Making Kimbap with my Mom

Kimbap (or Gimbap) is one of my favorite Korean eats and in honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to show you how one of the best (my MOM!!) makes it from scratch.

Throwback to one of my bridal showers. (circa 2008)

For those of you unfamiliar with kimbap, it is basically the Korean version of sushi (but fresher and less raw fish). This dish is a healthy, super easy one to pack and take as a snack or eat at home (after your kids have gone to bed, because seriously, you aren’t going to want to share.) BEWARE – after you make this once, your family will be begging for it day after day. 😂

Ingredients:

  • Korean Seaweed (aka Kim or Gim) – Make sure you get the full sheets and not the snack size (at least 5 sheets)
  • Rice – Get the short grained variety for this recipe (2 cups, uncooked)
  • Eggs (2 or 3)
  • Carrot (1 large or 2 small)
  • Spinach (1 bag of baby spinach or 2 small bundles of fresh spinach)
  • Garlic Cloves (3 whole or 3 teaspoons of the pre-minced kind)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Soy Sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • White Sugar (1 to 1.5 tablespoons – to taste)
  • Sesame Oil (2 to 2.5 tablespoons – to taste)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Canned Tuna (optional) (1 can)
  • Skirt steak or tenderloin (optional) (.5 pound)
  • Yellow pickled radish (optional) (1 radish or 5 small strips)
  • Cucumber (optional) (1 large or 3 small)

Ok, this seems like a lot, but if you are like me, you will double it and have enough for a couple of days.

Directions:

  • Cook the rice (do yourself a favor and get a rice cooker if you don’t have one already).  A rule of thumb I learned from my mom is that you should rinse the rice at least two times to get it clean. After that, fill the pot to about an inch of water over the rice line.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a mixing bowl and add .5 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.
  • You are ready to prepare your veggies!
    • Dice the carrots into matchstick sized pieces and saute them with a drop of vegetable oil and pinch of salt. (TIP: buy the precut carrots and save yourself a few minutes!)
    • Spinach (recipe here!)
  • Crack Eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and beat. Spray or drizzle some vegetable oil in the pan (just enough to lightly coat the bottom) and add the eggs. Cook the egg on low and flip with a spatula before it gets too brown.
  • The rest is optional:
    • Steaks – Trim the fat from the skirt steaks and slice into ¼ inch wide, 3 to 5 inch strips. Put the strips into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon of pre-minced), ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper,1 tablespoon white sugar, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. (Let marinate while you are prepping the other ingredients.)
    • Tuna – Brace yourself…open the can and drain (whew!) – Many times I opt for this instead of the steak.
    • Yellow pickled radish or Danmuji – cut into thin strips.
    • Cucumber – cut into thin strips or dice like the carrots.

TIP: If you have all of these ingredients ready before you attempt to assemble, it will make your life so much easier!

READY to ROLL:

  • Place a sheet of kim (seaweed) on a bamboo mat (like this one) or just on a cutting board if you don’t have a bamboo mat.

  • Add a layer of rice on the kim (seaweed) on about half of the sheet.
  • Add the carrots, a few egg strips, and spinach in the center of the rice (in addition to tuna or steak)

  • Here’s the tricky part, use both hands to hold the filling and start rolling the kim. Check out the master at work:

  • Then, simply cut the roll into ¼ inch pieces.

If you really want to send this over the edge, dip the pieces in soy sauce or as I like to do, pour a few drops on each piece as you devour them! Ha.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Bright Lights, Big City – My whirlwind work trip to NYC!

Anytime I get an opportunity to visit the Big Apple I jump at the chance! This time, I was there for work. I attended an intense, but really good academy to sharpen my skills after my-somewhat-career-pivot. I was in the classroom from 8am to 5pm. No joke (did I mention it was intense??). However, each day after 5pm, a few girls and I set off to explore the city. Surprisingly, NYC felt a lot smaller than I remembered. While there are tons of huge skyscrapers and masses of people everywhere, once you get your bearings, (and have your walking shoes on), everything you want/need is super accessible!

