And then there were fishcakes.

So, the other day, out of nowhere, I had this intense desire to make fishcakes. And, when one wants to make fishcakes there is really no other choice but to make said fishcakes.

This is what I had in mind: use mashed up sweet potato and cooked, flaked mackerel along with some minced onion, garlic, chili peppers and fresh ginger to make the cakes. Form them into little patties and fry them in olive oil, and voila! Delicious fishcakes, yes? No.

The first set of problems.

Though I had the right idea, when it came time to fry the cakes up, they turned into a disgusting, oily mush. They didn’t hold together at all. My mistake? I needed something more than just the mashed up sweet potato to bind everything together. Also, the mixture was too warm. Though I had mashed the sweet potato earlier in the day, the mackerel had basically just come out of the oven. So, I put the mixture in the fridge to cool for about an hour. Then, I added 1 egg yolk and two tablespoons of flour to the mixture to help with the binding.

The results.

Hubs eating the cakes. Yum!

A real fishcake! So, after letting the mixture cool and adding the egg yolk and flour, I tried again with the frying method. But, I wasn’t pleased with the results. The outsides were overcooked and the inside was mushy. I think the fishcakes just soaked up too much of the oil, among other problems. Next stop: the oven. I lined a cookie sheet with some tin foil which I also brushed with olive oil. Then, I used a heaping TBSP of the mixture for each cake. I baked them in the oven at 220C for about 20-25 minutes after which I finally had my fishcakes. Huzzah! I think next time I will either lower the heat to 200 or only cook the cakes for 20 minutes because, as you can see from the picture, a few of the edges got overcooked.

Anyhow, I served them with a salad and a chili-lime mayo dipping sauce and received the yum of approval from The Hubs (that’s his lap). Success!

It was a bit of trial and error, but I got there in the end. Enjoy the recipe and I’d love to hear your comments!!

Ingredients

3 medium size sweet potato, baked & mashed

2 mackerel fillets, baked & flaked

1-2 cloves minced garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)

1/2 medium onion, minced

1-2 green chili peppers, minced (again, depending on how spicy you like things)

1 tsp minced ginger

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp flour

salt & pepper to taste

Dipping Sauce

mayo, lime juice and hot sauce

1. Bake your sweet potatoes in the oven until they’re soft. I usually wash the sweet potatoes, then pierce them with a fork a few times, then lay them directly on the oven rack and cook them at 240-250C for about 50 minutes or so. Be sure that you have a cookie sheet underneath them lined with foil to catch the sweet stuff that oozes out! When the potatoes are cooked, remove and let cool completely. Once they are cool, mash them in a big bowl!

2. Bake your mackerel fillets. Mine were frozen fillets, so I defrosted them, then baked on a lined tray for about 20 minutes at 220. Make sure fillets are cooked through and flakey. Set aside and let cool. Once cool, remove meat from skin and flake.

3. Mince your garlic, onions, chilis and ginger. Add some olive oil to a pan and cook until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside until cool.

4. Add flaked fish, garlic, onions, chilis and ginger to sweet potato mash until all ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is still a bit warm at this point, cover and let cool in the fridge for about an hour. Then, add your egg yolk and your flour. Combine thoroughly.

5. Line a cookie sheet with foil brushed with oil or wax paper. Then drop a heaping TBSP or so of the mixture onto the sheet. You can form them into cakes if you like or keep them “rugged” looking as I did. ūüôā Put in the oven at 200-220C for about 20 minutes. (*Aside: all ovens were not created equal. My oven is a gas oven and its idea of 200C and my idea of 200C are two very different things. So, take these temps and times as suggestions and adjust according to your oven.)

6. While the cakes are in the oven mix some lime juice, mayo and Tabasco sauce together (to your desired taste) for the dipping sauce.

Enjoy with a salad!!!

Because I am a Grown Up

Because I am a grown up, I have to clean my own kitchen for hours at a time.

Sad.

Because I am a grown up, I can have macaroni & cheese for dinner with a glass of whiskey.

Yay!

macncheese

Last night I treated the hubster and myself to some yummy, made from scratch macaroni & cheese after a hard day of scrubbing. My best friend in all the world is coming to visit this Friday for which I am beyond excited. However, having guests come to stay over is sort of like when, in crime shows, they spray luminol all over the floor and it lights up like a firework. You just look at your space with a much more critical eye and realize THAT ALL THE THINGS need cleaning. ALL. THE. THINGS.

So, I have been working overtime to do a deep clean on the whole house. Hence, macaroni & cheese.

It’s a simple enough recipe that could easily be made lighter with a few substitutions. Also, it’s basic enough that it begs for add-ins and experimentation!

