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2013-08-01 19.40.41

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s apple trees have been producing like crazy this year!  They are wonderfully sweet, juicy, crisp apples that stand well on their own, and are fabulous in apple sauce, apple pie, coffee cakes and such.

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Now that the nice fall temperatures have been taking a break and scorching heat is upon us once more, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has come up with this new, and most fabulously refreshing drink, that will make you think you are having liquid, chilled apple pie, except better, and all healthy and good for you!

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Here is what you do (after you picked the apples):

Into the blender container, put the following:

1/8 – 1/4 cup nuts – we use a good mixture of almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, pine nuts and sometimes peanuts – feel free to use whatever you like, and can tolerate.  We use the same mixture used here.   If you cannot have nuts, we have successfully used all natural, gluten free protein powder

1/2 – 1 cup ice cubes

sprinkle of cinnamon or apple pie spice

2-3 apples, peeled (you can leave the peel on if you prefer)

depending on the sweetness of your apples, add maple syrup to your liking – you can use any sweetener you like, but we love the flavor, and love knowing it is all natural, pretty much straight out of the tree

add chilled water (although coconut milk also works well) – enough to the consistency of your liking – we typically make it more into a cold drink, but enjoy it as smoothie as well

And there you have it!  Enjoy and get energized!

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And as an extra bonus, do check out the story of the apple farmers in Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s book, “The Silent Master,” starting on page 127.  You will love it!

No leftovers!

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Sometimes it’s all in the presentation.

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim always puts great emphasis on the right presentation, whether that be food, or flowers, or a gift. When you want to show someone you really love them, you will probably cook with all your heart and set up a beautiful table and have candlelight….you wouldn’t just throw down a paper plate with a hamburger from a fast food place, right?  This presentation thing is the same with letters, resumes, cover letters and pretty much every aspect of life!

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So, in my last post I introduced you to one of my childhood favorites.  When I made a second batch (just purely for taking pictures, cough cough) I had made way too much of the filling.  Now, as I was looking at the bowl full of (albeit very delicious tasting) goop, I got all kinds of ideas what to do with it.

Remembering Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim‘s words, I realized that putting out that bowl of goop and telling people how great it tastes, just wouldn’t do.  I mean, look at the stuff!

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However, didn’t I say in my previous post that it should have the consistency of cake pops??  Oh yes!

So, you can guess what I did!  Go ahead, and to the same!  And if you really want to take this over the top, freeze this for a bit – and then enjoy this cool, new treat!

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Did you know that your environment will influence you, for good or bad?  If you happen to walk into a house where there is a lot of conflict – even if there is peace at that moment, that “conflict” energy will sooner or later get to you, one way or another.  This is what Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has taught me, and she went to explain further that we also associate different foods with different qualities.  For example, Great Grandmaster Kim explains, if you were eating spaghetti when you got news that your sister just had that baby, you will most likely – consciously or subconsciously – associate spaghetti with “happy” and it will be a great time for you whenever you have it.

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Well, in my case, the above.  Punschkrapferl, as they are called in my native Austria.  It could be translated into something like punch cupcakes.  Growing up, when we were poor, being able to go to a pastry shop on a Sunday afternoon, and get one of those, was pure bliss.  It was heaven with a pink frosting.  It is, to this day, a reminder of happy, peaceful, childhood days.

I hadn’t had one in about 7 years, before I went gluten-free and was on a visit to Austria.  But ever since I found that “Perfect Pound cake” from Shirley, it has been on my mind to re-create these Punschkrapfen.  Last night was it!

First, either get some organic, apricot jam.  Or, make your own on the spot, as I did, from home-frozen apricots, a touch of honey, and some brandy.  Let it cook until nice and thick, and taste often :)  Quantities?  Well, maybe 3-4 cups fresh or frozen apricots, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup brandy.  Cook until thick, set aside.

For the cupcakes, I used a double quantity of Shirley’s pound cake, recipe here.  It really is the perfect building block for this!  Bake it in cupcake tins.

