Friday, December 31, 2010

Perfect Pancakes–including gluten-free pancakes

It’s been awhile since I did a food post (or a post at all, for that matter), so I thought I’d combine two recipes in one post for perfect pancakes you can make from scratch using ingredients that are widely-available in South Korea.


The first recipe is based loosely off the buttermilk pancakes recipe on the Joy of Baking website. (link)  The gluten-free recipe is loosely based on the Delicious Gluten-Free Pancakes recipe on (link)  Both recipes produce exquisitely soft, melt-in-your mouth pancakes.  I enjoy adding a little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg to the recipe and leave out the sugar.  TheFry loves pancakes, and enjoys eating them with just a little bit of honey.


Recipe: Perfect From-Scratch Pancakes

Yield: This makes about 8 4-inch pancakes, or enough to feed two adults and one toddler. Smile


1) 1 Cup wheat flour (밀가루)

2) 2 teaspoons baking powder (베이킹 파우더)


3) 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine (we use the brand below – it always stays hard, so you have to melt it for this recipe)


4) 1 egg, beaten

5) 1 Cup milk

6) 1 Tablespoon white sugar [optional]

7) Cinnamon or nutmeg to taste [optional]



1) Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar) until combined

2) Mix together the milk and the beaten egg in a separate bowl.

3) Melt the margarine in a pan until it is just liquid.  Try not to cook it too much.

4) Working quickly, pour the margarine into the milk and egg mixture and beat it together to keep the egg and milk from curdling and the margarine from getting hard.

5) Pour the liquids into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.  It will be a little lumpy.  If you stir it too much, the pancakes will be rubbery.


6) On medium-low heat, melt a little bit of butter or margarine and ladle the pancake mixture into the pan according to the size of pancake you want.  When they get bubbly on top, flip them over.


7) Eat and enjoy!



Recipe: Gluten-Free Perfect Pancakes

Note: This recipe makes about twice as many pancakes as the previous recipe.


1) 1 C sweet rice flour (찹쌀가루)


2) 3 Tablespoons soybean flour (날콩가루)


3) 1/3 Cup potato starch (김자맛전분)


4) 1 Tablespoon white sugar (설탕)

5) 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (베이킹 파우더)

6) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (식소다)

7) 1/2 teaspoon salt (소금)

8) 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (잔탄검) [this is hard to find in Korea – here’s a link to buy it on Gmarket)

9) 2 eggs, beaten

10) 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

11) 2 Cups milk



1) Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2) In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the beaten eggs and the milk.

3) Melt the butter or margarine in a pan and pour it in with the other liquids.  Working quickly, whisk the ingredients to prevent the hardening of the fat or the cooking of the eggs.

4) Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  This batter will be quite lumpy, with large bumps in it.  Don’t worry about that – the pancakes themselves will be soft and clump-free.

5) Melt margarine or butter in a pan and cook the pancakes as normal, turning when they are quite bubbly on top.  These pancakes are fairly delicate, so be extra careful while turning them.

6) Eat and enjoy!  The sweet rice flour is a little potent in this recipe, so the pancakes will be quite sweet – you probably won’t have to add much syrup at all!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween, v.2010

For the last two years near Halloween, some expat parent friends of mine have had a big get-together where everyone dresses up their children in costume, takes pictures, and generally has a good time.


Last year we couldn’t make it for multiple reasons, but as TheFry is 2 this year, I thought it would be fun to go.  He’s much more social (and active) now than he was a year ago (he couldn’t walk back then, either).  The get-together was at Children’s Grand Park in Seoul.  The park is huge, and admission is free.  There is also a small zoo in the park, and it also has free admission.  There are some other parts of the park – such as an amusement park with rides – that cost money, but the scope and amount of activities for a 2-year-old to do in the main part of the park is still amazing considering the (non) cost.


Anyhow, this year I planned way in advance of the party, and decided that I would crochet a costume for TheFry.  I chose this pattern for a crocheted giraffe costume off of Etsy.


