Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

Yesterday, September 30th, was Chu Seok this year, the Korean Harvest Festival.  This is a very important celebration in Korea, and since I have been training under Dr. Tae Yun Kim for many years, I have come to love this festival.  It is all about giving thanks for the new crops, new harvest, and it’s about gratitude to family and friends, and of course, sharing fresh foods of all kinds is vital.  Think of it as a Korean Thanksgiving.

Dr. Tae Yun Kim explained to us that according to tradition, you must cook freshly harvested rice, make rice cakes, and serve fresh fruits of all sorts, grapes, pears, apples and Korean dates head that list.  Also fresh pumpkin and pumpkin soup, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, and corn are very typical.

I wanted to present Dr. Kim with something that included a good amount of the traditional foods, and yet also have meaning for Jung Suwon warriors.  I didn’t just want to make a good tasting cake, although I knew it must be that too, but I wanted to go beyond that.

So I started out with a double recipe of Shirley cake, uhm make that, “Perfect Pound Cake“, just click on it and it’ll get you to the recipe.  (we call it Shirley cake in honor of its creator and because we make it so much.)

The batter is perfect.  You can make it just as it states in the recipe, or you can put “stuff” in it.  Which I like to do a lot.  My first “alteration” was to add some cinnamon.

So, I was peeling and chopping a couple handfuls of boiled chestnuts – about a 3/4 cup total, and peeling and chopping baked Korean style sweet potatoes – also around 3/4 cups total, chopping up walnuts – half a cup, and one and a half chopped fresh white peaches (humongous ones.) I gently folded all these into the batter.

I was thinking, chestnuts are hidden away under a very prickly outside shell, if you just look at it, you wouldn’t know what a treasure is inside.  The same with walnuts – there is a tough covering on the outside, which turns nasty when ripe, and then there is a very hard shell – and then you get to the sweet and tasty nut – who would ever know that by just looking at them?

And again, sweet potatoes grow underground, and by just looking, you might never know what’s underneath – unless of course, as with all these things – you know what to look for.

And that is exactly how Dr. Kim helps people.  She knows what is deep inside them, no matter how they look, how they behave, and no matter what they think of themselves.  Like a farmer knows how to bring the best out of the ground, as crops, so Dr. Kim knows how to bring out the best in people.

Happy ChuSeok!


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I was going to blog about the great, delicious crab-mushroom cakes I made the other day, but then this happened.  My good friend Shirley from Gluten free easily talked about her banana Kaluha coconut cake, complete with picture and everything.

Well, I felt this incredible pull tugging on me and sure enough before I knew it I was back in the kitchen.  I had to smile to myself. Dr. Tae Yun Kim always reminds us that we need to be flexible, and not just physically.  When your environment changes, when the situation changes,Dr. Tae Yun Kim says, we have to change according to the situation.

Dr. Dr. Tae Yun Kim illustrated this with a story: one of her students had planned a cruise to the Bahamas for a long time, and was all packed and ready and beyond excited.  However, the day she was about to travel to the port of departure, a hurricane was forming and there were already travel warnings going out.  Rather than cancel, she still went ahead, because she had already paid for the cruise and didn’t want to just cancel.  Within a day or two of the cruise, the hurricane manifested in all it’s nastiness, and not only did the travelers have to get off the ship in a hurry, they were also stuck for almost a week at a hurricane stricken island, with minimal food, water and worries about the storm.  Not an ideal vacation!

While granted, my situation wasn’t nearly that drastic, I still didn’t mind changing direction, and went ahead to make this delicious looking cake.  I mean, it was a good excuse to make that cake, right?

Fresh out of the oven…..

Here is the original recipe, go check it out!

I could already taste the cake, while I was mixing the ingredients together.  What aroma!  What smooth batter!  I did make a minor change  – I used double the amount, so I could bake it in my bundt pan, and I substituted – for the double recipe – 2 cups almond flour, and for the rest used Shirley’s gluten-free flour mix.