Because it’s mac’n’cheese, and I have the mutant ability to eat ALL THE MACARONI, I served it up in individual ramekins to help with portion control, which I believe came out to about one-cup of cooked mac’n’cheese per ramekin, i.e. a serving size of 2 oz according to the Inter-webs.

Anyhow, enjoy the recipe! (Whiskey is optional but highly recommended.)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni (made four cups cooked)

2 TBSP flour

1 cup milk

1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

dash of nutmeg

salt & pepper to tast

 

1. Preheat oven to 220C.

2. Cook macaroni according to the package. Drain. Set aside and have ready. Try and make sure its still a bit warm for when you mix it with the sauce in step 4. Just makes things a bit easier.

3. In a large non-stick saucepan, whisk milk and flour together over medium heat. Whisk continuously to avoid getting any lumps. (Tip: have your cheese nearby and handy.) After a few minutes of whisking, you will notice the mixture will start to thicken. Like magic. Like sauce magic. Once this happens,¬†add in your cheeses, dash of nutmeg, salt, pepper and keep whisking. You may need to add more milk if the sauce is too thick. It’s really about you and your preferences. You can add more cheese if you like it cheesier. You can add more milk if you’d like it a bit saucier. This is also when you could add in some fried up bits of bacon or perhaps some greek yogurt (which means you could probably cut down on the cheese or milk), etc. The world is yours! Stir until cheeses are well incorporated. Turn off heat.

4. Mix cooked macaroni into the sauce and make sure macaroni is completely covered.

5. Distribute macaroni & cheese between four buttered ramekins.

6. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes or so. The idea is to get some color on the top.

7. Take out and let cool for about five minutes. Be careful as they will be very, very hot.

8. Serve with something green!

9. Drink your whiskey! (optional)

 

This is a great recipe for a cold night or when you feel like wearing nothing but yoga pants because you are A BOSS. And, happy to report it got a thumbs up from The Hub who ate TWO ramekins of joy. TWO. How I envy his metabolism.

xoxoxo

G

Enjoying the Silence

I named this blog Moments Overlooked, yet so much of my life is spent doing just that. Overlooking the moments that make up life.

2015-02-07 09.17.08My morning routine is a great example of this. I am a self-declared morning person, much to the hub’s chagrin (he is a night owl, of course). There’s nothing I enjoy more than waking up early to the promise of what the day might have in store. I drink some water, make my coffee, and READ THE INTERNET.

Morning sabotaged.

Why? For me, one of the things I enjoy most about the morning is the silence. The only audible sounds are the¬†hum of the refrigerator and the brewing of the coffee. It is the perfect kind of silence for hearing your¬†thoughts and seeing where your heart goes to. It’s an opportunity to listen to yourself.

All of which is ruined once I check my Facebook, the news, Zite, Refinery29 and all the other websites or apps I read because the silence has now been filled up with noise, with the voices, of others in the forms of updates, headlines, rants, raves, etc. and my own voice gets lost in the melee.

So, I’ve been trying to use my mornings more wisely,¬†to enjoy the silence, and to use the silence to¬†become more self-aware and, as a result, more productive.

Here’s what I’ve been doing that’s¬†been working for me:

1) Wake up and drink a giant glass of water (while coffee is brewing!).

2) Do ten sun salutes followed by stretching (for about a total of ten minutes).

3) Drink coffee and enjoy the silence. Listen to my thoughts, see where my mind and heart go.(5 minutes or however long you want/need.) Sometimes I do this with my eyes closed, sometimes I stare out the window. Sometimes I cuddle the puppy (okay, I do that all the time). Whatever helps my mind wander.

4) Write in my journal for ten minutes. (I use the timer on my phone for this so I’m not constantly checking the time which is an inspiration killer, IMHO.) Often my entry will reflect¬†my thoughts from¬†Step 3. Other times it might be about something else entirely. It is always, however, productive. Journal writing is a great way to give a voice to your voice and to process whatever might be going on in your head and heart. It has become one of my favorite parts of the day.

5) Finally, make a list of things to do using three categories: WORK. PERSONAL. HOME. I usually put the three most important things I’d like to accomplish that day under each category and try my best to get them all crossed off the list. Sometimes I do (and I AM¬†VICTORIOUS) and other times I don’t (BUT AM STILL VICTORIOUS). No sweat. There’s always tomorrow!

This has become my morning practice. I don’t like to use the word routine because it has the connotation of mindless action. That’s what I used to do. These five steps, however, are mindful actions done to¬†foster awareness ,which I feel resonates more closely with the word ‘practice.’ That’s just me.