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Once done, let them cool off, and then cut them into thirds, like this:
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Take all the middle pieces, and mix them with the apricot jam until you have a consistency of cake pops, so, not too smushed up, still having some texture, but very very moist.  Add some brandy according to your taste buds, and add some chopped up walnuts, or hazelnuts.

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Punschkrapfen filling

Now, take some of the filling, and put it nicely on the bottom layer of the cupcake.  Be generous with the filling, make it at least 1 1/2 – 2 inches tall, then put the top on.  Repeat with all the cupcakes.  You may need to change the cupcake paper holders, to make it all look nice.

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Then, the frosting is the easy part.  If you are squeamish about regular powdered sugar and food coloring, feel free to use any substitute you can think of.  Please let me know too – would love to try!

Mix gluten-free powdered sugar with a small amount of brandy (or just water) and tiny amount of red food coloring, just enough to make it look bright pink.  Mix enough to get out any lumps, and then pour over the assembled Krapfen.

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Don’t you just want to grab one and bite into it?

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To make everyone happy, I covered some of these cupcakes in chocolate.  Completely untraditional, but still very good, and a concession to those that can’t do without.

And here you have it!

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim says that of course we cannot go back in time and re-live even so much as a minute, but we sure can go back in our memories and re-create things that made us happy!

Note: all the food styling was done by my dear friend and fellow Jung Suwon warrior, Master Holly Chamberlain!

Before I get into this great topic – let me tell you that at the end of this post you will find a most delightful story by Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, where the lowly humble cabbage plays a major role.  If you have time – please read it!

I am sure everyone has heard how healthy cabbage is.  It’s full of cancer fighting components, helps reduce cholesterol and is therefore good for heart health, is packed with antioxidants, has a lot of anti-inflammatory qualities, and is excellent for your digestive tract.

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Several cultures have propelled cabbage to their national foods, such as Kim Chi in Korea (a very nice spicy fermented cabbage) and of course Sauerkraut of the Germans.  They are both very very good and very very healthy.  Give them a try, if you haven’t!

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim‘s favorite is to have either just plain Napa cabbage leaves, raw, and eat them with a spoon of brown rice and goju jang, a hot red pepper sauce.  Or steamed regular cabbage.

I love cabbage prepared in all kinds of ways and always like to come up with new and exciting ways to incorporate it into our food plan.

Yesterday, I started out, like I so often do, by sauteing chopped onions and chopped garlic in a little olive oil.

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Then, I added shredded cabbage .

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Just that, by itself, with a tiny bit of salt, was very very good.  But I wanted to combine it with some protein and make a meal out of it.  On consulting with my refrigerator, I saw organic, non-GMO tofu there, as well as eggs from the local farmers market.  I put half the block of tofu and an egg into the blender, and some parsley and gave it a whirl.

Then I combined the tofu mixture and the (slightly cooled off) cabbage mixture and put it in ramekins, which I then steamed.

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It didn’t take very long, about 10 minutes or less, to have it “set.”

It turned out really good, very subtle and gentle flavors, yet the cabbage still shining through.

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I understand many people nowadays don’t  eat any soy products, but still give this a try – just leave out the tofu and add another egg, or maybe substitute cheese if you can have dairy.

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Go ahead, dig in your spoon and enjoy, and if you like, you can add any sauce you want, although I myself prefer to just let the simple earthy flavors come through.

Now, to that cabbage story.

“Once there was a king who had grown very bored and disenchanted with life.  He went from one meaningless and stagnant day to another finding no satisfaction or pleasure in anything.  He had even lost his taste for food, and all his traditional exotic dishes no longer yielded the joys they once had.  He grew so tired and apathetic that he issued a proclamation that whoever could bring him a dish that truly pleased him would be richly rewarded.

The greatest cooks came from all over the world bringing their best dishes.  But the king didn’t like any of them.  Life continued to be one boring dish after another.

