Halloween Inspired Popcorn Balls

Being in Korea sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy American holidays such as Halloween. While founded under the guise of ancient pagan rituals or in celebration of family members who’ve passed on, Halloween has become almost as American as that apple pie everyone seems to love. It’s a fun time of year, whether you’re dressing up, decorating, going trick or treating, hitting up the occasional party, or even indulging in a horror film marathon, there is something fun and exciting for everyone.

This year, aside from an extensive World of Warcraft world event, Jason and I really had nothing going on.

Last month, on our monthly trek to Costco, I found the most amazing item…Marshmallows! Imagine our surprise when it was waiting for me to grab it in the same aisle as the Korean equivalent of a huge jar of peanut butter. Needless to say, a giant bag of large marshmallows was a super score.

Initially we’d considered smoores, they have these cookies here that are like graham crackers coated with chocolate, which Jason instantly thought of upon seeing the marshmallows. I had other plans.

The recipe here looked really easy, and since most popcorn ball recipes call for corn syrup, it was a real find. So, today, we made them. Jason made the popcorn (he’s better at it than I), and then I made the marshmallow “sauce”.

They turned out really good. I do recommend having a glass of water on hand, however.

Note: we also made carne adovada today, so you see some of that in these pictures… probably not the best idea to mix the flavors…unless you want to.

Advertisements

Pumpkin

Wow, I just wrote a blog not 5 minutes ago, and I am now writing another.

About two weekends ago, I found a recipe for pumpkin cookies. I have been in the pumpkin mood since the beginning of the month. Living in Korea makes it a bit difficult to find that particular veggie, however. They aren’t really big on Halloween and Thanksgiving is, after all, a US holiday. While Christmas is gaining momentum, the Western idea of a Christmas dinner isn’t so popular. In a nutshell… no pumpkin puree, no pumpkin pie.

They do have harbor squash here though. It is essentially an equal substitute for the kind of pumpkin used in pies and other tasty desserts. So, that was a fun process… steam the squash (two of them) in our very small vegetable steaming cage, puree them in a food processor, then add them to the other ingredients. Whala, taste’s like pumpkin.

The recipe I used is here, and any site you can find with instruction for puree is good. It’s pretty simple if you use a microwave or vegetable steamer. It takes a lot longer if you bake the squash.

Sorry, no pictures, they were eaten too fast! Boyfriend and co-workers really loved them though.

Entertaining

I realize that it’s been an exceptionally long time since my last blog. I pretty much found myself overwhelmed at work and pretty much going through the motions: Wake up at 6, hop in the shower, maybe grab some breakfast, get dressed in less than ideal clothing since I’ve not been back to the States in over a year and, well, you try being in double-digit sizes in a country of an average size of 4. It’s really hard, if not impossible to find clothes here. And, when you do, you have to buy chintzy quality at best (read: it will fall apart in about two weeks). To continue on with my mundane routine, I walk to the bus stop(this is a fairly recent development since I can get off the bus really close to our apartment) and wait for the 340 bus, usually packed full (ridiculously full, uncomprehendingly full) of commuters and students. Just this morning I let two busses pass me because they were too full to even make an attempt. One stop after mine is a middle school where roughly 70% of the passengers will get off (yes, all little kids going to school since they don’t have school busses here either) and can then enjoy the rest of the ride. 20 minutes later, I am at my stop and walk the 7 minutes up a mild hill to my office. Then I sit (another reason I am in double-digit sizes) for about 8 hours of my 9 hour work day.  Then I walk to the bus, ride it home, and have dinner. You get the idea.

This is not to say that every day, or even every hour, is this sad, but it can get rather daunting. After all that monotony, it’s hard to really find the mental or physical strength to leave the house to explore the city (via bus or subway) on the weekend. After a full week of dealing with obscene deadlines (yes, obscene and offensive at times), interoffice communication issues, and still finding the time to nurture a relationship, find time for myself (reading, learning Spanish, knitting)…

At the end of the week, I just want a foot massage from Jason, some alone time with him and to just not think. It’s really hard to read a book when you have to read pages and pages of manuscripts everyday. It’s SUPER hard to learn Spanish in Korea. It’s doubly hard to maintain close friendships from so far away. And, to still consider a diet and exercise… I just sigh. I know that other people can do this, that I need to find my stride, take it like a man, whatever. I’m just tired… I need… more coffee. Thank goodness for the umpteen billion shops here.

I better end this rant before it turns into a long diatribe about coffee. By the way… decaf is gross.