When I reached for the coconut, to add that to the batter, I couldn’t believe it.  None there!  Impossible!  I knew I had 3 bags!  Someone, who for the sake of peace in the household will remain unnamed, had thrown it out because “a mouse had gotten into each bag.”  Hmmmmm.

Once again I thought if a very fitting quote from Dr. Kim – don’t carve in your emotions – instead, let them flow away like water, and get rid of all negative feelings!

Ok, but what to put in the batter instead?  In checking out the pantry, I saw a nice jar of Nutella sitting there, and without much thought started to spoon in gobs of Nutella into the batter, which now looked a little too thin, and I added another 3/4 cup or so of almond flour.  and about one cup of Nutella total.

I put that into the bundt pan and baked this experiment at 350 for about 45 – 50 minutes.

The result was out of this world!  As in, so good it was unbelievable.

And this brought back to mind another gem ofv Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s sayings (quote from “The Silent Master”)

“Clinging to a good picture you have created possibly keeps you from expanding into an even greater good.  Clinging to a disagreeable picture keeps you there!  So, don’t hold on to either as though it is the final story.  You don’t hate, resent, fight, or quarrel with an undesirable situation, and you don’t overly love or cling to a desirable situation.  Detachment means you are always ready, open, and willing to experience change.  That is how you develop.”

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Sometimes the most plain dishes can turn out to be culinary and artistic pleasures.  I got really lucky the past couple times it was my turn to make dessert (well, uhm, that’s pretty much any time we got pot luck at the office or at Jung Suwon).

Dr. Tae Yun Kim invited a lot of us over to her place for a July 4th BBQ bash.  It was a wonderful time, and we had a lot of fun and training at the BBQ, where Grandmaster Scott Salton cooked up a bunch of mean steaks and gave a good reason to call the hamburgers “flame broiled!”

So for July 4th, my dessert contribution for the great Jung Suwon BBQ had to be red, white, and blue.  I took a very simple cheese cake recipe and substituted honey for the sugar, and instead of a crust, or pre-baked cracker crust, I simply crumbled a gluten-free cookie (any flavor works fine) into the bottom of a cupcake liner, and filled the liners with the cheese cake batter.  Once baked and cooled, I put blueberries and raspberries on the top – there is your red, white and blue!

And for our surprise guests yesterday, I didn’t even bake anything – it was way too hot, and not much time either.  So I did something very similar to what I did for the July 4th BBQ:  individual dessert cups, with a thin cookie at the bottom, and some pudding, made with coconut milk (for our die-hard cheesecake loving guests I mixed in some already whipped, low-fat cream cheese), and added a simple raspberry on top.  Since this dessert didn’t firm up as much as I had thought it would, the beautiful flower shaped cupcake liners didn’t hold their shape, so I kept them in the metal muffin pan.  But how to serve that?  Here is what I came up with:

Because, as Dr. Tae Yun Kim reminds us, whatever you can see in your mind, you can also do! The power of visualization!

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We always have choices, as Dr. Tae Yun Kim likes to point out.

“The power is in you, it is your personal choice what you do in your life!”

It’s just that sometimes those choices aren’t quite what we want!  Yet in the end, they might be just what we need!

For example, last week we were having a fancy dinner party at Jung Suwon, and usually we have a beautiful “edible arrangement on the dessert table, the center piece.  You know edible arrangements, right?  The fruit all cut up fancy, on a stick, and some of it dipped in chocolate?  The one that looks like a beautiful bouquet?

Well, the guests were already coming in, when with a big “ugh”, it was discovered that the edible arrangement hadn’t been ordered and it was too late now!

What kind of choice was that?

Well, I could have, of course, just given up and said we just don’t have an edible arrangement today.  Or, I could make something else, to make up for it.  Or, I could try to make the arrangement myself!

Once again, my Jung Suwon training came in very handy, in giving me the confidence to try something completely new to me.   Dr. Tae Yun Kim said it so well in one of her books,

“We need to learn to take charge of what we manifest by taking charge of our thinking.  Can you see that you can be your own worst enemy?  Why?  Because you are the one who monitors what you think.  Who thinks your thoughts better than you?  Others can suggest thoughts to you, but you are the one who accepts or rejects what you entertain in your mind.