One day a poor farmer came to the palace.  “Your Majesty, I have the most incredible dish you have ever tasted.  On this earth there is no other that can match it, but this dish takes some special preparation, and in order for you to fully enjoy it, I must ask that you eat nothing else until it is ready, ” the farmer said.  The king, by now so bored with his life, was willing to take the chance.

So the farmer left to prepare his special dish.

The next day the farmer arrived empty-handed in the king’s hall.  The king asked, “Well, where is my food?”

“I am sorry your Majesty.  It will be ready soon, I promise, but you must still keep your bargain.”

The next day, the farmer returned again, empty-handed.  This time the king was furious.  “Where is my food?” he roared.

The farmer replied humbly, “Oh, Your Majesty, I am still preparing.”

“Still preparing?” the king fumed.  “I am starving, and you are still only preparing?”

“I assure you this is the most fabulous food you have ever tasted,” the farmer pleaded.  If you’ll only wait one more day, it will be ready.”

Although the king was very angry and hungry, he was also anxious to relieve his boredom.  “All right,” he agreed.  “One more day.”

The next day the king awoke very early, his whole body filled with anticipation.  He could think of nothing but the farmer’s mysterious dish.  When the time came near for the farmer to arrive, it was all he could do to contain his excitement.

Finally, from beyond his hall the king heard the light footsteps of the farmer.  He smelled the most divine of smells.  His whole body reverberated with incredible sensations of pleasure and delight.  The farmer came closer.  The king could feel his mouth salivating and his stomach grumbling as his entire attention focused on the farmer’s simple porcelain bowl and its precious cargo.

The farmer lifted the lid to expose one thick slice of cabbage, steamed perfectly.  It was the most simple of dishes, but at that moment, it was a precious as the world to the king.

The king bit into this pure, plain, and simple cabbage.  Nothing in his life had ever tasted so good.  His senses came alive as he felt once again the intense pleasure of taste, and smell, and texture.  The king was so overjoyed that he made the poor farmer a rich man.”

2013-07-30 finished power drink

Sometimes I get really lucky.  It’s a great day when I get a phone call from my Martial Arts teacher, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim.  It’s an especially great day when that call is about a new, healthy recipe to try out.

A couple of days ago, I got to try out her super secret – and now shared – recipe for a very healthy power drink.  You can either have this as a smoothie, or a more liquid drink.  If you prefer a smoothie, make sure your blueberries are frozen, and add some ice cubes.

Here is the original recipe, but feel free to experiment if you have any nut allergies.  The blueberries are there for a reason, as they are helping with antioxidants, fight Alzheimer’s, and do a host of other good things for your body.  But of course, you are welcome to experiment.

Start by assembling the nuts.  To save time, I have made up individual serving baggies that look something like this:

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In each bag, there are (approximately) 3 – 4 of each (except more of the pine nuts because they are so small):

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Put those in a blender, along with about a cup of blueberries, more or less.  I always use frozen ones.  Add honey according to your sweet tooth, and add enough water to make it your desired thickness.  If you want more of a meal replacement, use any milk instead of water – coconut milk is superb with this.

Blend really really well, and enjoy ice-cold.  If I have this for breakfast, I am not hungry for a long time!

And my quote for the day, by Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, doesn’t really have to do with either nuts or berries or even food, but I happened upon it and loved it so much I wanted to share it with you:

“The whole purpose of change, the whole purpose of continuous cycles of yin and yang is to take you higher, to make you grow, to give you more of what will lead you to a truer expression of your Real Self.  Never be afraid of change.  All changes lead you into greater good.  That is the purpose of change and the purpose of life.”  (Seven Steps to Inner Power, page 51)

2013-07-26 red bean ice cake

When Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim was just a little girl, they didn’t have any ice cream in Korea.  They didn’t have electricity, or ice cream makers, or even the concept of any food that wasn’t meant to simply nourish.  Sweets?  Ice cream?  No way.  Just things to keep you alive and reasonably well, especially during and after the Korean War.

With the American Soldiers – to whom Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim is forever grateful for saving her and her family’s lives, came some things she had never heard of before, such as chocolate, coffee, candy, ice cream, among many other things.

