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.


Healthy Eating for Busy Moms

Secret #2 – precook what you can, especially grains and even pasta. In my student years I got to work in expensive restaurants. Do you think you are getting all “just-made” meals there??? On a Saturday night during the dinner rush??? Busy moms are allowed to run their kitchens like expensive restaurants.

saladDay 1. Cook orzo pasta (or any small pasta) al dente. My husband cannot eat raw bell peppers, so I add chopped one into the boiling water for 2 minutes to make it tenderer. Drain, run cold water through it, and add olive oil. Put in the fridge. You can store pasta without sauce about to 48 hours. (Process takes 10 minutes)

Day 2. Chop your favorite veggies for salad. Add pasta from the fridge. Do not forget to sprinkle with seeds and nuts! Being vegetarian (vegan) means that you look for iron, magnesium, and protein in plants. So, seeds are your new best friends: they have true vitamins, minerals, oils, and taste. (10 minutes)

Healthy Eating for Working Moms

I have just translated my blood work results, and my plant-based diet really shines. For example, the “bad” cholesterol went down from 220 to 89 and so on. I shared with my dear friends some revelations of how amazing one can feel after adjusting just a few of eating habits, but everyone says in unison, “I am too busy for that.” So, I want to share some of my personal tips for those who honestly would love to try eating healthy, but too busy to cook from scratch.

IMG_0183Secret #1: During the transition stage – plan your meals ahead. Before your new way of cooking becomes automatic, try to “schedule” 3-4 days of meals ahead, and those dishes that take long time to cook – try to precook. For example, this is how I make hummus from scratch.

Day 1. Pour water onto Gorbanzo Beans before the day is over. Leave it to soak till tomorrow. (2 minutes)

Day 2. Put the pot with the beans onto the stove. Forget about it while it’s boiling for 30-40 minutes. Put in the fridge till tomorrow. DO NOT pour the water out. Keep it!

Day 3. Take the beans out and blend all hummus ingredients. Decorate and clean up. (10-15 minutes).

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.

Dynamic Busan

DSC_0142The official logo of Busan on all traveling websites reads “Dynamic Busan.” Having spent even a short amount of time there, it is easy to see the unique features of the city, which earn its title of “dynamic.” What is so dynamic about Busan? Unlike New York, Busan sleeps, and there is no Times Square or Madison Square Garden. No. The city’s rapid growth and ever changing view warrants such a nickname. Much like technology that keeps reinventing its looks, buildings in Busan also undergo a perpetual image update. Today 30-year old apartments look as bulky and uncomfortable as a 30-year old desktop in an office. Buildings from the 1990s clash so much with the newly constructed glass high-rises that the former become something of an eyesore. Panoramic views of Busan’s harbor look like mismatched patches of a quilt with every color, fabric and purpose imaginable on the backdrop of rising mountains. Trying to build newer and more modern looking apartment towers, they run out of space, which gives the city a cramped, uncomfortable and futuristic feeling of an overpopulated metropolis.

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In addition, it is the second largest city in Korea, so it boasts a busy transportation system with buses and subway lines. Busan is a major port in the country with cargo trucks swishing on and off the loading docks that stretch for miles along the coast and cargo ships sailing off to all continents in the world.

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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Foliage 2013 at Seoraksan National Park

I never liked Fall: brown leaves, rain, and chilling wind – everything seems to be decaying and dying. Yet, Fall in Korea is a joyful breath of fresh air that lasts well into November. The best place to enjoy the foliage is somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of the city… However, you pay a price for the opportunity to see the dramatic beauty of Fall by having to share it with thousands of other pilgrims who also came to pay homage to Nature. And that is a very heavy price… These pictures were carefully cropped to cut out the multitudes of hikers so that nothing would distract you from the real un-doctored colors of the season.

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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