Anyhow, I’ve been doing this since the beginning of the new year and so far I’ve pretty much kept to it aside from our time in Tokyo. And, I’ve found that my days in general have become¬†more productive, focused and purposeful. Don’t get me wrong, I still peruse¬†and read the Interwebs, but I do this when I’m taking my breaks from crossing things off on the To-Do list (i.e Taking Care of Business).

Everyone is different. This morning practice may not work for you. But, I encourage you to take that extra time in the morning to enjoy the silence and develop your own steps for a mindful and productive day.

xoxo,

G

Tokyo!

Hey there. It’s been ages since I last posted (which also, as it happens, seems to be the way I start most of my posts on this blog!). Just to catch up, I’m still baking and cooking, I successfully ran my 10K under an hour (see LIVE up top), and hubs and I just got back from a trip to Tokyo. Oh yeah, and we finally made the big decision to¬†go back to the States in the fall (more on that in future posts)!

Anyhow, I thought I would do something short and sweet to get back into the posting spirit and share some Tokyo photos with you.

Tokyo is, in a word, incredible. It’s a strange and fascinating city that feels like what we (Westerners) thought the future would look like 25-30 years ago (think Blade Runner), if that makes any sense. And, despite it having been at the forefront of technology for decades (maybe less so now), Tokyo is still a very human city. People read books, go to record stores (they still have Tower Records!) and buy cds, get together with their friends in the park dressed up like 1950s greasers to dance to¬†Elvis.¬†You know, things we used to do a lot more of before we all got pulled under by the smartphone wave.

Both the husband and I fell in love with the place. It’s hard not to when there is so much to see, so much to eat (incredible sushi, of course!), and so much to do and experience! Enjoy the pics!

 

The Best Brownies Ever

So, I know I’ve been offline for a while but¬†to make it up to you I’m going to post the BEST BROWNIE RECIPE EVER to win your forgiveness.

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Now, before I get to the brownies a few updates:

1) I’m still training for my half marathon goal. I’ll have to do a separate post soon with my stats, but trust me when I say things are going well. I’m improving on times and stamina. I do think I need to up my strength training, but otherwise, I’m a happy runner.

2) I bought new running shoes:

Adidas Running Shoes in Pink

Adidas Boost Supernova Sequence 7–I love them.

3) I’ve been cooking up a storm in my new dutch oven! Here’s a chicken I roasted just the other Sunday:

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So, now onto the brownies, but first a little backstory. Here in Korea sweet potatoes are to fall like pumpkin spice is to lattes. It’s not uncommon to see students snacking on baked sweet potatoes or to have a baked sweet potato for breakfast. I have come to love sweet potatoes in a profound and deep way and wanted to figure out other ways to use them. Enter Interwebs. After some research and a few cups of coffee, I found a recipe that required minimal ingredients which included sweet potatoes and chocolate. Zing!

Without further adieu, I give you the best brownie recipe ever based off of this one here but with a few tiny changes.

Things you will need:

Wet Stuff

Sweet potatoes, between 2-2 1/2 cups (baked, peeled and mashed)

2 eggs

2 tsp of Jim Beam (BOOM!)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup of virgin olive oil

Dry Stuff

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tbsp baking soda

1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp coconut flour

What I Did

1. Preheat the oven to 365F.

2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients together.

3. In another, larger bowl mix together the wet ingredients making sure that they are well incorporated and as lump free as possible.

4. Slowly add in dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl until you have a smooth batter. Now, here’s something to keep in mind when working with coconut flour. This is the sponges of flour. It absorbs liquid more quickly than I absorb hot toddies¬†at Christmas. Keep your olive oil or your Jim Bean close at hand. You might need to add a bit more of either (or both–whatever tickles your fancy) so that the batter doesn’t get too dry.

5. Once your batter is at your desired consistency, pour it into a baking pan that’s either greased or lined with parchment paper. ¬†A word of advice: make sure that¬†you use a pan that isn’t too big. You want the brownie batter to be at least an inch thick in the pan to have thick, moist delicious brownies. Trust me.

6. Bake in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Check to see if the brownies are done via the tried and true toothpick test. Leave in for a little more time as needed until the toothpick comes out clean. I ended up baking mine for probably about 40 minutes but my oven is like that.

7. Let the brownies cool for as long as you can resist eating them.

8. Enjoy!

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These brownies were a huge success in our house. Between my husband and I, I don’t see them lasting more than 48 hours, if that. ¬†They were moist, rich and chocolatey and honestly some of the best brownies I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. ¬†I think next time I make them I’ll add some walnuts and maybe try and make some frosting, though they are so moist that they really don’t need it.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Happy baking and running!

xoxoxo

Week 2 Completed! And Cake!!

