April 25, 2018

So I definitely goofed!

I had no idea that the powdered flavor packs inside ramen actually includes beef broth. A friend sent me a link the other day letting me know that there is now vegan ramen selling at a local Korean supermarket and that's what prompted me to look at the ingredients in the ramen that we had at home. Doh! I definitely had ramen twice since cutting meat out last November and I thought I've been meatless and bone broth free since then but I was wrong! 

So what else has been up since my last post? Not much difference, actually.

I am still very much consuming fish and I am thinking that I really cannot part with it at this point. I had given myself about 5 months to transition out but I need more time or this may just be a diet and lifestyle that works for me right now. I cook mainly Korean food at home and while a lot of the side dishes I enjoy are plant based, there are some that are seafood based that I love. 

Dairy products are still no go for me in terms of drinking actual milk, eating eggs and cheese but if they snuck inside their way into bread or even cookies, I have definitely had it at least once or twice a month.

Again, I am very much ok when I am home but I do worry when we are traveling. We are planning to go away in June and even next year when we plan on doing another international trip and that's when I worry about finding everything that is meat and dairy free. Right now I am telling myself to just stick to that hard line that I promised myself not to cross, which is the consumption of meat, and the rest is more like, try not to eat it but don't beat yourself over if you do.

It's hard though. Sometimes I wonder how many passes can we give ourselves? If you're gonna do it then do it. I wrestle with that black and white, absolutism mindset vs. not stressing out completely.

For the month of May we are planning on trying a few things from The Herbivorous Butcher. I'm really looking forward to that. Also for our trip in June, there are a couple of vegan restaurants we hope to try if we have the time. Fingers crossed for that.

April 24, 2018

I miss this life with you.. I like this life with you // 021

"There's no place like home."
 -- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

April 19, 2018

New spot for Piri and Bartles and Thursday evening ramblings

Yesterday I rearranged the bedroom. Actually I've been rearranging the bedroom for two straight days because I can't seem to find a groove I like. 

This all started because I told Yangkyu how it would be nice to watch movies from our bedroom from a projector during summer nights. And so I was trying to find a good spot for the bed where it would be convenient to watch facing an empty wall. And the only wall that ended up working was the one where I had hung the Night Sky prints of when Piri and Bartles crossed the rainbow bridge. So I said a huge apology to the boys and gave them a new spot in the room. Which was refreshing nonetheless.

But it brings me to my second random rambling. 

See, I began this whole food journey last November and in the new year I actually started another journey. A journey to spend less and not buy things I don't need. It all stems from trying to consume less to produce less waste. And it began with not buying personal items for me (things that I want to buy like clothes, make up, accessories and other random things).

So how have I been doing? 

Ehh... I thought I was doing pretty well and so I tracked what I spent so far and well, the list was longer than I thought. Some items I think were good buys while others were definitely a waste (womp womp womp).

All in all, for the past four months I purchased - 

1. Two pairs of pants and 1 pair of jeans - I regret one of the pants I bought. It was in the boho style that I thought would be hard to come by so I bought them. They are also really flowy, which is perfect for days when I'm caring for dogs. But when I bought them I couldn't wear them because it was too cold and the pants are thin. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I'm not sure if I will actually wear them. *sigh*

2. Two books - I couldn't find them in the library and I was interested in the content and so I bought them. One book was good while the other wasn't. *shrug, although Yangkyu always tells me to never hold back from buying books if I really want to read them* 

3. Digital files which I realized I didn't need as soon as I bought them. *sigh*

4. Four hair treatment products - I've been using three of them well and one I haven't used yet. 

5. Two apps - using well 

6. Vitamin - don't need *double sigh*

7. iPhone tripod - don't need and haven't even used yet *wasteful*

8. Vinyl record - don't need but I really liked the music *shrug*

Which brings me to this projector.

I already made space for the room but do we really need a projector? Will we use it for a long time? I'm not really sure. And so it's currently on our wish list along with a few other things. I've been into Kaico products lately and wanted to purchase a pot and also a kettle and a food processor to cook more vegan food. The food processor I plan on buying next month because I've been keeping up cooking often at home and am very much interested in continuing to cook more vegan as well. The Kaico products are more on the "not really necessary" list. I told myself I would buy them when spring comes but I'm pushing it back again to the fall. Or perhaps pushing it back until I think I need them. Whenever our kettle gives out and whenever it's time to switch out one of our pots perhaps that's when I'll buy.

At first I wasn't sure how I would do not buying things. I was so used to just buying with a simple click, but I haven't even touched Amazon and we are even planning on getting rid of our Prime membership. 

Four months in, I am just really curious to see if this mentality will last an entire year and I wonder what it would like to look back in December. So while it began as my contribution to be less wasteful in a very materialistic world, it is pretty much driven by my own curiosity at my will power and a little bit of stubbornness, too.

April 16, 2018

Shiraegi-guk and other happenings in the kitchen

I am finding that lately my blog posts are repeats of what I put on Instagram. In the past I have been so very mindful to not do this but lately the line between Instagram and blog has been a bit blurry.