I originally had planned to arrive early afternoon the first day, however a cancelled flight and a tour of Pennsylvania, I finally made it to LaGuardia around 8pm. (Tip: if you want to get an insider’s scoop on what’s up with the airport you are flying into/out of, follow them on Twitter! Super helpful especially when you are flying in bad weather.) After waiting in a LONG taxi line, I finally made it to my hotel. (Tip: DO.NOT.RIDE with the randos asking you if you want to skip the taxi line, unless it’s your Uber or Lyft driver.)

I was stayed right in Times Square (as all the NY people roll their eyes…ha) and was SO excited to be there and among….the tourists, 🤣.

I was starving and really had my heart set on Korean food. It was 9:30pm and I wasn’t really comfortable navigating to Koreatown, by myself, at that hour. So, next best thing…Seamless! You’ve all heard that you can get anything you want, at anytime you want in the city. Seamless is a great delivery service that brings you food from any participating restaurant. Lucky for me, there was a great Korean restaurant open and I got a fabulous dinner. The banchan and bulgogi was so yummy!!!

So, you know how some little things give you a good feeling and really set the tone of a week?? Well, here was mine: 

This conference had Coke Zero. I was in heaven. Done.

So, when in NYC…right?? I wore grey on black on black the whole week…and loved every minute of it. I really need to get out of this dark wardrobe rut, (I’m trying out Trunk Club…more on that later).

One night we made our way to Chelsea Market. This fabulous market had super unique shops and delicious and affordable restaurants!

I tried a chicken soft taco and pork quesadilla from Los Tacos No. 1. The meat was so tasty and the service was so fast. Plus it was under $12!!!!! If I was a local, I’d be there once a week.

Another night we headed to Central Park. A girl I was sitting next to at the conference was dying to see the carousel. We raced to Central Park but missed it before it closed. However, we did see this great message on our way:

So, Central Park after dark wasn’t the best idea. We followed a little old lady with a dog, to the outer ring where all the runners were congregated. Back on track, away from the wierdos that all seemed to look like Al Pacino. Whew.

Throughout the rest of the week, we went to Carmine’s for dinner, shopped at Century 21, Nordstrom Rack, and everything in Times Square. I loved seeing the sites and taking in all of the architecture.

The second of two major Nor’easters that came through NYC, hit the night before I was supposed to fly out. The snow made the city look beautiful! PTL – the ground crews at the airport were ready and I got out of the city without so much as a delay!!

NYC is always a blast and reminds me of the amazing diversity in our country. You hear the stories of people coming to NYC with $50 in their pocket and making dreams come true. It is so humbling and an great reminder of all I have and motivation to hustle! As much as I loved my work trip, I completely missed my family and was SO happy to see them! I can’t wait to take my kids and show them NYC! Till next time!

XOXO,

Lauren

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V-Day Gift Guide: Super Unique Gifts You Can’t Miss!

Who doesn’t like getting a gift? I realize that there are other “love languages” out there, but let’s be real, no one is going to to turn down a present picked just for them!!  If you are looking for some unique options that will up your gift game from chocolate and flowers for your parents, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, and friends, keep reading!

Capitol Market

We stopped by this market on our way back from Aerial Yoga for some fruit and found a huge selection of tasty treats and drinks! There is something for everyone here. You will find everything from delicious candy, wine, coffee to cheese, meats and fruit. There is something for everyone here!

 

 

Birchbox Subscription

While this isn’t a new idea, Birchbox had evolved with the times and have started curating more personalized boxes of makeup, skincare, nail care, and fragrance options. I absolutely LOVED receiving these boxes each month with new beauty products to try. These start at just $10/month and now have them for the GQ men in your life. 😉

 

UE Wonderboom

This little waterproof, super portable, bluetooth speaker will change your life. The sound quality is awesome. This is a must-have for anyone with kids.  You can easily carry this speaker from room to room for dance parties and sound machine noises. It is also especially good for traveling.

