Cucumber Kimchi

Kimchi is more a way of preparing a vegetable than one specific food. I’ve shown how to make Kimchi Soup which uses traditional “kimchi” made from Napa cabbage. Kimchi can be made from a variety of vegetables though: cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, etc.

Cucumber kimchi is Dan’s favorite kind of kimchi, and over Thanksgiving (I know, I know a long time ago!) Oma taught me how to make it.

Cucumber Kimchi

  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • Sea salt, approximately 1 teaspoon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons hot pepper powder, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 jalapeno or other spicy pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Roasted sesame seeds, to taste

Slice cucumber into one quarter inch slices.

Place in bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Below is the salt I used. I’ve found if there is a spice or ingredient that is used often in ethnic food, it is significantly cheaper at the ethnic grocery stores.

For Korean food, tofu, rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, fish sauce, etc. are all cheaper at the Korean market. I haven’t made Indian food too much yet, but I’ve noticed the spices and rice are significantly cheaper at the Indian marts. Do your research before buying at the typical American grocery stores!

Mix salt and cucumbers and let rest for 30 minutes.

Add hot pepper powder and crushed red pepper flakes to a small bowl.

Add enough water to make a paste. I just add a little at a time and mix until it looks paste-y.

Let the paste sit for 30 minutes, like the cucumbers.

Meanwhile, slice the green onions.

Slice or mince the jalapenos. We leave the seeds and ribs in for more heat, but you can take them out if you can’t handle the heat. Who am I kidding? I can’t take the heat either. This is Dan’s dish and only Dan’s dish. 🙂

Toss onions and jalapenos into the bowls with the cucumbers.

Add one large spoonful of red pepper paste, garlic, fish sauce, and sesame oil to the bowl and mix well.

Taste once mixed and add salt or more red pepper paste as needed.

Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and serve.


Another Christmas Tree

Dan and I did not put up a traditional Christmas tree, seen here, but I did put up a tree at work for a clothing drive I was organizing for a local pregnancy center.

I attached some ribbon to clothes pins so people could hang gloves, hats, and scarves to the tree.

The full tree in all her glory!

I am so thankful for the generous people I work with. We had a huge turnout of clothing items for the families of Alpha Women’s Center.

Giving is the best part of Christmas. Wouldn’t you agree?

Sea Salt Caramels

For one of the many Christmas “food days” at work this year, I made these delicious caramels. While they are super simple, they are extremely time consuming. I’m not sure if we should have turned the heat higher while making them, but we didn’t for fear of burning them. Maybe we’ll try next year…


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

The recipe above makes about 40 candies, and since I was hoping to take these to multiple gatherings, I think I quadrupled the recipe. Woot woot!

First, I lined the baking dishes with non-stick foil. The recipe called for parchment paper and then to oil it, but I thought this would be easier. It was a GREAT decision.

Bring cream, butter, and sea salt to a boil in a sauce pan.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring sugar…

Corn syrup…

and water…

to a boil while stirring to dissolve.

Now at this point, the directions say to stop stirring and allow the sugar to continue to boil until a golden caramel color. I say it will burn if you stop stirring. I know from experience. I stirred the whole time, and they turned out beautifully.

I think at this point we called the color “golden-enough” and proceeded with the recipe. It really was golden under the bubbles, but it’s hard to see in this picture.

Stir in cream mixture…

Watch out it will bubble up so turn the heat down!

Now you want to continue to let the mixture boil until the temperature hits 248 degrees.

Just stir…

and stir…

check the temperature…

And stir some more…this takes a while!

Still at the thread stage…

Eventually, the temperature will reach 248! Stir like a crazy man/woman until the desired temperature is met.

Pour into the foiled pans and let cool for at least two hours.

I had a brilliant idea to dip some of the pieces in chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate covered caramels?

I do not own a double boiler, so I just dump some chocolate in any ole saucepan and carefully melt them over low heat.

I poured the chocolate over one pan.

Oh man, so yummy looking! I just want to eat them up!