I then proceeded to visit Dongdaemun Shopping Town stall A36 – one of my favorites – to purchase the yarn for the project.  However, as the yarn I chose was fairly thin, I had to modify the pattern quite a bit.  I ended up scrapping the idea for the hat, because I thought it might be too warm (I was wrong, but whatever), and instead went with a version of this cap which I made for TheFry last winter (I honestly can’t find where I got this pattern, or I’d link it here).


It took about two months to make, considering I really only worked on it every other week or so.  I was wise to start so early, because I still found myself at a coffee shop on October 30 for several hours making spots and sewing them on (and enjoying a pretty good Roti Bun and quiet time, too).


Anyhoo, this is how it turned out:


I’m too busy staring at the TV to care, Mom!


Side View  


DSCI0788Rear View


Close-up of tail

Isn’t that just the cutest little giraffe booty you’ve ever seen? ^_^

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TheFry is 2! That means photos at Mom’s Self Photo Studio!

Last year, when TheFry turned one, we took him to Igloo Self-Photo Studio in Seoul.  We were very happy with our purchase at Igloo and had every intention to go back, until we realized that all the pictures would look pretty much the same.  Also, since we’ve moved outside of Seoul, Igloo is pretty far away from us now.


Thus, we decided to look for another self-photo studio closer to our area.  After a couple of google searches, we found (and decided to go with) Mom’s Self-Photo Studio in Incheon, Gyeyang-gu.


Making the reservation with Mom’s was a big step for me because I did it entirely over the phone and in Korean (even though I found out later that the owner of the studio speaks fairly decent English).  Also, I didn’t have to pay a deposit to reserve my date, which was good, because I didn’t want to figure out how to navigate the website and pay the deposit online.


The studio itself is a little smaller than Igloo, having only two rooms instead of three.  One of the rooms is very geared towards babies than the other, which is larger and has more sets.  Also, there is a “dressing room” with outfits your child can wear.  As I didn’t notice the dressing room until after the photo shoot, I’m not sure if you have to pay anything extra for the outfits, but my guess is that the use of some are free (especially the hats), and that some of the more fancy outfits may cost you extra to use.


At Mom’s Self Studio you can bring your own DSLR camera or you can rent theirs for an extra 10,000 won.  Additionally, the rooms are equipped with moveable lighting fixtures which you can adjust based on which set you are shooting.


One thing I was not prepared for the last time I did a self-photo session was how exhausting it is with a mobile toddler.  Maybe it goes without saying that such an event warrants the use of multiple favorite toys and snacks, but I’m still kind of oblivious to a lot of parenthood and I figured that mess out the hard way, so I’ll point that out here in case you’re a self-photo first-timer.


At the end of our session we had taken 475 photographs, most of which were useless because of one or a combination of several of the following:

1) TheFry didn’t want to smile for almost any of his pictures.  He maintained a placid, almost dumbfounded facial expression for most of the sets.  No amount of joking or singing or cajoling could convince him to both smile and look at the camera.

2) TheFry refused to look at the camera.  He was just too busy playing with the sets.

3) TheFry really just wanted to sit around and try to eat the toy food.  Even after eating a sandwich halfway through our one-hour session, he still just wanted to play with the toy food, nibbling it and throwing it off the stage.


It wasn’t a total loss, however.  We got some giggle-worthy shots that won’t make it to the framed WALL OF FRY but will make it into a photo album of TheFry’s Silliest Moments.  We also got a dozen or so nice shots, which is really all you can hope for, and better than a traditional photo shoot might have been.  In all, we’ll have plenty to send home to Grandma and Grandpa. ^_^  At the end of our session, we walked away with all 475 photos on a CD, and we paid 50,000 won for everything together.


And now, without further ado, THEFRY:

DSC02843this was his general expression 



Action Smile!



DSC02920yummy fake croissant 

DSC02992  getting ready to throw a slice of lime 


DSC03037 DSC03038 Ballet Poses #1 & 2


DSC03048 This whole set was in between outfits.  We didn’t want him to get peanut butter on his nice clothes.  He enjoyed the diaper time.  But he wants you to see his SEEFOOD!

