My Kidlet

Our wee boy is half a year old today. I cannot believe it. He is such a good boy, too. Very curious and happy.

Baby stats:

Weight: 17.4lbs (48th percentile)

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Height: 28.0in (93rd percentile)

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As you can see, he’s a slim and tall baby. He easily rolls back-to-tummy and more recently, tummy-to-back. He WANTS to sit unassisted, and he can for brief, very brief, periods of time (like 5 seconds or so).He loves his kitties and puppies. The cats will, on occasion, allow Tucker to “pet” them. And the dogs like to check out Tucker while he’s on the floor with his mat or playing in his newly (see below) acquired ExerSaucer.

Tucker

He’s also now 6-moths and just today received his last round of shots for a while. His next Well Check isn’t for three more months and NO SHOTS at that one! WoOt.

And now that he’s 6 months old, Tucker will be getting the addition of solids to his daily regimen of liquids. I had wanted to start him out with avocados, but we never made it to the grocery store today. However, we do have a TON of sweet potatoes (both red and white) that we’ll start with instead. I’m baking them up now and will then mash them, perhaps adding a little breast milk to really smooth them out.

I bought two ice cube trays so I can then freeze the food into manageable serving sizes. I’ll post about the process in an upcoming blog.

And, for your enjoyment, I leave you with this fun and exciting little video of my kidlet.

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Orange You Glad?

It’s the Lunar New Year, or 설날 in Korean, and my company gifted everyone with a 3 kilogram box of oranges (hallabongs) from Jeju island. These are special oranges that taste amazing.

Hallabong from Jeju

The only problem with receiving such a gift, is that there only two people in my household and 3 kg of oranges is A LOT. Actually it was ten oranges, but we couldn’t eat nearly that many. So, I sought out recipes. I usually begin my searches on AllRecipes or JoyOfBaking, but they didn’t give me any solid leads aside from orange smoothies, orange marmalade, and orange chicken (more on these later). So I went to my backup, YouTube.

I found an awesome poster who submitted this great recipe. I didn’t have a cake pan, so I improvised and the result was one and a half dozen cupcakes (we still have 6 left) and they are SUPER tasty. I especially loved how I made the entire batter in my food processor. A fantastic WIN.

But, what to do with the rest? Over the last week, we ate all but four oranges and with those oranges… jam. Last year, I made strawberry jam with just the berries and sugar. Today, I simply substituted the strawberries with oranges. It was actually quite simple.

Not wanting to waste any part of my orange, I used my box cheese grater to get the zest of all the oranges, which I then set to dry in my oven at about 100C (just over 200F). I can use the dried zest later in a variety of recipes.

I sliced up the oranges (with a bit of their peel still on) and mixed them with the sugar over medium-low heat for nearly an hour, until the orange/sugar mixture reduced. The end result was just about 600 grams of orange jam.

Jam is nice to make because you don’t need preservatives (like pectin which is something I am not even going to attempt to look for in Korea), and if you’re canning, all you need is a hot water bath (ie place your jam-filled jar in boiling water, let the water return to a boil, then remove) this site is lovely. Jason and I also have a few books on the topic, purchased happily from Amazon.  

This jar in the picture is actually 400 grams worth, so the rest is sitting in a plastic container. I plan on making this tomorrow night for dinner and will use the jam in place of marmalade since the jam was made with some of the orange peel. I will let you know how it turned out.

A Busy Week

Since posting last Sunday, I’ve been a bit busy. Vowing to get even more recipes under my belt, I started watching a few more YouTube channels like Laura Vitale’s “Laura In the Kitchen.” This stylish foodie specializes in mostly Italian cuisine, and makes it look easy as pie. Last night’s spaghetti alfredo was inspired by her fettuccine alfredo recipe. Let’s back up to last weekend. I mentioned in that post that I had been having issues with baking powder. The two days following Christmas weekend, I had tried to make a batch of scones. I tried two different recipes from two different contributors to the UCC recipe site I use. These two recipes were a total fail. The dough was too moist (think goop), and the scones turned out inedible (too much BP created an overwhelming scent of ammonia/urea). The solution? Change recipe sites. I found this recipe and after a slight modification (substituting ½ part plain yogurt and ½ part milk in place of buttermilk) I finally got a delicious result (and honestly, I would have been happy for bread that just smelled NOT of urine). Finally, my dough was “solid” enough to actually kneed, form into a ball, and roll out (had I opted to roll the dough as the recipe suggests—instead, I pulled off small, golf ball-sized bits, flattened them slightly and placed them on the greased baking sheet about an inch apart). The result was an amazingly buttery scone. Add a bit of blueberry jam and you get YUM! 

Coffee House Scones with Blueberry Jam

Last weekend (after posting) I decided to also make us a bit of granola. In my pursuit of recipes, I found this woman on YouTube who provides easy recipes and tips for cooking healthy dishes (skip the lobster one, or you might cry). Rita Heikenfeld posted a nice and easy recipe for maple granola. For this one, you really only need the rolled oats, oil, and maple syrup to get your base, but you can add seeds or nuts to the mix prior to baking and any sort of dried fruit or chocolate afterword. Last weekend’s batch was sans seeds or nuts and only Jason’s half had raisins. This week I will add a bit of walnuts and more raisins.

Maple granola, fresh from the oven.

Yesterday was our monthly Costco run. As expats in SK, we’re not so keen on driving (while pretty easy to get a Korean license as a foreigner, forget about trying to buy a car here, let alone drive it in the amazingness that is Seoul traffic on any given day, at any given time) so, we bus. But, before getting to said bus, we have to prepare (both mentally and physically) for the journey. Before leaving the apartment, we ready our backpacks, Jason lining his with a plastic bag to prevent leaks from any meat we’ll get. We also bring at least three of our five Baggu bags (the most awesome things…ever). From our apartment, it takes roughly 20 minutes to walk to the correct bus stop. Our bus runs maybe every 10-15 minutes, so we wait. Yesterday, as we are leaving the apartment, it begins to snow. By the time our bus get to us, the snow has already begun to stick. Jason is actually happy for this, as it will add a little more resistance to the 2 inch thick ice that has yet to melt from two weeks before. After a 25 minute bus ride, we arrive at Costco. Let the insanity begin.

I’m not sure how many of you have lived in a really large city, but if you have, then you know what I mean when I say that the Yangjae Costco on a Saturday morning is like a mosh-pit of bargain seekers. In a city of around 50 million, it’s bound to be, right? Even with three or four other branches placed around the city. But, I digress. We were only in there for maybe an hour, which is long for us, but I was on a mission to find spices not easily found here in SK (such as granulated onion and garlic, parsley, paprika, oregano, etc) and I found most of those for much cheaper than expected, considering the store near us sells dried bay leaves for about 11,000 won (Costco had them for less than 4,000 won). I was also looking for parmigiano-reggiano (to use in the alfredo sauce), but after finding it for 40,000 won, we passed. We leave Costco, each of us with about 40 pounds on our backs and 10 pounds in the Buggu bags. The trek home seems longer, weighted down with 50 pounds of food each, but eventually we make it.

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