Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tart Green Smoothie

I have a slight cold this week, so I decided to make a green smoothie for breakfast to coat my throat and wake up to some nice kale. I threw this smoothie together and I can actually taste it, despite my deadened tastebuds! It is extra tart, so only make this if you need a kick in the morning like I do! :)

Tart Green Smoothie:

1 grapefruit
1 banana
2 handfuls of kale

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tropical Green Smoothie

When pineapple is super ripe and sweet, this is the smoothie to make, a tropical green smoothie.

1 small banana
1 navel orange
1 cup pineapple
2 cups kale

Blend and enjoy!
Note: I find the banana can overpower the smoothie sometimes, so you can use half if you want.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fruit Salad Green Smoothie with Kale

Here's another wonderful green smoothie to make with a Vitamix Blender. This one is like a fruit salad with kale to give it that bright green color!

Eyeball it as always:
4-5 strawberries
1 medium/small banana
1 navel orange
1/2 Fuji apple (I just used a handful of pre-sliced apples)
3 generous handfuls of chopped kale
1-2 cups of ice (top it off with whatever fits)

Blend and enjoy! Praise the Vitamix for making green smoothies so easy and fun!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Not-So-Green Green Smoothie

I am experimenting with more green smoothies and this one came out not-so-green, but it is still a green smoothie!

Again, just eyeball everything.

Half a cup of blackberries
Half a cup of blueberries
Handful of strawberries
Handful of spinach
2-3 handfuls of Kale
Handful of baby carrots
sprinkling of water, as needed to get it szhoozing!

This one isn't as sweet as the green smoothie I made yesterday, but it is packed with superfoods and still tastes ok. (The green smoothie is actually suitable for kids because you cannot even taste the kale.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Green Smoothie

Who knew a green smoothie could taste so good? I just made this fabulous kale smoothie with my Vitamix blender and it turned out yummy!

Just eyeball everything!
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 pear, quartered
1 cup of strawberries
2 cups or 2-3 handfuls of kale (I just get the bagged, pre-chopped kind to save time)
top it off with ice, about 1 cup or so

Blend and enjoy!!
I love my Vitamix! This is the easiest way to make sure you get your daily fruits and veggies and with summer coming, smoothies are a must! ;)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Popcorn Dipped in...Soy Sauce!

This may sound strange, but I recently got a tip about how to enjoy popcorn on a new level: dip it in soy sauce! Of all things!! It actually tastes good and it only takes a tiny dot of soy sauce to do the trick, but it is awesome! Try it with fresh stove-popped popcorn (none of that microwave stuff!).


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free scoop of birthday ice cream from Tucker's

Just got my free scoop of mocha chip ice cream from Tucker's Ice Cream thanks to their birthday club!

I love mocha chip ice cream--skip the cake and go straight for the ice cream, that's my motto!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Freebie

I just picked up my birthday freebie at Sephora, a set of Fresh Sugar Lips mini lip duo. Sephora is so generous with its Beauty Insider program and I just love the birthday freebie this year! One of the Sugar Lips gloss is tinted light rose and the other is clear. I like how smoothly it glides on and how silky it feels on my lips!

If I could, I would spend hours in Sephora! There is so much to look at and so many new fragrances to smell. At least I get to go to Sephora once a year to pick up my birthday freebie, thanks to the Sephora Beauty Insider program.

Thank you, Sephora, for making my birthday so special!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

FREE Fries at Burger King for St. Patrick's Day

Burger King is giving away free fries on St. Patrick's Day! No purchase necessary. Offer valid Saturday and Sunday (March 17-18, 2012).

Limit one per person.

I just got my free small fries at Burger King and I didn't have to order anything else to get them! The fries were 100% FREE!  Spread the word! FREE fries at Burger King!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I am boycotting Lee's Donuts, Alameda

