Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Is Hot

This is hot, chunky, and flavorful. It is a sauce that a family friend made. Oh yeah, his is also a well known chef. He worked at Charlie Trotter's for many years and then decided to open up his own restaurant(s). The first is Urban Belly. It is an Asian fusion noodle shop. The second is Belly Shack, which is a (gourmet) sandwich shop. The third is Belly Q. It is an Asian barbeque restaurant. He opened that one with Michael Jordan. Yes, #23. Da Bulls!

Back to the sauces. The first one we tried was his Seoul Sauce. It is a teriyaki-like sauce that can be used as a marinade on any meat. Sorry, I don't have a picture because we used up both of the bottles that we had. My kids loved it and asked for more. It was easy and tasty. If my husband can do it...

The sauce that I thought was a marinade but really was a hot sauce, is the Belly Fire sauce. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I loved the flavor and the texture from the first bite. It is chunky goodness. I kept telling my husband to put it on the chili that we were eating and he said, "How good can it be?" The reason he said that was because I kept telling him how good it was. Again. And again. (I had started eating before him...) I couldn't believe the flavor. It was flavorful hotness. Well, when he tried it, he started laughing and said, "Wow, this is really good. It makes me want to keep eating it." And keep eating, he did. And A1. And A2. And A3. And me. Might have to hide it from the kids.

Can I tell you. I keep thinking of what I can eat it with. Rice, sandwiches, chili... Last night, I had shitake mushrooms which I normally dip in soy sauce. I added some of the Belly Fire sauce to the soy sauce and it gave it the flavor and kick that gave it some "oomph!" My husband agreed.

And don't worry. It doesn't have MSG. It is all natural with no added preservatives. At this time, you can only purchase it at Urban Belly and Belly Shack. Or, you might want to talk to his brother...

**I was not paid to write this review. This is the honest opinion of A1, A2, A3, the hubs, and me.**

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baked French Toast

Okay, so this is not a healthy breakfast recipe, but I had to make it for A3's birthday. I had to, I tell 'ya! It a special treat that comes out on special occasions, when we have to feed a large group breakfast, or when I have a loaf of day old french bread. I like that I don't have to fry a million slices of bread... on both sides.

My sister gave me a recipe for baked french toast many years ago when I needed to make breakfast for 20+ adults very early in the morning. This is a great recipe to make ahead, take out the day of, bake, and enjoy. My kids go crazy for this! I used to make a huge pan and eat it throughout the day. Yes, it is that good!

I apologize for the lack of pictures and for the bad lighting. I made everything and realized that I should have taken pictures. The picture above shows the french toast before it went into the oven.

Please use real butter.

Please use real maple syrup.

Baked French Toast

1 French bread baguette (12" or so) (cut into 1" slices)
[I used a raisin brioche loaf I had in the freezer.]
1/2 stick butter (room temperature)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

maple syrup

(for this recipe I also used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)

  1. Spread butter over the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish.
  2. Spread butter on both sides of bread slices.
  3. Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish.
  4. Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
  5. Pour over bread. 
  6. Turn slices to coat with mixture.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.
  9. The next morning, take out of refrigerator and let sit on counter for 20 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  11. Bake 10 minutes and turn bread slices over.
  12. Bake for another 10(+) minutes until golden brown.
  13. (You can also not turn the bread slices over and just bake for 20 + minutes until golden brown.)
  14. Serve with maple syrup.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Green Shake

Two weeks before we left for South Carolina, we had a "HOORAY" moment at our home. My younger two, A2 and A3, asked if they could try some of my green shake. Then, are you ready for this, they asked for more! I couldn't believe it.

In the past, we had made fruit based shakes for them with carrots (which are quite sweet) and a little bit of greens. That was as far as we could push it. Many times, I had tried to get them to have a sip of Momma's shake, but it didn't really work. Or, they would try it and say "yuck" because they knew that it was full of kale and other vegetables - not necessarily because of the taste.

Well, I don't know what happened a few weeks ago, but A2 and A3 wanted me to make more of the green shakes. Each day, A2 would ask if I could make her a shake and then A3 would follow. We would have them with our dinner.

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Green Shake

2 stalks of kale with the stems removed
1 handful of spinach
1-2 cabbage leaves
1 carrot
1 generous handful of blueberries
1 cut mango (which I froze ahead of time)
1 banana (which I froze ahead of time)
1-2 cups of rice milk
1 cup of coconut water

1. Place the harder fruits and vegetables on the bottom.
2. Place the softer fruits and vegetables on the top.
3. Fill with rice milk and coconut water (add more to make less thick).
4. Mix in blender.
5. Enjoy and expect to become really regular!

My theory: I believe that the more your children see you enjoying green shakes (or vegetables) and keep trying little sips of it, they will come to enjoy them also. Just a theory, not a proven fact. But, be patient and try it. It just might work!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So Good

As I mentioned yesterday, during our stay in South Carolina, we took family pictures. It wasn't an easy feat. Some days it was too sunny. Other days we were having too much fun to be bothered. Then, there were those passing showers. And then, there was the difficulty of rounding up seventeen people - in the right outfits. Remember, khakis and white shirts or jeans and white shirts? Of the seventeen people, nine were children: ages 6 - 18 years. It wasn't easy. But, in the end, God blessed us with the right conditions to take pictures.

