You’ll Never Guess What I Found by the Dumpster

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This post, along with many following are only going to be pictures. Pictures of random beautiful things I found while taking a walk or just eating. I don’t usually get out much–I’m usually in the house chillin, watching k-dramas and listening to k-pop, or watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Total Trekkie) and the Justice League, which, by the way, I am a huge fan of comic books but we’ll save that topic for another day. Anyways, I have recenlty been getting out a lot more, and I’ve been seeing a lot cool things. Most of its just flowers so hang with me while I get the hang of taking pictures of actual moving targets. I will upload a post on the best smoothie you will ever drink for Mother’s Day which is May 12, three days after my birthday (May 9. Happy Birthday to ME!).

Moving on, outside of my house there are flower bushes and they grow some of the most beautiful roses when they’re not burning from the nearly 100 degree weather outside and I am not exagerating. Its gotten as high as 95 degrees here already, and it just turned May. What happened to ‘April showers bring May flowers’?  We’ve gotten no showers! Though I’ve heard it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so let’s cross our fingers.

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I’m sorry if the pictures are semi-blurry it was incredibly windy when i took these pictures which is why i look to be strangling this poor flower ^^. Anyways, after i took these pictures i went for a walk around the block.

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Can you see the bee? I was surprised i was able to take a non-blurry picture of it before it either stung me or took off.

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At first i thought these were desert roses. They’re not. Desert roses are actually pretty. I’m just kidding. These flowers are pretty… just not as pretty as desert roses (which don’t technically look like roses :/) .These are called Orange Desert Globe Mallow, the longest name for such small flowers.

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Do you know what this creepy thing is?

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neither do i…

Then, after my walk, i saw the cutest birds ever. They sort of reminded me of my little sister. I found them near what used to be a dumping site near my house. They were in a bush and because it was hot or they were in a particularly nice mood, they stayed put while my mom ran to the house and grabbed my camera for me. And also, my mom was incredibly nice to sit there patiently while i played paprazzi with these poor birds. Here’s what happened:

At first they were very shy...

At first they were very shy…

Then one, slightly more adventurous than the other, came out saying, "Look! It's peoples!"

Then one, slightly more adventurous than the other, came out saying, “Look! It’s peoples!”

Then he called the next one out. "Yo, dawg, you'll never believe what i just saw." "What is it?" "Peoples."

Then he called the next one out. “Yo, dawg, you’ll never believe what I just saw.”
“What is it?”
“Peoples.” Gasp. “No way.”

"Maybe if we just slowly hop away... they won't notice us..."

“Maybe if we just slowly hop away… they won’t notice us…shh”

"Naw, man, this is the perfect time for a photo op. Just lie low, man, lie low." "Fine. But eye's watchin' you."

“Naw, man, this is the perfect time for a photo op. Just lie low, man, lie low.”
“Fine. But eye’s watchin’ you.”

"But only ONE photo!"

“Wait! Only ONE photo! I’m serious bird, man. Don’t play around!” “But eye’s so photogenetic…Okay, man, alright. Just one… get out the way! Alright! Mr. DeMille, i’m ready for my close up!”

"CHEESE!"

Mutters, “Got to…find my good side…” Clears throat, “CHEESE!”

Yes. The birds did talk and this is what they said. So, get over it. Now: Nummies and sidewalk chalk. 🙂

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It’s a tuna melt on wheat, gluten-free bread (toasted), with sprouts, provolone cheese and a side of grape tomatoes and sliced plums.

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I’m not usually much of a drawer(er?) but that day, i was feeling inspired. It’s supposed to be youngest sister.

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This girl doesn’t have a name. What do you suggest?

I hope you enjoyed my bird story and photos. I’ll have more in about three days with snack suggestions and my trip to a park outside of town. Then, SMOOTHIES! Nom, nom, nom. — Sage.

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Korean Wheat Hoddeoks Recipe –Original Recipe by Maangchi (It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. Does that count as the weekend? Probably not.)