 

Packing Cubes

For your organized friends (or ones that need some organization in their lives), these packing cubes are AWESOME! They are totally worth the less than $25 price tag. I used these when packing my kids for Disney and it was super helpful.  They come in several different colors, which makes it easy to identify whose clothes are in the suitcase!

 

Mousepad

While this might not be the most romantic gift you’ve ever given, I can say that this is one of the best mousepads I’ve ever used! My husband, who spends the majority of his day at the computer, recommended this to me and I haven’t turned back. It is super responsive and under $10! Your techie friends/family will thank you!

 

Silicone Ring

In addition to our Acro Yoga and Aerial Yoga adventures that you’ve seen, these rings would definitely be great for weight training or crossfit workouts. I got my husband one and he says it is super comfortable and would totally recommend it. These are less than $25!

I hope these unique gift ideas will be a great paring with the fun/romantic/crazy night you have planned with your boo or gal-pals!

XOXO,

Lauren

P.S. Make sure to check out the Sushi Bar at Capitol Market – they have some of my favorite grab-n-go treats (even my kids approve!)

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Some of My Favorite Christmas Sweets and Treats for Every Occasion!

For the Big Guy in the Red Suit:

If you have been watching the Food Network over the past couple of weeks, you have seen a million different recipes to make a party special/get into the holiday spirit/surprise Santa (does anyone really think Santa has time to sit down and enjoy a raspberry galette while delivering presents to all the children around the whole world in one night??). If you want something a bit different than cookies, but will still travel well and satisfy Old St. Nick, try Christmas Crack!

Photo Cred: Gal on a Mission

My Aunt Nancy introduced us to this delicious treat a couple of years ago and I was hooked at first bite! It is a great treat to keep around the house to munch on or spread the holiday spirit to your neighbors. (Shock! Horror! I may actually get to know a neighbor.)

 

For Your Child’s Class:

We all want to be that parent that brings the tasty, yet somewhat healthy treat that brings just the right amount of Christmas cheer to the classroom.  *Insert* Fruit Kabobs and Santa Hat Brownies!

Photo Cred: Daisy’s World

Both of these treats were easy to put together (tip for the santa hat brownies: buy the mini brownie bites, add a strawberry, put some icing in a sandwich bag, snip the corner and use it as a piping bag, make a circle of icing around the strawberry and a dot on top). It seemed like most of the kids popped off the strawberry, ate it and threw away the rest. Ha.

 

For the Dips and Desserts Party:

Some of my best holiday memories are making the next dessert – Pecan Tassies!

Photo Cred: Hi Cookery

These mini pecan pies are SOOOO tasty and taste better and better throughout the week. I can’t remember a Christmas without them.

As I started looking through family recipes (and had some major #fails as I tried recreating them), I think what makes them so special are the memories of flour all over the kitchen, feeling exhausted after adding the first ingredients and watching my mom finish the rest (he he), back and forth arguments with my brother about what dessert/how to make it/who would eat the most, my dad eating the lion’s portion of the sweet treats, and everyone passing out on the couch with a plate of tasty cookies/brownies/cake and watching Christmas movies or playing games.

This makes me think about my family of four and the traditions we will create. My son is super into baking right now (which I LOVE) and I am soaking up every minute of it. We have made enough cakes/cookies/muffins to last the whole year!

What are your favorite family traditions and tasty recipes?? Do you have something special that you wouldn’t miss this holiday season?

Here’s to the next few weeks of sweets and treats!

XOXO,

Lauren

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That Time We Almost Dined and Dashed

We had the funniest experience today and have to tell you about it…

It was a typical Monday: I dragged myself out of bed, the kids barely got to school on time, I had a meeting with the boss and planned the rest of the week.  I started feeling hungry, so I texted Jill about lunch. She is in the midst of some serious life moments (new house!!) and informed me that she forgot her wallet, lipstick and powder, so she was going to go home at lunch to get it.  I convinced her that I would spot her some dough and that  we needed to get some Chinese food. She agreed.