Hello there runners, readers, lovers of life! I’m a bit behind on my posting, but my silence is no indication of my running! I’ve kept up with the training and even threw in a game of tennis in there on Sunday and STILL ran 3 miles!

Quickly, here are my stats from last week (thank you Runkeeper, or as I like to call her “Ms. Lady”):

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3.35 miles. 36:31 time. 10:55 average pace. 298 calories burned.

Wednesday: 9km on stationary bike. 30:00 time.

Thursday: 3.01 miles. 34:43 time. 11:32 average pace (slow!). 263 calories burned.

Friday:  Rest Day

Saturday: 4.01 miles. 44.48 time. 11:10 average pace (slow and steady). 357 calories burned.

Sunday: 3.01 miles. 33:58 time. 11:17 average pace (I am a turtle). 265 calories burned.

Though a little bit slow, I’m happy with the miles I’m getting in. In particular, I’m especially chuffed with¬†that spectacular Saturday¬†where I ran FOUR MILES! That is a first for me ever. So, naturally, I had to celebrate by making this cake! I followed the recipe pretty closely though I didn’t sift the flour because I don’t have a sifter nor did I use cream of tartar because I’m in South Korea and probably not going to be finding that in the grocery store anytime soon!

Anyhow, the cake was moist and delicious, though I recommend doubling the recipe to make two round cakes so you can stack them, otherwise, it’s a little slim. Also, I did a Google search on some frosting options using yogurt and cream cheese and ended up using 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup softened cream cheese and I’d say about ¬†1/2 cup of plain yogurt (Greek is even better if you have some). I also added some honey to taste and a teaspoon or so of almond extract though vanilla would be just as nice. I beat it all together until it was a creamy, smooth consistency. I would also keep it chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to frost your cake, otherwise you might have a runny mess on your hands like I did (see picture of plate below!).

Anyhow, I made the cake, let it cool and when it was ready, first spread a light coating of strawberry jam on the top of the first cake and then added a thin layer of the frosting on top of that. Then, I stacked the other cake on top and frosted the heck out of it, top and sides. Finally, I used some defrosted frozen blueberries and used them as a decorative and delicious topping. Voila!

Cake!

Haha! You can see some frosting smears and the juice of the blueberries staining the cake, but you get the general idea. The important thing is that it was truly delicious and hubby approved.

Today I start on my Week 3 of training. Also, I signed up for a 10K charity race which will be on November 15th in Seoul running along the Han River, my favorite place! I’ve never done anything like this before in my life. I am equal parts excited and terrified. But, a large part of the reason I’ve chosen to start running was to face my fears and show myself that I am capable of accomplishing my goals if I put my mind, my efforts and my heart into it. ¬†Here goes nothing!

Anyhow, enjoy the cake recipe! Let me know if you have questions about it or anything else.

Happy running & baking!

xoxo

Night Running

Everything about today was wrong. The alarm went off at the wrong time, I missed my morning three mile run, the dog chewed off her splint (she broke her metacarpal three weeks ago) which meant I would have to take her to the vet as soon as I got back from work thereby pushing back the run AGAIN. At work, I had an angry student who decided to take out his frustrations on me (long story) and my hubby was in a bad mood.

Peg Leg MacGee

I felt how my dog looks in this photograph. Bummed.

However, finally I was able to get to my run. So far, I’ve been a morning runner. There’s something soothing about the freshness of the day and the sense of having accomplished something before you’ve even walked into work. Also, for some reason I just feel safer running in the morning, which is a topic I’d like to talk more about in a future post.

As I set out, I felt heavy from the day. Worn out. Tired. Wondering if my legs had it in them to go the three¬†miles. My goal was to run straight through. At least that’s what it had originally been. But, after the day that I’d had, I wondered if I could even make two. However, once I got started it didn’t take long to find my rhythm. Pretty soon, instead of thinking about my crappy day, I was enjoying the sound of the kids at the playground, the feeling of the evening air as I ran through it–cool and crisp, and the color of the sky as the sun began to drop towards the horizon. Before I knew it, two miles had whizzed by and I was heading into my third with smooth, steady strides.

I ran my three miles today straight through. In fact, I ran 3.35. And, by the time I got back to my house to do my strength training, I felt like a new, better me:¬†in control of my run and in control of me. Tonight, I’ll go to bed not thinking about the crappy day I had but about the herons fishing in the river,¬†the sound of the carp as it leapt out of the water and splashed back in, the dragonflies laying still on the pavement. I’ll think about all the good things we might miss if we don’t lace up, get out there, and move.

There’s something to be said for night running. I may just be converted.

Which do you prefer: morning or evening runs? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xoxo