We had several photo shoots, and the last one was on the beach. As I was walking back to the house, I found the shell in the picture above. It is a broken shell shaped like a heart. No, I didn't fashion it into a heart. I just found it like that. I couldn't miss it, and I usually miss those things. Felt such love... and His presence.

Did I mention that there was a rainbow on the first day of our vacation?

So thankful.

by cliftongs

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Last week, I was absent. I hope that you noticed. I had planned on prewriting posts and scheduling them during my time away. But, it didn't happen.

Anyways, we were on vacation last week! Whoohoo! My sister's family, brother's family, my parents, and our family, all met in South Carolina. All seventeen of us had a wonderful time eatin', swimmin', and talkin'. I was so excited to be with my family, near the ocean, and near the ocean. Did I tell you that I love the ocean? Oh yeah, and my family too!

We even had papparazzi taking pictures of everything we did: my brother and brother-in-law. They took out their professional cameras and took so many pictures that I really didn't have to take out my camera. Didn't want them to see the pictures I took because the pictures they took were so professional-looking. Really.

We were also able to fulfill my parents' dream of taking an all-family photo. There was a controversy of whether we should wear khakis and white shirts or jeans and white shirts. The controversy was settled in South Carolina, and we ended up using both types of clothing. I am very thankful to say that all Christmas pictures are set: for our family, my sister's family, my brother's family, and my parents. Expect, white shirts, khakis or jeans, and smiles.

A song that kept going through my mind throughout my time there was "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go." Specifically, the first verse:

O Love that wilt not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be

I secretly sang this song when I was alone or when the wind made it impossible for others to hear me sing. I think I wrote about singing and me...

He kept reminding me that He doesn't want to let me go. To be honest, I would let go of me. I can be pretty unbearable at times. I'll be the first to admit that I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, still do. But, the fact still remains: He still loves me. Pretty incredible God!

by ajfakes

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Choose You

On Monday, A2, A3, and I went to a nearby shopping mall. I had to return some swim suits that my sister had bought for me, and I needed to get a new battery for my watch (that I have had since high school). No, it wasn't a Swatch (which first came out when I was in high school). Although, I did pass a Swatch store at the mall...

About the swim suits. My sister had called me a few months back telling me that she wanted to buy me a swim suit. I told her that I didn't need one because I had one that I had only worn a few times. She insisted that she wanted to get one for me, and I told her that I would get back to her after I tried on the one I had.

Well, I did and it was a rude awakening. My body has changed a lot since my mastectomy. Hello, Moni!? Isn't that obvious??? Well, I didn't realize how much until this situation arose. I can't wear the same styles that I did in the past. Now I know why my plastic surgeon wanted to remove fat from my belly and inject it into other area to even out the symmetry of my body. This whole bathing suit situation made me realize how much was cut from my body. I apologize if I am being too crude. 

Thus, my search for a mastectomy friendly bathing suit began. I was lead to Land's End, which has mastectomy bathing suits. My sister ordered some for me and sent some more styles that she had found at a local store that carries the same brand. Another rude awakening: most did not fit or cover the way they needed to. I had to reorder other styles in different sizes, and I finally found one that fits. My mom does have to adjust the straps a bit, but it does offer the coverage that I now need.

I never knew that it could be this difficult to get a bathing suit - post mastectomy. Really. I did see some speciality stores that did sell mastectomy swimsuits (online), but they were either too expensive or not nice looking.

About the watch battery. I dropped off the watch to get the battery changed. The woman told me that it would take 15 minutes, so we waited outside the store. The store was located on the second floor of the mall. A2, A3, and I were looking over the railing watching the people below. The railing was made of metal on top and clear plastic/glass below. Quite honestly, I didn't want to lean fully into it because it felt like I would fall over. Don't like looking over edges.

Just as I was thinking that, A3 said, "I'm afraid that this railing is going to fall over. Mom, what if this railing falls over?"

Me: "You will all be very rich."

A3: "Why?"

Me: "Because if I fall over and die, this shopping mall will have to pay you a lot of money because they didn't make the railings safe."

A3: (Quickly comes to me and hugs me tightly) "Mom, I don't want money, I WANT YOU."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Love Song For a Savior

I was first introduced to this song when I was in Korea. That was a very long time ago. I used to listen to it on my portable disc player if that gives you a hint. Some of you might not even know what a portable disc player is??? Look it up. It was historic.

During that time, I used to exercise and jog a lot. I would put in a disc and go running. It helped me to physically feel better, and it helped me to vent my stress. I remember listening to this song as I jogged in the huge, soccer field that was next to the dorms at the Korean seminary that I attended for a year. I can still picture the clear, night sky that was filled with twinkling stars. I ran and I ran, asking God to speak to my heart.

I still listen to this song... thanks to iTunes. Now, I listen to it with my children. Sometimes, I can hear them sing-a-long... and my constant prayer is that they, too, will fall in love with Jesus.

by GreatChristianLyrics