Korean Wheat Hoddeok (Original Recipe by Maangchi)

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Maangchi’s Hoddeoks

This is the first Korean food recipe I ever tried. And also the best idea I’ve ever had. Now, I am not going to take all of the credit, my sister was the first to introduce me to Maangchi’s recipes. She did so because I was obsessed K-dramas and K-pop. It was around the time I started my first drama, Boys Over (before) Flowers. What she showed me was different than what I ended up trying (these Hoddeoks) but I was so happy that she suggested it. When I first watched the video (here) I was so excited to make them but my mom was not. I was running around saying, “Can we go to the store so that I can make sweet pancakes for you guys?! I really want to make them!” And my mom was saying “Sure, baby.” But then we never did it. I guess I shouldn’t have called them “sweet pancakes” (I wasn’t the best at pronouncing the literal name for them at the time), because we have “sweet pancakes” all of the time, and my mom wasn’t really interested in trying something new that she’d already eaten before. But when I finally got the ingredients necessary, I woke up extra early (noon :)) so that I could make them for my mom for breakfast. I was so excited when my first time making them wasn’t a disaster that as soon as they woke I was stuffing their faces with them. Little did I know that I was never going to get to stop. These things are so good that I have had to double, triple, and even quadruple the recipe all in one night. They joke that it is like a sweat shop in the kitchen, but I actually believe it.  So I warn you, when you first make these you will never again get to just make eight. We now eat these in replace of actual donuts, and we can have them any time we want which is great for them but unfortunate for me. Now, the ingredients to these wonderful gifts from the kitchen:

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Keep in mind that all of the ingredients are healthy, and/ or 100% natural. The flour is wheat, the sugar is raw, and the salt is from the sea. :p

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Okay, I want to make one thing clear before we move on, I didn’t change the recipe (much). I switched out a few of the ingredients to make me feel less guilty when eating them and that’s all, the process is still the same unlike the goguma bap that I made earlier. So still follow the steps on Maangchi’s blog just switch out the white flour for whole wheat, the white sugar for raw sugar, and the iodized salt for sea salt. It’s called eating clean, and it is much better for you in the long run. Literally, you should eat this way if you plan to run for a long period of time. Wait, no, you should eat this way all of the time not just when you plan to run but you should still eat this way when you are running… never mind. Moving on, this is what the dough looked like after I mixed together all of the ingredients:

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When mixing them, because I didn’t have a rice spoon like Maangchi did in the video, I used a broken mixing spoon that we had in our utensil drawer.ricespoon_sagedandconfused

I had photos of the rising process, but they turned out blurry and the lighting wasn’t the best so I tossed them. But, one thing I suggest when waiting for your wheat hoddeoks to rise for both the hour and the 10-15 minutes is to store the container or bowl they are in, in a cool dark place. It will double the rising size, and they will be a lot more fluffy and light when it finally comes time to cook and eat them. When the hoddeoks are rising for that ten minutes after you’ve mixed them to release air pockets from when they raised for an hour, you want to make the fillings and prep your station for preparing the little sweet cakes. One last thing I want to mention, I didn’t have walnuts when preparing these (one: because my little sister is allergic, and two: I don’t really like them all that much). Usually I use almonds, but we didn’t have those either. So, because I didn’t have any nut-type substance in my house I used another sugar along with cinnamon and brown sugar. I used maple sugar, which is absolutely delicious—but also a little strong in taste, so if you decide to use it, you only need about a half of teaspoon to a teaspoon for a little over 1/4 cup of brown sugar.sugarfillingingrediets_sagedandconfused

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Writing this post, I realize that I was very much so unprepared when I made these. Along with everything else I forgot or didn’t have, there was no shredded mozzarella cheese in the fridge. But that just proves to you that if there’s a will there’s a way. I cubed a huge block of mozzarella that we had in the fridge and it worked just as well if I would’ve had a shredded cheese. So if you are like me and still want to make these pockets of sunshine, even though you are not all the way prepared try this:

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The numbers are backwards, but you get the gest. And any left overs can be used for snacks. Now because I like a lot of room when making these, I sprinkled flour on the table before putting the Hoddeok dough down.

