Musings: 2 Years of Blogging, Overnight Oats, Korean Strawberries, and Random Links

My Conversion to Overnight Oats

I tend to scoff and roll my eyes at most of the latest health eating trends mainly because so many of them tout and pass off certain ingredients and foods as some miracle, cure-all solution for all of one's nutritional and dietary needs.

Among such trending food lately, I kept hearing and reading about something called overnight oats. The premise is actually rather simple- you add some quick oats with milk, fruits, yogurt, seeds, and whatnot together in your fridge overnight where the oats will soak and everything comes together. Now I have nothing against oats or things made from it- such as (dull) oatmeal or (delicious) oatmeal cookies- but come on, there's nothing quite as snooze-worthy as oats and I was convinced this "overnight oats" would taste more like a soggy, watery bowl of leftover oatmeal.

As winter has been blowing through Korea though, I've been realizing that I've been eating a lot of bread and carby foods like rice cakes for breakfast which, as tasty as they are, just doesn't quite take you through to lunch time on most days.

With overnight oats though, one of its claims is that the fiber high yet nutritious composition makes it a great start to your day by keeping you feeling full and releasing sugars slower. So, with most of the ingredients for this trending breakfast at hand, I decided to give it a shot recently and

Bam.

Call me an O.O.-bie (overnight oats) as this is now my jam in the mornings (along with 2 or 3 mugs of strong black coffee). I've found that the claims are true- I'm feeling fuller, concentration and energy is maintained (though the coffee is definitely helping a great deal), and most importantly, the ish actually tastes pretty good!


I've been keeping it simple but this is basically how I've been doing them:
- 1/3- 1/2 cup of oats
- a handful of mixed, roasted almonds
- a smaller handful of dried fruit
- 1 tsp of Chia Seeds
- 1 tbsp of misutgaru (a whole grain powder of barley, brown rice, etc, that Koreans usually mix with water or milk for a drink)
- 1/4-1/3 cup of fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, etc)
- 2-3 heaping tbsp of homemade yogurt (keeping that sugar out)
- Enough milk to cover the oats
- A pinch of salt

Some people like to add some honey or even sugar but I've found the dried and fresh fruit provides more than enough sweetness for me. Plus my bag of dried fruit comes with some "Greek Yogurt" chips which, I'm quite certain there's sugar in it but I'm too lazy to sift through and pull them out.

I think part of the bonus with the overnight oats is that having to eat it with a spoon makes you eat slower than scarfing down, say, a breakfast sandwich. I have to say that bit of fresh fruit though really takes it to the top. You can omit a lot of the other stuff but be sure to get some fruit in there!

In addition to the completely simple and easy way of being thrown together the night before, you can really add some variety and change to it so you don't get stuck eating the same old thing- throw in some nut butter, maybe even a spoon of Nutella, cottage cheese, heck, I've even seen recipes where people threw in blended spinach and such.

To each their own I say but overnight oats, I'm liking where our relationship is going so far!


The Glory That is the Korean Strawberry

When you're an American living abroad, there's certainly a long list of food that you miss from home. But after spending 6 years living in Korea, I know one food for certain I will miss terribly when I return back to the States and that is the strawberries here. 

The berry that is of the straw kind (why are they called strawberries, by the way?) are among my most favorite fruits (joined by the mango, the pineapple, and any citrus fruit) but I've realized now that the strawberries I've had growing up in the States simply do not compare to the kind here.

The strawberries in Korea, first of all, are just so gosh darn petite and cute. 


But the best thing about them is their subtly sweet flavor. The strawberry varieties I've had in the States have mostly been one-dimensional in taste- often tart bombs or the occasional sweet ones. But the varieties here are sweet without being so in a cloying way. It's a gentle sweetness that's soft in taste which is probably why it's so easy to go through a whole container of them in one sitting. Seriously, any self restraint goes out the window when you have a few containers of sweet Korean strawberries at home!

It's widely growing in recognition from folks from abroad too and if you walk down the streets of Myeongdong even now, you can see carts and even trucks selling them by the container to eager tourists.