When it came time to cut them, just lift the foil out of the pan…

Peal the foil back…

And cut with a knife or pizza cutter.

I do not have any pictures of the chocolate covered ones for two reasons (1) I forgot to take pictures and (2) chocolate does not stick to caramel. I was so distraught that my lazy chocolate covering was failing that I forgot to document it. Oops. 🙂

Note to self: There is a reason why all of the recipes you read dipped each candy piece individually into the melted chocolate. The chocolate does not naturally want to stick to the caramel. Oh AND hardened chocolate is way more brittle than caramel. Not easy to cut together anyway.

There is no easy way out of this one.

Then End.


O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…

…how lovely are thy branches!

Fake branches, in our case. 🙂

I’m not even sure you could call them branches actually.

They’re more like fake branch chunks.

Know what I’m talking about?


I made a wrapping paper tree this year! Space is limited in our apartment this year, and honestly, there isn’t a good window to put one in anyway.

Really, isn’t every good tree in a window???

I decided to decorate the chest freezer in my living room instead. It takes up zero space and makes a blank canvas a little more interesting. Yes, it looks like a third grader did it, but let’s not judge other people’s abilities. It is Christmas afterall.

First lay the paper on the floor, wrong side up.

Next, I drew a line down the middle hoping it would help me keep my tree symmetrical.

Draw one side…

Then the other…

Realize they don’t match at all…try again…and again…and again…

Until you realize it won’t get any better, then make an extra dark squiggly line so you can tell which one to cut out. 🙂

and cut her out!

I am so talented.

Holding the tree up to the freezer…

Bummer! Too long! I did kind of measure before I started. Kind of.

Off goes the trunk!

I know, I know, the bottom isn’t straight at all. And the “branches” aren’t even…I love it though!

I thought I would challenge myself. Seeing as how this is a super difficult project and all. I decided to make garland and ornaments out of wrapping paper too.

I started making curly-q’s with a different color of wrapping paper hoping inspiration would dawn on me sometime.

Curling wrapping paper is harder than it looks because it’s so thin. You have to be VERY gentle. You can just rip it over the scissors like you would with ribbon.

After was seemed like so much curling…I had 5 ornaments. Ha. Five.

Here’s my lovely tannenbaum…

Christmas Yarn Wreath

A friend of mine, Kate, is very crafty, and her and I have done crafts the last few times we’ve gotten together. The men watch football, and we do crafts. It’s a good trade-off I think. I love doing crafts with Kate because she is very creative and has already figured out how to do things, so I don’t have as much of a learning curve as she does. 🙂

Kate made a bunch of these yarn wreaths as centerpieces and door prizes for a local MOPS event. (For those of you who don’t know, MOPS = Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) She (and another friend, Erika) helped me make this lovely for my front door.

The pictures aren’t super great because it was dark out, but I was so excited, I had to blog about it right away.

Close-up of the felt flowers…

I’m in love.

And it only took me four hours with the help of two friends! Ha! Slow. poke.

What have you done crafty this Christmas? Is your tree up? Is your home decorated? My answers would be 1) I made a yarn wreath 2) No and 3) No.

I’m hoping to remedy our Christmas spirit this week! I’ll share as I get stuff done. In the meantime, I’ve cooked up some lovely Korean dishes that I’ll be sharing this week. Yummy stuff!

My Side of the Story – Part 12

Functional MRI and Thanksgiving

Whatever floor and hallway the MRI machines are on, they have butterflies painted on the ceiling tiles. Every third or fourth tile is painted. I wonder if they put them there to entertain the many people lying flat on their backs heading to or from or waiting for an MRI or CT scan.

When I was in my drugged state a week or so ago, I wouldn’t know much about what was going on, but when I saw the butterflies, I thought, I must be getting a CT scan now.

I’m a little freaked out to get another functional MRI. I’m just worried about the dye they put in at the end. I’m eating now, and there’s definitely something to throw up in my stomach!