It’s a mess but it’s also fun. Making the sweet pockets is quite easy and the way I make them, they have a little star shape on the bottom half. I’ll explain to you how, it’s very simple:

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Take the hoddeok in your hand and after you’ve put your filling inside fold in each corner, one by one into the center and then press down so that they look similar to this:

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And when you fry them they will have a little star or flower shape on the bottom. It’s not only delicious but pleasant to look at.  For the cheese, if you had to cube them stack a few of them in the middle and when they are cooked there will be pockets of cheese all throughout the hoddeok:

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Wow, I can’t believe we’re nearly done. After you’ve fried them you can finally delve your face into healthy deliciousness! These are the finish products:

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cookedhoddeoks_sagedandconfusedI swear looking at these pictures just makes me want to go stuff my face with some more. Like Johnny Bravo would say, “Man , they’re pretty! Huh!” You can basically stuff these pretty young things with anything… wow that sounded wrong. Clear your mind of all filthy thoughts! Haha. But, anyways, I’ve also had them with chocolate, cream cheese (not the healthiest, but still delicious), and jelly. Flipping delicious.

I made this recipe to show that eating healthy is just as easy as not eating healthy and you can still eat what you want… healthily. So if you have a recipe that you would like me to try and make healthy email me or leave a comment below. My email: sagedandconfused@gmail.com

This way you can enjoy your nonhealthy snacks healthily and they will still taste delicious. Tell me what you think, I really want to know!

I Have An Old Computer and Stuff’s Not Working!!

 Hello Everybody!
I am unable to do a new post right now. My computer is throwing a fit and I have to wait until I get a new one– well, not really new. It will be those used ones that are only new to the person getting it–this should be sometime next week. Thank you for being so patient!

What to Look for When I get My “New” Computer:

I plan to update my status on learning Korean so look for a new post on my “Journey to Fluency: Korean”

A Post on how to make the best sweet potato fries you will ever eat (if I do say so myself)!

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The last thing will be a Secret. I am going to try something new out and see how it works for my readers!

Again, thank you so much for being so patient and understanding!

~ Sage 🙂

Sweet Potato Muffins by Laura Vitale (LauraintheKitchen)

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I have been on a serious sweet potato kick lately, with the sweet potato rice, a few other things that I have yet to post, and now this? I am surprised I haven’t turned into a sweet potato…yet. Anyways, these muffins are absolutely delicious, and with the way I make them, 100% healthy, so you can eat them guilt free. The ingredients to make these muffins are simple, easy ingredients found at your local food market. As a matter of fact, the first time I made these muffins I had all of the ingredients in the kitchen already in my fridge and pantry so it worked out perfectly. I’ve made these muffins a total of maybe four or five times sense the first time I made them, each time they were delicious. As a matter of fact, If I had to grade these I would absolutely give them an A, just because they are so delicious and so easily made (even for someone like me, who usually burns everything I put in the oven). My only problem with Laura Vitale’s Videos is that the viewer has to go to her website in order to get measurements for the ingredients she uses. What happens when you’re feeling like a chef and you bring your laptop into the kitchen, press play on the video and can’t cook along with her, it’s kind of a bummer actually. But, I just realized, maybe that is just how she likes to cook and so far so good. So keep up the great work!

Okay, so, the grocery list:

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I think I changed out just about everything she used for something healthier132785888984343350_cC3yNWqX_c except for the vegetable oil. Though it’s not in the picture, I use Trader Joe’s brand Vanilla Extract. It’s 100% healthy and has only vanilla beans in it, no alcohol and no High Fructose Corn Syrup like some extracts have, which by the way is in no way good for you—not even in moderation. Pssh, Liars.

Next, the recipe calls for the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients to be separated. She says the reason for this is to make sure the muffins don’t get tough, and I agree one-hundred percent with that. But still this part was a little confusing to me, because she considers sugar to be apart of the wet ingredients. After making these over twenty times I still don’t understand the reason for that, but I do it anyways.

