December 8, 2017

Food journey so far + happy weekend


So it's been about two weeks since my (Almost) Vegan Thanksgiving post and how I declared I was going to try and make changes to the way I eat. My main goal was to cut meat but then also switching out dairy products when we finished what we have in our fridge.

Some things I realized since two weeks ago.

I don't really go crazy for eggs and cheese and while I have been drinking milk the past year, I was drinking soy milk for much longer (until I found out that it could cause infertility, which was when I went back to milk). So drinking milk that's not from cows isn't a big deal for me.

I also realized that I don't really eat a lot of meat on the regular. I do have to say that I did have meat once since trying to go meatless and that was when I was just too tired to cook and was so hungry that Yangkyu and I just went to a Korean restaurant that we frequent to grab a bowl of seolleongtang. That was still just a couple of days after Thanksgiving and now the thought of meat (certain meat)  is kind of is gross. 

In terms of cutting out meat, the trickiest part has been the ease at which sandwiches came in handy during lunch time. A few times a month I would pick up cold cuts from the deli and enjoy ham and turkey sandwiches. It was convenient and, well, I like sandwiches (especially stuffing potato chips in them - does anyone do this??)! But do I miss it? I do, but not to the point where I think I'm missing out. And plus, while I enjoyed meat sandwiches, veggie sandwiches are just as good and I also enjoy a nice bowl of rice and my favorite Korean side dishes are all plant and root based. 

Yangkyu and I also used to enjoy Korean BBQ at home. Not often. Maybe every two months? (I realized we really don't eat a lot of meat to begin with - well Yangkyu probably more because he eats out at work but I really don't). And the few times we did have it, I enjoyed it. But my thought right now is, it won't kill me if I never have it. 

But with all this realization, I am not sure where I am going with this new food journey of mine. We had (or tried) to have a vegan Thanksgiving but I don't plan on giving up on fish or shellfish. And the broth I make for Korean stews are based on scallion roots, kelp, onions, radish and dried anchovies. And we use fish oil a lot for flavor.

And while I don't go crazy for dairy products, it's again this convenience issue. Eggs for breakfast is just something wired in me. I have had eggs once since going meatless at the end of November (for breakfast) and while I do plan on cutting it out of my baking, I am not too sure if it'll go away entirely for consumption. We'll see. 

Butter though, we have completely made the switch over to a vegan brand called Earth Balance and we have no issues with it whatsoever. 

Yangkyu and I have also tried tofu turkey (terrible), chickpea patties (vegetarian only - so good!) and recently got jackfruit pulled pork. I am slightly nervous about this one because jackfruit is durian fruit and while I have never had it, I have been told of its strong pungent smell (something I am most likely will not be a fan of). We still got it because Yangkyu wanted to try it. So one of these nights we'll be having it for dinner. 

We also tried a new vegan hummus brand which we absolutely love and right now I am trying out almond milk, although I don't think I am a fan of it. I already went through a bottle and picked up an almond and coconut milk mix, which I am also not too crazy about. 

Finally, I have also joined a couple of Vegan Facebook groups and have been reading people's recipes, journeys (why they became vegan - mainly health and animal rights reasons) and how they manage to budget. It's all been very eyeopening and inspiring.

Again, I shouldn't probably label this journey as vegan. And it's not really a peso-vegetarian since I am cutting out all dairy with eggs an exception (maybe?), or perhaps it is? Who knows.

Well, whatever it is, it's been going well. Mainly because I don't mind the changes and because I have realized that I don't need to make drastic changes.

Hopefully two weeks from now I can report back to say that it's going even better. 

So have a wonderful weekend, friends. We may get our first snow of the year. While I am not a big fan of the fluffy stuff, firsts are always exciting.

December 6, 2017

Favorite Christmas Carols


I'm not religious but for a long time I loved listening to Away in the Manger and The First Noel. They were my favorites. But lately I've been into ones that make you want to have random dance parties in the kitchen - like Brenda Lee's Rockin Around the Christmas Tree. That one gets me every time. It's like drop everything and dance!

I also realized that Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the version Frank Sinatra sings, is really  depressing. It was playing in the background the other day and just brought the whole mood down. Yangkyu thinks I'll Be Home for Christmas is the saddest Christmas song. 

My Pandora (does anyone still use this?) is fixed on Christmas station and I have it playing at random times of the day. For some people, too much Christmas music annoys them. I happen to like it and I don't tire of it. It reminds me of all the fun things that happened in the small town I grew up in and how my mom used to set a plate for our childhood cocker, Bobby, at the family table. Plates she would only use for our Christmas Eve dinners (Christmas Eve dinners were bigger for us than Christmas dinners). Those were happy times. 

December 5, 2017

Lately


I have been on break from Piri's Place since November 26th - so a little over a week. I usually close for about a week after a wave of guests leave and we haven't had numerous requests for booking for the month of December. We have one guest coming tomorrow for daycare and another for a week-long stay next week.