And while she could never even dream of having any of those goodies – she was barely allowed to survive on whatever little food she could scrape and scratch together – she always wondered what they would taste like.  For example, once in a while an ice cream vendor would come through her village, in the summer, peddling his wares, yelling out, “Ice cakes, ice cakes….”

It was only much later in her life that she finally could taste these simple treasures, and enjoy them.  Here is how I have learned to make this ice cream, healthy dairy free, gluten-free version.

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First, soak your red Azuki beans.  Soak them in a LOT of water.  They are big guzzlers, so go overboard with the water, and soak them for at least a day.

Boil the soaked beans and you will need to make enough to have 2 cups of boiled beans.

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This is what the red beans look like after boiling

It’s ok if you end up overcooking the beans, because most of them will end up in your blender.  Let the beans cool off.

Now, put a can of full fat coconut milk (or use any other milk you like) in your blender.

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add 2 cups of cooked beans and keep the leftover beans handy.

Add anywhere between 3/4 cups – 1 1/2 cups of honey.  Traditionally, this isn’t very sweet, so I normally use less than a cup.  But if you prefer it sweeter, use the full amount.  Here is my current favorite honey:

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I love how it says “made by American bees!”

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This is the inside of my blender, with all the ingredients in place

Set your blender on either Ice cream, or smoothie setting, and process until it’s all nice and smooth.

Put it all into your prepared ice cream maker, and let it go!

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Doesn’t it look cool how the ice cream maker swirls around the future ice cream?
When the ice cream is almost done, add the rest of the cooked, cooled, whole beans, up to 1 cup, but you can add as few as you want.

Then, either put the ice cream into popsicle molds (which is the traditional way to serve this) or put it into a container and store in freezer.  My popsicle didn’t look good enough to take pictures of, although they tasted awesome!

Either way, it is a most delicious and healthy way to enjoy a cool treat on a hot summer’s day!

If the ice cream isn't sweet enough for you, drizzle with honey....

If the ice cream isn’t sweet enough for you, drizzle with honey….

“You have the power to fulfill your dreams!”

Note: Shirley over at GFE gets the credit for me attempting to convert the original recipe – so surprise my teacher with this new concoction.  Thanks for your ice cream recipes!

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…When the dog bites, when the bee stings….who hasn’t had days like that?  Days when you just need a little something to eat, something that soothes you, and makes you feel happy inside and out, and that makes you forget whatever troubles, worries or bad things you have gone or are still going through.

My Martial Arts teacher, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, has this to say about those times:

“Rejoice in the lesson of pain and hurt, it gives you strength, it gives you freedom!”

And why not have some food to help with the rejoicing?

Strangely enough, in the winter, this can be a nice bowl of home-made chicken soup.  But in the hot summer, what to do?  Real comfort food, when I myself need comfort, needs to be fast, easy and have that taste that spells home-made, and makes you feel the world is ok.

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When nobody is around, I like to resort to a mug cake, or mug cookie or mug anything – they are so quick and easy and one-portion goodness.  But when family is around, I like to make something that everyone can enjoy.

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So, I make some concessions.  While I could easily make Shirley’s perfect pound cake over and over (and over and over) again – it is that good – I realize that this will not work for everyone.  But, I just discovered her Blueberry Banana Buckle (recipe here) and it surely hit the spot.  It’s summer comfort food to the max.  Check it out!

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This time, I did something new:  didn’t add anything, didn’t change anything – but I left out the topping!  My recently cast-less foot was starting to hurt and so I just figured this cake will be just as good without – and it was!

Enterprising family members informed me that it was the perfect “underneath” for ice cream as well ;)

And because I just love this part of one of Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim‘s motivational books, I thought I would share it with you:

“You are complete, peaceful, and fulfilled.

Being complete does not mean we have nothing more to learn, do, be, or become.  Being complete means we have the potential to accomplish anything that is naturally a part of the universe.” (The First Element, page 88)

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