another small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir to blend.

    To assemble the cookies, transfer the chilled pie dough to a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.  Use a round biscuit/cookie cutter (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter) to cut out rounds of the pie dough.  Transfer half of the rounds to the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the rounds lightly with water (to help the pies seal).  Take a few apple pieces at a time and coat with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place each on top of the round of pie dough and layer a second round of dough on top of each apple slice and gently press the edges to help seal.

    Crimp and seal the edges of the mini pies with a fork.  Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash.  Use a small paring knife to cut tiny slits in the top of each cookie.  Sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.

    Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until light golden brown.

    Saying Goodbye to a Beautiful Year


    I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Years.

    We ordered in some dinner and bummed it on the couch.  It was fabulous.

    2011 was a wonderful year... one of the best.  We have been so blessed in so many ways.

    We explored Korea.  A lot.  My Aunt and Uncle were able to come visit us for a few days.  My husband sewed on a stripe.  We finished our baby girls nursery.  We did lots of reading (about babies, that is..)..

    And I mean lots.  And while it was good for us, I still don't think there's anything that can truly 'prepare' you for such a life-changing experience (a wonderful life-changing experience).

    We celebrated 2 fabulous years of marriage.  I love you, babes!

    We took one last 'mini-getaway' to Seoul right before our baby girl arrived.

    I was HUGE (and I loved it.. besides all the swelling, back aches, hip aches, etc).  I seriously miss that belly some days.  ;)

    But the most exciting thing of the year.. our precious Clara was born (about 2 weeks early, thank you Jesus... this Mama was hurtin').  She was born healthy, beautiful, perfect.. and we couldn't have had a better experience with the hospital staff.

    And then we took her home.  All 5 pounds of her.  And I cried the whole way home (an hour).. because seriously.. look how tiny and fragile she was...

    We spent a lot of our summer going for long walks (she loved her stroller), and snuggling up with our sweet one.  Seriously.  Nothing too 'exciting' happened after she was born... just lots of kisses and cuddles.  And we wouldn't have had it any other way.  Oh yeah, we did get orders.. to Arkansas.  Not our first choice, but if that's where God wants us then that's where we'll be.  We're pretty stoked about it now.

    In September, Clara and I flew back to the states to visit my family so they could see her for the first time.  It was really hard being away from my husband, especially with Clara.  I may or may not have cried the first few hours of the (14 hour) flight.  But it was worth it.  We really wanted everyone to see her.

    Then the rest of the year.. we just kind of hung out.. (my husband spent most of it counting down the days.. ya, he's really excited to get back to the USA).  ;)

    I have a few 'resolutions'.. 2012 is going to be an exciting year.  :)

    And one more... just 'cause she cute!