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On the subject matter of sweet potatoes (no, we weren’t just talking about sweet potatoes, but in my mind we were): I mean the gorgeous orange ones above. At my local grocer there are two types of sweet potatoes, just so we’re clear this is not a very good grocery store so you probably have more—white sweet potatoes:

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And the orange ones. Now, I have made these muffins with both types of sweet potatoes. I personally, while they are both still very delicious, prefer using the orange sweet potatoes because the muffins come out a lot lighter. When you use white sweet potatoes the muffins are very heavy and taste a lot like cinnamon, so they have a very strong taste. *Great Sweet Potato Tip: Rinse the skin before peeling them, this makes them a lot easier to cut into. Especially if you soak them in water for about 5 minutes.*  Also note that these, along with the orange sweet potato, taste absolutely delicious when you bake them, add a little olive oil, some sea salt and honey. Not sugar and not butter. Though you don’t use butter and sugar it tastes as though you did. And don’t boil these, all of the natural sweetness of the sweet potato will be boiled out.

Anyways, moving on, after you mix together the wet and dry ingredients:

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And put them into your cute little muffin trays:

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They should look something like this. Everybody’s muffins will look a little different then mine or even Laura Vitale’s and that is only because the size and shape of the muffins differ from the size and shape of the pans and also how much you decide to put inside the pans. Unless you use the exact scooper and muffin pans she used your’s probably want come out identical to hers. I didn’t get to make quite as many as she did but my muffins came out a little bigger than hers. The only reason I bring this up is because I realize that some people want the food they make to look exactly the way it does on the box, well in this case, the computer screen. So don’t freak out if yours don’t come out perfect.

When using wheat flour the amount of time you have to keep them in the oven may be different then when using white flour. With the oven I have I keep my muffins in for only 20 minutes and I keep them on the top shelf. Your time may vary because my oven is old. Anyways, while they’re in the oven, if I am not mistaking, she makes the butter mixture. I did mine a little different and that is only because I completely forgot the way she did it by the time I got into the kitchen.

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I used melted, salted sweet cream butter (the ones that come in sticks) and raw sugar along with the rest of the ingredients for the butter mixture. Then I just dipped the muffins in like Patrick in chocolate sauce.

Or you could always spread it on with a butter knife. Now you’ll take the muffins out of the oven:

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Then plate and enjoy!

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Muffin w/ the Sugar Topping!

Everything she makes always turns out so pretty and just makes you want to make them or eat them or both. So I suggest you do. I trust that everyone had a happy Valentines Day and President’s Day Weekend. If you try the recipe using the switched ingredients please tell me! I’d love to know they turned out for you! — Sage

Link to Laura’s Youtube: Here

“Gogumabap”: Sweet Potato Rice — A Recipe by Maangchi

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This is Maangchi’s picture of Gogumabap from off of her blog.

Recently I had a taste for sweet potatoes but, then again, I always have a taste for sweet potatoes. My lovely, lovely sweet potatoes. I have been following Maangchi on Youtube for a few months now. I’ve watched her videos on Yangnyeom Tongdak or Korean fried chicken (here), Jjajangmyeon or Black Bean Noodles (here), Hoddeoks or sweet pancakes (here— this is the first recipe i tried of hers I will do a review on these ones as well), Korean Kimchi (here) and many more. She probably is the only person on Youtube I will watch for Korean recipes. Her more recent videos have really great quality and she is really good at interacting with her watchers and followers on her Youtube channel and on her blog (Maangchi’s blog). The only problem I have with her videos and/or recipes is that the ingredients needed for them are virtually impossible to find in any Asian food market near where I live and just about everything she cooks requires something in a brand that can only be shipped from Korea! But if you live near a nice Asian Market, I envy you and making these recipes should be easy. The recipes that I have tried are very good, though some of them are very extensive and require a lot of preparation but the ones that I am reviewing do not.