I went to Lee's Donuts in Alameda, California to pick up five doughnuts today and I didn't have much cash on me, so I opted to use my credit card. I didn't think they would give me a hard time about it since my transaction was over $5.00. (It's not like I was buying one $0.50 doughnut with my credit card, but you are still entitled to do that if you wanted!) The man said that there was a surcharge of $0.50 for using a credit card! I could not believe it. That is a crazy surcharge in a doughnut shop, where some doughnuts cost $0.50! I am tired of businesses thinking they can impose a surcharge for using a credit card, regardless of what signs are posted! I don't think the owner realized that I actually knew my rights as a credit card holder and so I told them that they are in breach of contract with the credit card companies by imposing a surcharge to credit card transactions. Merchants are NOT allowed to impose a surcharge for credit card transactions, which is outlined in the contractual agreement they sign when credit card companies agree to let the merchant use the credit card machines in their businesses. However, most people do not know this fact about credit card agreements with merchants and they end up paying whatever surcharge is imposed, no questions asked. Since I knew my rights, I spoke up and all they could say was, "Then don't buy the doughnuts." I managed to pull five one dollar bills out and scrounged up twenty-two cents, but I don't usually carry much cash on me, which is why I rely on my credit card. That transaction did not sit well with me, especially given the merchant's attitude towards me. So, I called them when I got home to explain again that they cannot keep imposing a surcharge because that is a violation of their terms and conditions with the credit card companies. The owner, an Asian lady, started yelling at me! She said she didn't care who I reported this to because she has "millions of customers and does not need this bull sh*t" and hung up on me. It was unreal. She is a nice person in the store and I am sure most people think she's a sweet Asian lady, but if you try to confront her with how she is violating credit card terms by imposing a surcharge, she will go off on you! I could not believe she swore at me and hung up! Is that really how you treat a customer?  I told her I would never go there again and she said she didn't care. Amazing! Where did customer service go? How cocky can business owners be? It is baffling. She doesn't care that she lost a loyal customer? There are tons of other doughnut shops around, I do not need to give her my business and yet, she doesn't even care? That speaks volumes. 
In any case, since I didn't get anywhere with her, I reported her to my credit card company and explained her violation. I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau about her treatment of customers and the violation of the credit card terms and conditions. I am no longer a patron of Lee's Donuts of Alameda and I challenge any of you to question the owner about her sign that states a $0.50 surcharge will be added to credit card transactions. She will probably turn into the same defensive woman that came out today. She must think that no one knows what rights exist for credit card holders! She better read her contracts with them again because she cannot get away with this. I know a lot merchants do this, but they are doing it in VIOLATION of the terms and conditions that they signed with the credit card companies. They just think customers are too dumb to know the difference and too passive to do anything about it. Well, I say SPEAK UP and let them know you know your rights!! 
I am boycotting Lee's Donuts of Alameda until the owner abolishes that surcharge practice. Do NOT go to Lee's Donuts:
660 Central Ave
Ste B

(between Mckay Ave & Webster St)
AlamedaCA 94501
(510) 521-8019

If you do go there, try using your credit card and see what they say. If you refuse to pay the surcharge, I bet they will say, "I don't care, then don't buy the doughnuts." 

I am not okay with giving my business to a place that treats its customers this way. Having the owner yell at me and use profanity and hang up on me is not what I call good customer service. I will not be going to Lee's Donuts again.

Most people do not realize they have rights as credit card holders. Credit card companies want their customers to have the freedom and flexibility to use their credit cards on any transaction amount without having to pay a surcharge or make a minimum purchase amount to use the credit card. Regardless of any signs the merchants post in their stores, they are NOT allowed to impose a surcharge for credit card transactions and they are NOT allowed to impose a minimum purchase amount to use a credit card. If you have experienced this, I urge you to report those merchants. The more people who speak up, the better. To avoid any confusion about your credit card rights, here is an excerpt from the Mastercard website: 
Q: A merchant required me to make a minimum purchase when I used my MasterCard card
A: A merchant is not permitted to require a MasterCard cardholder to pay a minimum amount in connection with a MasterCard card transaction.If you believe that a merchant inappropriately has requested a minimum charge or you would like to report an inappropriate charge you may report this by clicking the following URL and completing a brief online form Report a merchant violation

Q: A merchant wanted to charge a surcharge or fee to use my MasterCard card.
A: A merchant is not permitted to require a MasterCard cardholder to pay a surcharge, any part of a merchant discount, or any contemporaneous finance charge in connection with a MasterCard card transaction. However, a merchant may provide a discount to its customers for cash payments provided that it is clearly posted. In certain instances a merchant may charge a convenience fee. If you are not certain whether you have been charged appropriately, or you would like to report a questionable charge, you may click the following URL and completing a brief online form
Report a merchant violation

If you have a problem with a merchant, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
How to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau

Friday, January 6, 2012

Soybean Sprout Soup (Kong Namul Guk)

I made my first batch of Soybean Sprout Soup for lunch today. I have been inspired to cook more Korean dishes this year and experiment with new recipes from my new cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles. For Christmas this year, I received two copies (what are the odds?) of this lovely cookbook, one from my husband and son and one from my friend. I have been keeping my nose stuffed in this cookbook, reading about different Korean dishes and making a list of which ones I want to make. I went to the Korean market yesterday to get some more ingredients, so I could make Korean spicy braised chicken from The Kimchi Chronicles (hopefully, it will turn out ok). 

This is a new year and of course, the "diet" has to start! I hate using the word "diet," because everyone is on a diet (a diet is what composes your daily food intake!). What's more accurate is to say that I need to watch what I eat and eat healthier food. I am trying to cut out/reduce refined sugars (or, at least I am trying to significantly limit my sweets intake overall) and "bad carbs" like white bread. Anyone who knows me, knows that I would rather have something savory over something sweet anyway! (i.e., I'd rather have an egg roll or dumpling as a treat vs. a piece of cake, so cutting out sweets won't be that hard). I do need to eat more fruits and vegetables though and I need to exercise more regularly. 

Anyway, back to the soup...

I made this soybean sprout soup today because I wanted something light, quick and easy. It was so easy and satisfying! It is very cold in my house, so I have been craving soup a lot these days. I am officially addicted to this soup. My friend made it for me one time and I loved it, but I never had the courage to try to make it on my own. Today, I mustered up the courage to try to make it, since I had just purchased soybean sprouts at the Korean market. I probably ate more than a serving, as seen by this huge bowl, but it was my lunch and I skipped the rice to cut down on carbs. The soybean sprout soup was satisfying and warming, and the broth (which wasn't spicy at all, even though it has a little red pepper powder) filled up my tummy in no time! I figured if I got hungry in two hours, I could have a light snack (which is what I need to do anyway, space out more light snacks throughout the day, instead of having three big meals). 