DSC03079 Little rascal…

DSC03100 Silly little “Naughty Face”

DSC03106 Probably the best smile in the shoot, and I’m in the way of the picture! :(

DSC03108 Please, please, sit still and do it again!


IMG_5163First day of school… 

IMG_5165…at Bible College! 



probably my 2nd favorite shot



and my first favorite.

Chuseok 2010: Family Vacation to Gangneung

At my last job, I was lucky to get a 5-day weekend for vacation every now and then.  The excuse was always that parents of middle schoolers don’t want their kids to stop studying for a full week.  Seeing as how most parents didn’t bring their kids in during those few extra days of the week anyway, I began to smell a rat.


Now that I’m working at a private primary school, my fortune has changed!  I got a full week off for Chuseok, the “Korean Thanksgiving”, the Harvest Festival, and one of the two most important holidays in South Korea.


We decided to use that time off to do some traveling, since our traveling in Korea thus far has been limited to pretty much one vacation.


We checked into the Naiad Pension & Motel, and for 30,000 won per night we got a private room with a full-sized bed and a private bathtub!  Seeing as how I haven’t taken a proper bath in a bathtub in over a year, I was ecstatic.


The weather was stormy when we arrived, and Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung being much deeper than Songjeong Beach in Busan, the waves were much stronger.  Nonetheless, when the weather warmed up a little and the sun came out, we got to see some of the beautiful sapphire East Sea.


TheFry wanted to go “splash”!  He was very upset when i wouldn’t let him run out in the waves.


He settled for a walk with his trains on the boardwalk.


PapaFish tries to keep up with him.


Later on that day, the waves had died down only somewhat, but the weather had become quite warm and enjoyable.  As rain was in the forecast for the whole weekend, we thought this might be our only chance to let TheFry splash in the ocean, so we began our trek along the beach to find a suitable place.  SDC10214


We came upon a section of the beach where the larger waves were broken up by some rocks near the shore.



There were still quite a few waves, but they were small in comparison.


TheFry longs to dive head-first into the lovely blue ocean.


PapaFish guards him from giving into the temptation. 


Chasing (and running from!) the waves was still fun, though.


TheFry spots me with the camera.


TheFry frolics along the sandy beach.


TheFry in his all-time favorite yoga pose. :b


On our way home for dinner, we passed a lighthouse.  A not-so-conspicuously-guarded tank was sitting at its side.SDC10234


We also saw some bunkers along the road.SDC10301

We stayed at a motel called the Naiad.   It cost us 30,000 won a night for a double-bed room with a TV, mini fridge, and (wait for it…) a BATHTUB!  Woo-HOO!  It was awesome to have a private bathtub for the first time in over a year.  If we ever go to Gangneung again, we will definitely be checking that place out.

Near our motel, however, were many, ahem, interesting other motels.  Most looked fairly clean and decent, and then there was the over-the-top Gyeongpo Tour Night Club.


Boasting its very own sexy Zeus.



Gyeongpo Beach is actually quite near another lovely body of water besides the East Sea – Gyeongpo Lake!



In this picture, you can see the ocean in the distant background.

SDC10273They really do have flathead mullets in the lake!


On our second day at the East Sea, we decided to go for a walk to a famous pavilion called Gyeongpodae.  We passed some interesting archeological sights along the way.


A lovely little hanok, which used to be the guesthouse of a king.


Lighthouse at above hanok.


Sign marking Gyeongpodae


Gyeongpodae Entrance


Dragons on the ceiling.


Dragons at the entry way


PapaFish and TheFry look out over Gyeongpo Lake


What a little dude!



Cool drums on the gate posts of the exit from Gyeongpodae

The second day, though as warm as  the first, was also windy, and the water was much colder.  However, the waves were not as fierce and we enjoyed the sandy white beach and the dark sapphire ocean.


TheFry goes hunting for shells



He especially liked the seaweed and rubbish.  Time to go throw it back to the ocean, from whence it came!



We had such a good time!