Maangchi’s reason for making the gogumabap was, in my opinion, honorable. In the beginning of her video she mentioned wanting to make food that was healthy and easily prepared to help an organization that deals with malnutrition kids with a Vitamin A deficiency, which is something that sweet potatoes are very rich in. I would totally do this so to Maangchi I say, you go Glenn Coco!

Moving on, Sweet Potato Rice! Nom Nom Nom! I never would’ve thought of mixing sweet potatoes and rice to make a dish. So props to you, Maangchi! Making this recipe was very easy for me and the ingredients needed for them were easily found at my local grocery store. If I were to grade this recipe, ‘A’ being the best and ‘F’ being the worst, I would most definitely give this an A. It’s vegetarian, it’s delicious and it’s easy to make. My mom just asked me to make more (this will be my fourth or fifth time in the last couple of months) so I would say that we really like it.

I did not follow this recipe to the T. I did what I call health-itizing the recipe which calls for me using only low sodium and all natural ingredients and it will taste just as good as I’d imagine the original recipe tastes. I would like to point out that I am in no way going over the directions for cooking gogumabap. I am simply showing what I did when trying the recipe and showing the healthy/natural alternative for some of the ingredients. But if you want cooking and time measurements go here for the recipe on her blog. Here we go:

Ingredients for the base: Sweet potatoes and brown rice. Ingredients for the sauce: honey, green onions or Asian chives, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and toasted sesame seeds.

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I doubled the recipe so I used twice as much as she did in her video. (But for the sauce I sort of went with my gut, because using 4 tablespoons of vinegar just seemed like to much—So, I used three). For the base there are almost four sweet potatoes (3 ½, depending on size. Mine were large.) and a doubled amount of rice:100_2645

The steps that go into making the recipe are very simple—it all boils down to chopping and mixing. First, cube the sweet potatoes:

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Then, cook the rice. When making the rice portion of gogumabap it’s a little different because I use brown rice instead of white rice and it takes longer to cook brown rice than it does white. So after rinsing it multiple times like Maangchi suggests, I have to half-cook the brown rice (and I do this instead of letting them soak for a half an hour like she does in the video). You cook them until the grains are soft on the outside but still hard toward the center. This way they can finish cooking with the sweet potatoes.

There are two ways that I know of for cooking brown rice and I will let it be known that in no way am I an expert at this.

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These are my ways of cooking brown rice, and so far nobody’s teeth have fallen out due to undercooked rice. So, yay me! Alas, I can’t take all of the credit because the first way I got from my mom. But, if you are going to boil the water first I suggest you start the boiling before you shave and chop the sweet potatoes this way you can add the rice and start the cooking process after the sweet potatoes are cut. Now, onto the soy sauce mixture.

Combine the ingredients that I mentioned earlier:

–    Honey, Asian Chives, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Hot Pepper Flakes and Toasted Sesame Seeds

I didn’t use hot pepper flakes because I have a three-year-old sister and was afraid it might be to spicy for her little underdeveloped taste buds :). On Maangchi’s blog she mentions you being able to use either green onions or regular chives if you don’t have Asian chives, which I didn’t so I tried making the sauce two different ways: with chives and freshly minced garlic and with green onions and jarred minced garlic which you can see the picture of in the ingredient in the beginning of this post.

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And this is the sauce with green onions and jarred minced garlic:

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And it turned out like this:

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Both versions were good so you can try either one. Also you can interchange these two to make fresh garlic and green onions and/or jarred minced garlic and chives. After you’re finished, transfer to serving bowl or plate and eat up!

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There are multiple ways that you can eat Gogumabap. Here’s one:

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With a boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and an avocado.

Or you can eat it with out soy sauce and with goat cheese instead which is my personal favorite. I get my goat cheese from my local Trader Joes and it comes in the shape of a cylinder.

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If there are any other recipes that you would like me to try or make healthy comment! Also, if you decide to try this recipe, please tell me how it went.

Questions? Comment! And if you breathe, comment! I say it’s just a good idea to comment! *:o)

— sagedandconfused