I cannot take credit for this soup, so I would like to thank Aeri's Kitchen for sharing this recipe for Soybean Sprout Soup. Aeri provides a very detailed, step-by-step video for how to make this soybean sprout soup, so I studied her video and read the instructions several times before I attempted to make it. My goal is to incorporate more Korean dishes into my diet, so this soybean sprout soup marks the beginning of my journey to learn more Korean recipes. I am going to use Aeri's website and my new cookbook as my guides. Aeri makes Korean food very accessible to her audience and makes it less intimidating to tackle these Korean recipes. Since I don't eat beef, I will just have to try to adapt some of the beef recipes and swap out the beef for ground turkey or chicken or just make it vegetarian. I love Aeri's website and I am very grateful that she shares Korean recipes for everyone to try. The soup turned out so yummy! The only thing I didn't have on hand was "soup soy sauce," so I just used regular soy sauce. The next time I go to the Korean market, I will pick up a bottle of soup soy sauce and make this recipe again and see if I notice a difference. But I was very pleased with how it turned out, regardless of the substitution.

Thank you so much, Aeri, for your help!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


My son wrote a book about trains over winter break and made the sweetest dedication page (without my knowledge or help, he created this): "To my mom who loves me." He also included the copyright date, which he loves to do with all his books. He is definitely a better writer than I was at that age!

I have to say that the dedication in his book was the sweetest and best Christmas gift!

This is just one of the inumerable, precious moments of motherhood that overflow my heart with love and gratitude. I can't complain about anything when I have such and loving and thoughtful son.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Montparnesse Gallery and Gifts: Featuring a NEW Artist, Anton Barte January 6, 2012

Monparnasse Gallery and Gifts is featuring a new artist this week! Known as "First Friday," Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts hosts art openings with various artists every first Friday of the month (hence the name!).

If you'll be in Maryland this week, go check out Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts at 22760 Washington Steet, Leonardtown, MD 20650. At Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts, you will discover a new artist, Anton Barte. He will be displaying some of his photography, which is also for sale, on Friday, January 6, 2012 from 5pm-8pm.

Not only is Anton Barte a wonderful and creative photographer, he is also a dear friend and fellow Korean-adoptee. I hope you check out his artwork and if you fall in love with one of his pieces, show your support and purchase one of his framed photographs. Anton Barte explores the world of macro flower photography and he very excited to share his work with you at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts. Go meet Anton Barte at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts this Friday, January 6th and talk to him about his passion, photography!

Check out Anton Barte Photography for a glimpse of his ever-growing portfolio.

Other artists on display this Friday, January 6th at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts include: Beverly Jackson, Lee Anne Shontere, Monica Richards, Candy Cummings, George Stolt, Callie Badorrek, Mark Boneham, and Joi Ames. Special Musical Guest: Alex Holden.

For more information e-mail:

Congratulations, Anton Barte! I wish I could go see your artwork in the gallery! I will be thinking of you this Friday. Good Luck and have fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant

Today my friend took me out to a Korean buffet lunch at Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant at 3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA  94611. It was a great way to kick off the new year with good company and good food! We enjoyed a wide variety of Korean and non-Korean food at the buffet and piled our plates high with excitement! I got to taste a bunch of new Korean dishes including two new soups. I was in food heaven! I was not ashamed to go back for more...I had to take advantage of all this Korean food at my fingertips, especially since this was the first time I've ever been to a Korean buffet. 

I have to admit that the food was definitely on par with what you would expect from a buffet--it wasn't as good as it would have been if it were ordered fresh, but it was still a good, quick way to eat a lot of different dishes without having to order all of it individually. (My friend's cooking is way better and tastier than this buffet sampler, but it was still worth going to try all the food at Ohgane). Even I could tell that this food was toned down quite a bit in spiciness for an average consumer to enjoy. Nevertheless, the buffet was memorable and it is a good way to introduce several Korean dishes at once. (I can handle some spice and this food was not spicy at all.)

This daikon soup with noodles was so simple, yet so delicious and not as spicy at it appears. The noodles had a nice texture and chew to them and the daikon was tender and mild in flavor, completely different from the crunchy, pickled variety.

At the end of our meal, the waitress gave us a beautiful calendar for 2012 (free)! It is filled with gorgeous photos of Korean dishes and some background information about the food. Also, there are short translations of Korean phrases, so you can learn some Korean as well! I just noticed that they also cleverly included restaurant coupons for free items throughout the year! How sweet and ingenious--that is reason enough to go back and try more items on their menu!

I don't know how long they will be handing out free calendars, but we sure lucked out this year with this freebie! Now I know to go back next January to get another free calendar (if they offer that promotion again).

The Korean buffet turned out to be a great way to sample a ton of different dishes at once. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait to go back again!

Happy New Year!