The MRI goes off well. I did get sick at the end, but I made it long enough to get the pictures needed. Whew!

This puts us somewhere around Thanksgiving. My poor parents never though they’d have to eat Thanksgiving dinner in a hospital room again. When my brother was diagnosed with Juvenile diabetes, he was in the hospital for 9 days over Thanksgiving. It was surprisingly similar to that time. My family ordered trays from the cafeteria, and we all sat in our little room eating Thanksgiving dinner.

We had a lot to be thankful for:

  • God had watched over me wonderfully over the past weeks.
  • He had provided lodging for my parents.
  • He kept everyone safe as family and friends traveled from near and far to visit me and brighten my day. He is just a good God.

The other great thing about Thanksgiving was the Andrew and Kate. They came to see us and brought pumpkin pie still warm from the oven. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE pumpkin pie. It was delightful! It was good to see them too, not just the pie!

Speaking of Kate, she is a nurse and works at Spectrum. She spent many of her breaks eating dinner in my room. I wasn’t conscious for all of her visits but it was wonderful to see her. I felt a little safer knowing she was checking up on me.

We have a date for surgery! It will be December 3 with the embolization procedure on the 2nd. Everything is looking good so it’s back to a regular room to await surgery. I’m too high of a risk to send home, so we have to wait it out at the hospital.


Next: My Side of the Story – Part 13

1700 Square Feet to 800 Square Feet – The Closet Edition

I’m going to have a few posts on how we fit into our quite-large-for-a-one-bedroom apartment but still a one bedroom apartment not a three bedroom house.

When it comes to tight spaces, I am a-ok with squeezing in. I think it comes from my large family. I’m quite use to no privacy and sharing bathrooms. Growing up, we had six people (seven when my grandma moved in) living in a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom house. That’s tight.

A one bedroom apartment with one other human and a dog. That’s no where near tight.

However, the downsizing is still a struggle. We made several LARGE donation trips to Goodwill and still filled a 24 foot moving truck.


Did you get that? Dan, me, and George FILLED the truck behind us in the photo below.

AND we had a friend helping us pack who used to work for a moving company. That truck was very well packed. In fact, if he hadn’t helped, we would have had to make two trips.

Where did we get all of that stuff?? We have no kids, no toys, no extra bedroom furniture, and no extra dressers or clothes. We did have two living spaces so two couches, but holy cow, SO much stuff!

This could get me off on all kinds of other tangents about American society and all the junk we have, but I’ll save that for another day. Let’s just say I consider myself fairly minimalistic (not completely, but I try to only keep the things I use), and I was still completely blown away by how much stuff we had.

I’m a tad ashamed.

Moving on.

Today, I’m going to show you the walk in closet in our bedroom. It was the first area I tackled to organize because we couldn’t get dressed in the morning. 🙂 I also only had one pair of shoes available. If you know me at all, you know that just doesn’t work. I love my shoes, and I wear a different pair almost every day of the week.

What? I like variety.

The floor plan to give you an idea of where we are talking about in this mansion of ours.

Before we moved in:

After everything was shoved in the apartment:

Sorry, it’s a little blurry. There was a lot going on that day. The above picture actually looks good because I moved two boxes so I could just take the picture (shown at the bottom of the photo).

Here’s the after:

Ok, ok, I know it has a TON of stuff in it, but isn’t it a huge improvement?

Please tell me yes!

Here’s the organization:

The left side of the closet…

The back wall of the closet…

The right side…

The underside of the closet…

Aren’t you so glad I showed you all that detail?? Ha, I know things no one wants to know, but I’m pretty proud of getting everything in there, so there.

A couple things of note in our closet:

  1. I have a lot of shoes. I do. It’s true. I love them all, and I wear them all.
  2. I DO wear them all because I donated all the ones I didn’t before we moved. I’m sorry to say I donated upwards of 15 pairs of shoes.
  3. We have a lot of blankets and an air mattress just in case someone wants to come stay in our cozy apartment. Somethings in life just don’t make sense.

And that is our closet.

The End