 

 

We both get to the restaurant late (of course).  It was surprisingly busy but we got a table and had a delish lunch! We caught up and laughed the whole time. We got our bill and I started fishing around my purse for my wallet. I have a giant bag, so I wasn’t worried at first, then panic started setting in. I DIDN’T HAVE MY WALLET!

So there we were, two moms, two bills, and no wallets. We started digging in our purses and found that we both had our checkbooks! Did they take checks? NOPE! At this point Jill was about to SOS her hubby to bail us out.

More digging… Finally, I found an envelope full of $1’s that I was saving for tips for our upcoming Disney Cruise. I started counting it out and O.M.G. we had enough to cover the bill and leave a $2 tip!

 

 

I was TOTALLY embarrassed to leave all these $1’s. What is this waiter going to think we do for a living?!? Jill tried to explain the situation to the waiter, but we just died laughing.  She then told him to “keep the change” (all $2 of it…ha).

You can’t make this stuff up. This is real life you guys. While dining and dashing crossed our minds, we love that restaurant too much and if we did, would never be able to show our faces again.

Here’s hoping for a less eventful Tuesday!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Don’t Miss Out Before the Summer is Over!!

The first day of school is fast approaching for some of you and for others it’s still weeks away. Either way, grab your family and make the most of the rest of the summer with these ideas!

 

 

 

  • Neighborhood bike rides – Self-admittedly, I don’t have a bike. My son is just to the age where he’s psyched to take “bike rides” (which consist of going round and round in the driveway). I borrowed my dad’s bike and “rode” around with my son. He LOVED it (especially when I crashed into the grass). Remember those fun family bike rides? Get out there with your kids and spend some quality time.

 

  • Pool/Splash Park day – Lather up the kids with sunscreen and park your blanket in the shade. Here’s the blanket I found this summer and love.

 

  • Baseball game – Make a weekend of it! You’ll see pictured above my group of friends (minus a couple of new additions) at our annual family baseball outing. We’ll catch a game on a Saturday and spend Sunday at a museum or aquarium. We love it and I bet you will too – so grab your family friends and get out there and support your team. Don’t skip the hot dogs and ice-cream in the mini-helmet.

 

  • Dinner and a Movie – For those of you with younger kids, a matinee and early dinner might work better. Pick a fun restaurant that your kids like and settle in to chat about their favorite parts of the movie. If they are tired/restless, download a new app for them to play while YOU enjoy dinner. 🙂

 

  • Hike in the local or state park – If you can get away for a weekend, find a state park and book a cabin. Take in those natural wonders and let your kids experience something new. If you need to stay local, lace up, get your bug spray and get those kids out in nature. I’m not a big hiker, but I don’t want to raise a Purell-dipped kid (even though I love my hand sanitizer), so I get out of my comfort zone every so often for the sake of raising a well-rounded kid (did anyone else watch that video on Facebook?).

 

  • Cook out – Fire up that grill and add some hotdogs, hamburgers or chicken. Get your kids involved in the prep. While you are grilling, set up those corn hole boards, volleyball/badminton net or soccer goals and challenge your kids to a game or two (and keep score – see video above).

 

Do you see a pattern of food here?? Ha. In all seriousness, another summer is almost over and those littles are growing up. Does anyone else feel like the years are going by faster and faster? I’m learning that we need to get in as much memory making as we can, because those eighteen years go by fast.

Happy Family Fun!!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Easy Peasy Strawberry Pie Recipe; Perfect For The Fourth Of July

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, my favorite holiday of the year!  To me, the Fourth of July is the height of summer; I look forward to it all year long.  It means sunshine, pool time, family gatherings, lots of laughs, friends, outside play, fireworks, watermelon and strawberry pie – a family tradition.  As I was making strawberry pie today, I decided that it was only fair that I share my easy peasy DELICIOUS recipe with my Glitter Jungle family.  My momma and I have been making this recipe together since I was a kid and it’s always a big hit.  Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients:

  1.  1 Large container of strawberries
  2. 1 Pouch/Cup of strawberry glaze
  3. 1 Graham Cracker pie crust
  4. 1/3 Cup of sugar

 

First you’ll want to chop up your strawberries.  We cut ours into thin slices, rather than big chunks.