Strangely enough in Korea, it's the current late-end winter season when the strawberries are in peak so if you're swinging through Korea this time of the year, make sure you get your hands on some fresh ones! They definitely are worth every won :)

2 Year Anniversary Coming Up!

I was just checking through the blog when I realized that next week (the first week of March) is the 2nd year anniversary of this blog! I can't believe how fast time has flew by that it's already been two years since this lil thing was begun as a side hobby of mine.

Back when I started this, I had no idea how much work and effort went into blog writing. It could just be my somewhat perfectionist tendencies but trying to provide accurate information, good quality pictures, clear instructions/directions, and whatnot really takes time and even now I'm backlogged up the wazoo in posts that I've half completed or yet to write.

The amount of effort and time it takes to post things can feel overwhelming, especially when life picks up in speed, so admittedly I've had some lulls in postings and some lackadaisical periods. But I draw a lot of strength and morale from the occasional compliments from friends or comments made on posts.

Just a few weeks ago, one reader from Thailand shared with me the awesome photos she took of a few dishes she made using my recipes which really put a smile on my face. I mean, check out how beautiful they are!

 


How cool is that? You can check out more of her cooking and photos from her FB page.

All this goes to say, I'm happy to hear people are enjoying the blog and keeping up with it. Since the blog is purely a hobby thing, we'll see how many years I'll continue to keep it up but thanks for the 2 years so far and hope to share more eats with you all for many, many years to come!

Random Food Links

27 diagrams to make cooking easier

Business Insider rates the best sushi in Tokyo (Very subjective but interesting read)

Travel + Leisure Magazine rates Portland as the #1 best coffee city in the United States (Seattle in second). Portland, represent!

Know the difference between "sell by", "best before", and "use by"

How free trade agreements changed food forever in North America (Really a fascinating read on how FTAs can make a positive impact on the dietary habits of people in the world)

What your cravings are telling you about your body and health

That tilapia you're eating might be pretty non-healthy, pumped with antibiotics, and raised on poop

Bug recipes :)

And for a bonus, game for some mealworm tofu?

Tabasco revamps its Sriracha hot sauce and is winning over fans

23 delicious things to eat in LA that are under 10 bucks (Ohhh... LA. I miss ya)

What a cup of tea looks like around the world in 22 different countries

Eat all the parts of your vegetable, including the roots and stems 

Reasons why your coffee habit is good for you (though the amount they say you need to drink is quite a lot...)

Not a McD lover myself but for those who are, some hacks for the golden arches

10 essential kimchi dishes from Chow (Kimchi is really growing in popularity!)

21 sandwich spots in America you must visit (I would totally do a sandwich road trip if I could...)

Why those Keurig coffee pods are a big ol' waste and hurting the earth (Really folks, skip the wasteful pod coffees... it's not difficult to make your own brew)

11 basic rules in cooking (Good tips for beginner cooks)

If you've ever wondered what the difference between table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, etc, are.

Fascinating story on a restaurant that makes a never-ending broth by boiling and straining with new food scraps everyday. Sounds questionable at first but the broth is used to flavor much of their dishes.

5 ingredient slow cooker recipes

All the coffee terms you'll want to know to order like a pro

Man does 10 different diets over 50 days and shares which ones worked and didn't

15 easy and portable lunches to take to work (Do the portable mason jars work? Anyone tried before?)

How to store your food better

24 healthy and delicious things to make in your slow cooker

Forget about the ramen burger, how about the pho burger?

22 Malaysian food recipes

Restaurant in China gives free food if you're beautiful

11 different recipes using kimchi

How to prepare healthy food without ruining their benefits

23 low carb lunches that are still filling (Looks like a lot of work but delicious)

24 sauces you can make at home

Science reveals more about the taste of umami

Korean government to allow the making and selling of 'house makgeollis'

Korean girls sample and review American snacks for the first time

Full sensory eating trend on the rise

Fascinating color photographs from Korea in 1952 (Non-food related but so cool!)