Healthy Eating for Busy Moms

Veggie soup is my go-to dish, especially in summer. How fast do you think you can make a fresh veggie soup? As fast as it takes you to peel and chop the veggies because soup really cooks itself. Let me show you my classic veggie soup in 3 easy steps.

Carrot, Potato, Celery, Red Cabbage

Carrot, potato, celery, red cabbage

Step 1. Peel and cut veggies you have in the fridge. DO NOT use any broth from the store. Why do you want cane sugar, canola oil, molasses, carrot concentrate, added flavors, or dehydrated onions??? Just take your fresh onion, carrot, etc. and forego dehydrated cane syrup or powdered flavors.

Step 2. Put tougher veggies in the pot first. Cover with water no more than 1 inch above the veggies. Salt generously. Leave it to boil for 5-6 minutes.

Add water just barely to cover veggies

Add water just to barely cover the veggies

Tender veggies and herbs

Ripe tomatoes, green onion, parsley

Step 3. Add the tender/fragile veggies and herbs. Leave to boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let it cool a bit before serving.

To experiment with taste try adding one or all of the following: oregano, olive oil, a bit of lemon juice or apple vinegar, more salt :), pepper, sour cream. Try different veggie combinations: broccoli, peas, zucchini, pasta, red beans, and what not. It will always be a new experience and taste for your family.

 

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms

Secret #3: Soups! Soup is the best friend for busy moms because they cook themselves. You can make them for dinner and have leftovers for your lunch at work. There are two kinds of soups that you should consider. First – legume-based (pea, lentil, beans). Second – all veggies. Lentil and pea soups take 30-40 minutes to make. Beans cook minimum 1,5 hours.  Pre-soak grain the night before to cut the time by 50%.

Day 1. Before going to bed put legumes in a pot, cover with water. (takes 2 minutes)

IMG_0184Day 2. Switch the water in a pot, and bring it to boil. As soon as it boils, add: onion, carrot, and salt. Cook until lentils are tender (20 minutes). Add parsley, cumin and coriander.

Day 3. Have leftovers? Try blending the soup. To add variety to the taste of soup – try adding some lemon juice. (5 minutes)

 

Blended Lentil Soup

Blended Lentil Soup

Legume Trivia: Red Lentil is super food, which makes it my favorite soup. It has folate, copper, manganese, iron, protein, B1, B6, zinc, potassium, etc, and it is low in calories. So, you can eat a lot of it without gaining weight. It tastes even better the next day.

Cherry Blossom 2014

It is official: our third spring is in its full bloom. Very few things surprise us here anymore. But the novelty and awe of cherry blossoms never fail. This is the best and most beautiful sight to behold. The only difference is that nowadays we are seeking places with very little crowds, which is a science-fictional state for Korea.

Blue and Pink

How did we end up with two teams: pink and blue, aka boys and girls? The history of this tradition is very short, because it didn’t take off until the 1940s. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers.” However, this newly acquired tradition of buying children either pink or blue merchandise mandates much more than just dress codes in our society.

Experts say that children become aware of their gender between the ages of 3 and 4, with the full awareness hitting them by the age of 6 and 7. A quick look around a toy store in the developed world shows who sets the trends of gender conventions, who reinforces gender expectations, and how little choice parents have if they want to protect their children from being the subjects of sophisticated and pervasive gender messaging. Before our children learn their letters, numbers and shapes, they know that a female is someone with long hair, cute nail polish and a pink dress, while boys are the car experts, first responders, doers, and savers. Why do we parents allow marketing giants tell our children who they are and how they should act?

Take a look at the toy store choices in the slide show below. Follow the blue and pink color-coding scheme to see personal and professional expectations that toy manufacturers are setting for your children.

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Garden of Morning Calm

In Korea hiking is a national pass time, and as a result there are hundreds of picturesque walks, trails, parks, mountains, and botanical gardens. Professional and amateur photographers can capture stunning images of nature during any season. However, winter landscapes may get a little sad, and to combat that, as I have noticed, many botanical gardens make use of decorative lightning. For example, check out the images from the Garden of Morning Calm located in Gyeonggi-do province, where a Festival of Christmas lights is taking place from December to March. As you can see, a tourist can find places of interest during any season to make the trip to Korea worthwhile.

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The Baseball Experience in Korea

Have you ever been to a baseball game? If yes, then you know what it is: heat, food, beer, lots of sitting and eating (mingling, if we wish to be PC). Sorry to offend any baseball fans, but – boy, it is very boring, especially if you do not drink beer.

Korean style baseball is quite different. For example, fans are more strictly seated according to their teams. Fans of the Doosan Bears will almost exclusively be on one side, and the fans of the LG Twins on the opposite side. The game begins and two sets of cheerleaders pop up: one for each team. Music is going almost non-stop throughout the entire game as the scantily clad cheerleaders dance on their platforms. The 30-second video below captures some of the excitement in the stadium, and this energy level remains at this height throughout the entire game. Mind you, this is just an ordinary game of the season, not a playoff game.  Again, this is the energy level for every pitch of the game. Of course, food and beer is walking around too.

But what I loved most is the free daycare center for children at the stadium for the duration of the game. Should a child get bored sitting in one place, there are several daycare centers – aka closed-off playgrounds – inside the stadium, which are divided according to the age of children. A parent can drop off a child and leave an ID and a cellphone number with the daycare worker at one of these playgrounds and enjoy the game while the little one is enjoying running around or jumping on a giant inflatable castle.

There is a giant screen that features many games between the innings including the “Kissing game.” In short, the spectators are generously entertained throughout the game and they return the favor by actively cheering for their teams, slapping inflatable cheer-sticks together, participating in activities, moves, and dances. In short, with such rambunctious fans, baseball in Korea can be more exciting than an NFL playoff game.

Click here to watch the video clip.

February 17th: Trip Update

Hope we will fit in the car...

Hope we will fit in the car…

Over the weekend we purchased almost all necessary items, as you can see from the pictures below. We spent 470,000W at VIC and Emart Traders. We are saving 100,000W for the transportation related costs on the day of travel. The remaining 140,000W will be spent this week, as we are yet to buy: 2 cakes, 70 oranges, and toilet tissues. Most likely we will purchase oranges and tissue online with the delivery at the orphanage address. There is a serious concern that we will not have space in the car to transport all the items. So, delivery of some items may be the right way to go.

Thank you everyone who contributed to purchase the items.

Stay tuned for more updates on the trip.

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Seoul Art Center

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Seoul Art Center is the representing arts complex visited by two million users every year in Korea. It presents more that 1,400 performances and 100 exhibitions in the specialized spaces offering various events of the renowned national and international artists, musicians, and dancers to the audiences. In my opinion, the highlights of this February are: London Symphony Orchestra (Feb 28th), Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti (Feb 6, 7), Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky Series (Feb 20), Musei Vaticani Exhibit, American Impressionism (1870-1940) Exhibit, Van Gogh in Paris Exhibit. If you happen to be in Seoul this month, check the full schedule at www.sac.or.kr

Seoul Art Center can surely keep a tourist busy with 1 opera house, 2 art museums, 1 design museum and a music hall. Do not miss the exhibit “Van Gogh in Paris” which runs till March 24th, 2013.  The exhibit showcases the work of Van Gogh before his move to Paris. His time in Paris was the period of discovering new art and becoming a new artist. We can see his artistic talents and genius in art since he absorbed art of the time, and was able to developed his own style within such a short period of time. The time in Paris is the fruitful academic research that changed Van Gogh from a realist into a modernist. This exhibit is the result of 7-year academic research of experts in Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.