 

Isn’t my tiny sous chef adorbs?!? (All the heart eyes, y’all!)

 

After you’ve chopped up all of your strawberries into a large bowl, then you’ll add in one package of strawberry glaze and 1/3 cup of sugar.  (I know…sounds like a lot, right?!  But we’re from the south and we like things sweet.  It’s ok to splurge every now and then!  Just do a few extra burpees tonight.)

 

Stir thoroughly until all of the sugar and glaze is mixed in.  Then you’ll pour your strawberry pie filling into your graham cracker pie crust.

 

Voila!  Your pie is complete.  Now you’ll want to cover the pie and put it in the fridge for a few hours to chill and firm (I suggest at least 2-3 hours ahead of meal time.  The longer it sets, the better.)

 

Other Serving Options:

Although I enjoy the pie just as it is, we have family members who love to add cool whip,  vanilla ice cream and even Hershey’s spread as a topping.  I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any of these toppings!

 

Happy Snacking, y’all!   And, most importantly, Happy Fourth of July to our great nation.

XOXO

Jill

 

(Affiliate Products Included.)

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Food Your Family Will Actually Eat – Korean Style Spinach

Spinach.  What a polarizing little vegetable. For those of you who love it, great! For those of you who add a little to your salad to be healthy, I hear ya.  In either case, I am about to change your life with a family recipe.

Here is a disclaimer: I’m not a great cook.  I am more of a baker.  I like the precise measurements and the predictability of baking.  However, when I got up the courage to attempt some of my favorite Korean recipes (with frequent Face Time calls with my mom), I couldn’t believe how easy they are! This spinach recipe is pretty easy and SO tasty that it has won over some of the most picky eaters I know. Delicious, healthy food with little effort? Um, check yes!

Here’s how to make it!

Prep time: 10 mins (or less) / Cook time: 10 minutes / Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of baby spinach (or 2 small bundles of fresh spinach)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic (or 1 to 2 clove(s) of garlic, finely chopped)
  • 1 bundle of green onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sesame seed
  • 1 pinch of sugar

Tip: If your spinach is looking too “wet” start adding less of each ingredient.  Taste it as you go (I hate doing this, but it’s the only way).

First, bring water to a boil.

 

 

Then, pour the spinach into the water.

 

 

Make sure and submerge all of the spinach and stir (bring the bottom to the top and vice versa). This should take about 30 seconds.  Immediately after, strain the spinach and run cold water over it, while gently tossing.

 

 

After, squeeze all of the liquid out of the spinach. This will take a minute or so, but getting as much excess water out as possible will make everything taste better.

 

 

Next, add the soy sauce, garlic, green onions, sesame oil, sesame seed, and sugar.

Don’t let the tablespoon fool ya, I only used half of it.

 

The purist method calls for actual garlic cloves. Who has time for that?? This minced garlic is a super easy substitute.

 

I used all of this, however, feel free to add as little or as much as you want.

 

It’s best to slice these pretty small (I could have gone even smaller…)

 

Sesame Oil gives me LIFE! You can find this in the “asian” section of any grocery store.  It generally comes in a much smaller bottle. (I inherited this industrial size from my mom.)

 

Toasting the sesame seed gives it a little extra oomph! However, you can use it without toasting.

Mix with YOUR HANDS! Apparently, if you don’t do this is will not be that awesome…something about 손맛, “son-mat” (Google it sometime).

 

 

Add this mixture to a plate, garnish with a little more sesame seed, refrigerate for about 30 mins (or eat it right away because it will smell so good that you can’t wait).

 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

XOXO,

Lauren

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