I'm trying to find what I want from each space. Being on Instagram for what is now my 8th year, I felt as though I needed to do new things all the time. New content, new angles, new stories, new places, new experiences. I worried about being boring and what I thought people wanted to see came first before what made me happy. It's been a long detour to find my footing again but I think I'm slowly getting there.

I have also cleaned out my Instagram following list. Not entirely because it's a bit tedious to do, but I have deleted about 3,000 accounts. Being on Instagram for so long now there were too many inactive accounts and I hated the inflated follower number. I think there are still thousands more that are inactive but I'll get to them. One year, Instagram actually cleaned out the inactive accounts for us. I lost about 2,000 accounts then. I secretly wish they would do it again.

Anyway, I've digressed a bit too much. 

I wanted to talk to you about what's been going on in my kitchen lately.

I am still very much meat free. That includes meat and bone based soups. I cook with meat though, for Yangkyu and also for Lady, and it hasn't been difficult, meaning I haven't been tempted to eat it. Yangkyu also doesn't ask for meat and is completely ok with whatever I prepare, but sometimes I feel bad and include it for just his portion of his dinner.

Dairy products has still been one and off, but 95% non-consuming and the rest consuming. And I am still very much eating seafood. But I am beginning to get more and more interested in plant based diets and have been more proactive about incorporating them into our meals plans. 

I decided not to be too harsh on myself and still keep the meat-free lifestyle as my hard boundary to never cross. 

A few weeks ago at our local Korean grocery market, they were selling stems from radishes. You might be scratching your head like, what? That's edible? Isn't that part something you just throw out?

I thought so as well until a few years ago when I learned that one of my favorite soups is made with this. It's called shiraegi-guk and is made with ingredients that you might as well throw out - stems from radishes or even the outer most leaves on Napa cabbages. 

I love the concept of not throwing any part of the vegetable out. I think it originates from back in the days when people were poor and they weren't wasteful with food because it was just so hard to feed mouths back then. And so people found ways to use everything, including scraps to cook.

I love that my favorite dish has these roots. (Don't you love stories behind food?! I just love it. I wish there was a Korean cookbook with stories like this.)

My neighbor who is Korean, grows her own radishes and she dries these stems and cooks with them at home. She even grows her own red peppers, dries them and makes her own finely ground pepper flakes. She's kind of hardcore. Perhaps one day I'll be just as hardcore, too.

If you're ever interested in seeing what is on our table, you can following along at #janeandyangkyustable on Instagram for a glimpse of our meals.

March 30, 2018

Bringing back the functionality of floors

I had a crazy idea the other day (one I haven't shared with Yangkyu yet because he needs to be eased into my craziness). 

Why don't we get rid of our sofa in our living room and in its place get a few extra large sized cushions? My mom had these wonderfully huge cushions and had custom made covers for them. She stacked them up in a corner when they weren't being used and when we had family night or guests over, they were taken out to use. She took such good care of them that they never looked worn or dirty. She made use of the sunlight to dry them and patted them outside to get rid of dust.

We definitely had a sofa in our home and a dining table, but the floor was also a very inviting place to eat, sit, talk, watch TV and more. Whether there was extra space on the sofa or not, people opted for the floors. It was just so natural for us.

It got me thinking - where did this joy go?

I grew up in a family that made use of our floors. As I mentioned before, we always had furniture that made living away from the floors possible (sofa, dining table, beds) but the floor was always an option to sleep and converse and converge. 

Back in Korea, in my grandparents' home, and many of the older homes in Korea primarily away from the city (although I don't think it's the case now), the floors were even heated and so it was the best place to socialize with family after dinner in front of the TV during the cold months. I remember snuggling next to my grandma under the covers, feeling the warmth of her hand and also the floors. We ate apples and oranges and kids finally dozed off to sleep while the adults enjoyed their favorite dramas.

I miss this terribly. And I wonder why I don't have this anymore. 

Perhaps culturally I've lived without the notion of including floors as part of a living space for so long that I've grown accustomed to it. 

Yangkyu and I have never worn shoes inside the house all our life and I always ask my friends and guests to remove their shoes before coming into our home. I also ask all our Piri's Place clients to do so as well, a concept that is not very familiar to some.

There are a few exceptions that I do make with elderly people who need to wear shoes for support and people who weren't given proper heads up that we take our shoes off and come with a pair that is hard to take off (knee high boots with laces, etc). And sometimes if they just need to do something quick or take a peek inside the living room, they would tip toe in with their shoes. That's ok. I just wipe down the area afterwards. We've made it a lot easier for our clients though in that the entryway is walkable with shoes and the area is wiped down frequently.

We even wipe dogs paws after each bathroom break and if their paws are extra dirty after a walk, I wash them. 

So for us, the floors were and are never considered dirty and only used just to walk, whether with shoes or not.


Big, crazy thoughts. And I am heading into the weekend imagining the possibility. Although it may end up being too crazy even for me. 

There is some wear and tear with our couch but it's in pretty ok shape. I wash the covers frequently, have blankets over them when we have guest dogs and vacuum frequently so that there are no crumbs that live between the cracks. I am thinking that there might be someone who is willing to buy it. Who knows. My problem is, I just never know how to price used furniture.

In any case, what do you think about floors and what was your relation to it?

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 

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