Wednesday, January 5, 2011


January 2011 is here! Happy New Year! With the dawn of the near year, most people have probably thought one of the three things:
1. This year I will (enter resolution)
2. I can't believe 2011 is already here!
3. I need to lose my holiday weight.

In terms of #3, my husband and I have decided that we're getting serious about this weight loss and the tangible ways we can accomplish this without slipping is:
a) eat smaller portions
b) give ourselves a dose of truth each day and step on our new scale
So where did we gain this holiday weight? Texas and Wisconsin, home of good eats! This year, it was Thanksgiving in Texas and Christmas in Wisconsin.


From the airport, my brother picked us up and we all took the 2 hour drive to Hempstead, Texas which was not too far from Houston. My Uncle has a ranchhouse on a big plot of land which our families from Houston and Austin came to.  My mom, aunt and some younger ladies of the family helped with the preparation ni my Aunt's country/rustic kitchen and the results were amazing. The spread was substantial! Unfortunately, we didn't catch any pictures of the food nor the beautiful house, but I can say that my mom, aunt and cousin did a wonderful job with the food. Highlights were my mom's glazed ham and my aunt's stuffing. Two of the greatest cooks ever! Right in their tracks is my cousin, Hana, who seems to think of something really inventive every year. The other year was an amazing holiday drink and this year she had a "leftover casserole" which consisted of ingredients from the thanksgiving table with a few extra ingredients all baked into a casserole dish. You're amazing, little cous.

This was the first Thanksgiving that Kee and I were spending with my side of the family and in the Korean culture, the new couple bows together to the family. We bowed to the adults and when it came to the kids, I think we'd all agree it was akward to be so formal to eachother. So on the cue, we all faced eachother and bowed. The Korean bow is done from head down to the floor which we did with the adults,

but either we all had ESP or are plain lazy second generation cousins, we all bent at the waist.

It seemed normal to the younger ones but the adults were shocked! Relieved the akwardness was over and the hilarity of the cousins thinking exactly the same way, the whole room, adults and cousins alike had a good laugh.

Then it was away from the formality to a game of spoons! With a twist, we added a spoon shuffler, Ariel, and we said she could move the spoons however she wanted. She favored people at times (her mom! ) by putting all the spoons in front of one person, played peach maker by putting them out equally in front of everybody and when she was feeling miscievious, she hid them in another room which led us into an epic battle to just even get in the door!

So after spending the time there, it was back to Austin where we enjoyed Texas and Mom's cooking. It was Kee's birthday so she went all out to make banchans, kalbi jjim and of course, meeyuk kuk. While my mom was prepping the amazing meal, My dad, brother, Kee and I helped my dad pick the last persimmons off our tree for the season as well as some grapefruits. We had to get the persimmons down with an extended tree saw and a long crab net!

and after helping my dad in the yard, we came inside to my mom's wonderful  homemade food. :)

We also hit up Countyline and Rudy's while we were there. In Texas, when you say "ribs" it's not baby back ribs, but beef ribs.

And my brother, Kee and I met with Jinny and Kee's friend Mike over Rudy's and Mozarts. Creamed corn, oh how I've missed you~~

For diner it was back home, where we had a Texas-Korean BBQ. My mom and dad teamed up for the grill! My mom marinated kalbi and my dad grill the kalbi, the Texas Jalepeno (YUM!) sausage and the corn. While my brother, Kee and I played some basketball to get in some exercise, we'd stop to catch some fresh kalbi my dad was taking off the grill. Let me tell you, fresh kalbi off the grill should be the next world wonder. Instead of gatorade for NBA basketball players, it should be kalbi. They would win more games that way!

Here we are, around the table. Even if we all knew it was her, my mom wouldn't claim the amazing kalbi she marinated! We are all proud of Dad's grilling and the "kids", well...we'll happily do the eating! :)


For Christmas, it was off to Wisconsin a land with large plots of land and covered in snow. Kee used a snow blower for the first time to clear his parents' driveway. :)

Lots of great food from my mother-in-law as well as a nice meal at a steak restaurant. My mother in law loves to make beautiful table scapes and this is a "simple" Christmas breakfast she created for us the day we left.

We also visited a steak house while there. The meal started with a seafood appetizer which was pretty amazing. King Crab legs, shrimp, lobster, tuna tartare and oysters.

A non-traditional cob salad. Interesting plating!

Steaks with sides of honey sweet potatoes, lobster mac and cheese and asparagus with hollandaise. Yum yum.

We drove to Chicago to visit some of our friends and their kids and Tim and Cindy treated us to quite a feast! Wings from Great Seas, Clam Chowder and biscuits from Bob Chin's, mussels in wine sauce, scallops, lobster claws and finished with a Moscato Asti! Thanks guys~ Later, the soon to be wedded couple, Hannah and Jason joined us too.



And on Christmas morning, we went to early morning church service at my father-in-law's church. It was hard to wake at 5:15am since we came in at 1am after visiting our friends, but it had it's rewards.

My FIL gave a sermon on faith that referred to the story of Jesus on a boat with his disciples. As he fell asleep, a storm fell upon the boat and the disciples were worried and woke Him. He told them not to worry and have faith because He is in control of all things as He calmed the storm before their eyes. Great words for the year.

Afterwards the service, we visited a Yugoslavian family with my FIL and MIL to wish them Merry Christmas. They were so hospitable... We were invited in the house and the Mrs quickly set up a whole table of goodies and coffee! Amongst them, freshly made baklava. Yum~~

And that wasn't the only treat..the Mr had recently retired and started raising some chickens. The chicken had eggs and they hatched days before we came!

And on our flight back...well, our flight got cancelled due to the big storm on the East Coast. Thousands of flights got cancelled including ours and the next flight out was four days later! So we rented a Jeep Liberty and headed back for 13 hours. Praise God there were no major problem and slid into home at 4am.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays with your families and Happy New Year~ Stay tuned for more food discorveries and eats in 2011!

Bon Appetite!


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