October was just an incredibly busy month where we had up to 8 dogs at one point while November was less hectic. But it seems as though December, usually one of our busiest months, is very slow. Part of the reason I presume is because we are closing for Christmas and New Year's this year. The first time since starting Piri's Place.

We decided to close because starting off in January we have a couple of guests staying with us for the entire month and one gets nauseous during car rides and so we can't go out even for a little bit for quick coffee runs with all the dogs. And so before I get busy with these guests, I knew I needed a good week or so off. And the timing worked out well for us - it will give us a chance to enjoy the holidays with Lady and go see The Nutcracker (something we tried to make a tradition, switching off with A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre but kind of fell of the wagon) and do other holiday things. Yangkyu's last final is on the 19th and Piri's Place is off from the 20th so it really is perfect timing for us. 

Before with Yangkyu's previous job which allowed him to work from home for most of the week and when he didn't have school, we were always out and about when we didn't have guest dogs. We were always going to dog friendly places, taking lots of pictures and experiencing new (and old) things. We haven't done that in a long time. Aside from not having time to go out anymore, to be honest, while Lady is an extremely gentle dog and so great in many ways, she gets me a little nervous. I already mentioned her peeing and pooping out of nowhere (on side walks, etc. - Piri always went on grass and never inside stores) but she sometimes isn't the friendliest to other dogs while she is leashed. She doesn't bite and she enjoys the meeting at first but when the dogs gets too in her face she'll growl. She sometimes jumps or moves her body at the same time and that's probably why I get so nervous. I also don't know how the other dog will react. I never had a problem with friendliness with Piri and Bartles and so rather than getting her more used to greeting dogs while leashed (she is fine at home) I have been shying away from it. I shouldn't, and I know we can get over this (and it's not a major issue where she's dangerously aggressive.. it's something very minor) but it's just one of many things that has been slipping off my plate lately. 

Which brings me to my main conundrum.

Why have I been so lazy lately? 

I look at my old pictures and posts and wonder how I was so into making and baking and cooking and pictures and DIY posts. I don't think I can ever work on a DIY post again. So much work! While I have so many knitting patterns, crafting ideas and books I want to read it takes me forever to pick it up. Writing a blog, reading blogs and going down my Instagram feed seem like daunting tasks. They never felt this way. And I feel a part of myself inner self crying every time I write this because I know somewhere in the past 6 months, a year, maybe more, I have written about this. This funk. And since then, each day has started with a new determination and has ended with a "maybe tomorrow." For far too long. Which makes it that much more depressing. 

I meant to take more pictures like I used to and Lady shying away from the camera has felt deflating and I feel incredibly bad that I am somehow placing blame for my lack of motivation on Lady. 

Something in my life has felt off kilter for a while. I was thinking one night that perhaps I am still missing the life I had with Piri. The amazing rhythm we had. The way we all knew each other's next move even without speaking. And maybe I'm trying to recreate that when I should embrace and accept what we have now. Or did I exhaust myself too much the two years caring for my old and sick boys and now my body is just wanting to be on a long long break. 

Me and my thoughts. Sometimes I am that beaver overthinking dam

December 4, 2017

I like this life with you... I miss this life with you // 018

























"For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are." -- The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis

December 1, 2017

First Christmas Tree with Lady





I realized that I haven't posted a whole lot about Lady on the blog since she came home to us. In all honesty, I feel a little bad for her in a way. With Piri and Bartles, because their needs were so big, I used to be with them all the time and any time Yangkyu and I needed to go out, they would tag along (mostly Piri -- with Bartles, I would just stay home and Yangkyu would go by himself). 

Lady is currently very healthy and she stays home so well by herself, unlike Piri whose separation anxiety came back after we moved to our current home and he would pace all the time. And with Bartles, because his mobility was somewhat compromised he would get into a pickle when left alone.  And with Yangkyu's current work and school schedule which has him out of the house most of the time, any free time we have with each other, we end up going to grab something to eat just the two of us or doing the usual quick Target, Michaels, Homegoods, World Market run (I love doing this just to recharge, especially after guest dogs leave). I remember with Piri, whenever we wanted to go out we would go to dog friendly stores, namely Home Depot (dog friendly and stays open late), but with Lady she sometimes just pees and poops out of nowhere when walking on a leash so I get a little uneasy taking her to stores. 

And during the weekends, Yangkyu only has a couple of hours before he needs to study or get school work done and so we haven't been venturing out and exploring dog friendly areas like we used to. 

But about a week ago, we did take her to get our first tree together. She enjoyed it a whole lot. Lots of great smells, too.

We hope to take her hiking this weekend. We're all itching for a little crisp air (although the weather lately has been so warm) and move our stiff bodies (we haven't been all that great about exercising lately). 

What are you up to? 

We're also doing lots of Christmas decorating, too -- trimming the tree and getting the outdoor lights up. I can't wait. 

Have a wonderful weekend.


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