Instead, be your own best friend!  We can achieve freedom from limitation of any sort!  You don’t have to accept anything except your freedom, your gift from the universe to create whatever you desire!”

Armed with this wisdom, I dashed to the store and loaded up on all sorts of fruits and grabbed some chocolate dip, got some craft sticks (actually my first batch was BBQ skewers) and a couple of heads of lettuce.

Back in the kitchen, at first I made a huge big mess and people around me started to give me the “you poor thing!” look.  I mean, look at this!

It does look kinda hopeless, right?

But I kept thinking, I can do this!  Why not?

HE CAN DO, SHE CAN DO, WHY NOT ME! is what we hear every day at Jung Suwon, to encourage us to do what we are capable of doing.

So I kept cutting up fruit, putting it on skewers, putting the skewers into the lettuce halves, dipped fruit and then, as a final touch, put roses in between the skewers, onto the lettuce to make it extra pretty.

So, tada, here it is!


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This has been a most abundant cherry year!  The trees went crazy, the birds were kept out with bird nets , and as a result, buckets of cherries keep coming into the kitchen!

In addition to tasting great, did you know all their incredible health benefits?  Dr. Tae Yun Kim points out that cherries contain very powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which makes them ideal for heart health and to fight against arthritis.  They also contain natural melatonin which regulates your sleep cycles.  In addition, they help regulate your blood sugar, which is a great benefit for people with diabetes.  Cherries contain a lot of fiber and therefore help proper digestion.  And the list goes on…and at only 87 cal/cup they are a great snack for Jung Suwon warriors after class – energizing, healthy, but without putting on the weight you just lost in class 😉

Here is a great recipe for healthy, individual serving, cherry cheesecakes:

I saw this recipe in the magazine from America’s Test Kitchen “Best Summer Desserts” on page 58.  (I tried to find this online so I could link to it, but wasn’t able to.)

However, I made a few changes to make it healthy enough for a Jung Suwon warrior dessert, make it gluten-free, and most of all, incorporate some of those cherries!  This was also approved by Dr. Tae Yun Kim, for health and taste!

For the cheesecakes, line 2 12-cup muffin pans with a paper liner. In a blender or food processor, put 3 large eggs, a couple of tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and some coconut sugar.  How much sugar depends how sweet you like it.  You’ll most likely not need more than 1/4 cup.  Blend this at high-speed and then add, a little at a time, 8 oz softened cream cheese.  Beat until very smooth.  And yes, it’s ok to use low-fat cream cheese, which is what I did.

At Jung Suwon, we like to keep our desserts as light as possible (of course there ARE exceptions to this) and so the crust is optional.  If you do want one, just crumble any kind of gluten-free cookie into the bottom of the liners, or if the cookies are the right size and thin, plunk one down into the liner.

Next, pour the cheesecake batter into the liners, about 1/2 – 3/4 full.

Bake at 325 until firm, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the cherry topping.

Pit a LOT of cherries, and put them into a pot.

While you pit the cherries, it’s a good time to listen to Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s audio books, or the Jung Suwon terminology CD.  Or sing, if you want.  Cook over medium heat, adding water if not enough juice in pot.  Add a sprinkling of coconut sugar, or any other kind of sugar if you prefer.  Taste and add more sugar if needed.

Mix some cornstarch (or tapioca starch, or even potato starch or rice flour) with some water, and slowly pour, while stirring, into the cherry mixture.  Let boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  It should be thicker but still pourable and not like pudding.

Once cooled, spoon on top of the cheesecakes, and serve!

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This is a wonderful time of year for cooking and baking, since so much fresh fruit and fresh veggies are now available, and best quality as well.

Did you know that Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has several cherry trees in her garden?  Here is a picture of some Jung Suwon warriors picking cherries!  It’s all part of Jung Suwon training.

Of course, the question remains – what to do with ALL those cherries?  There were bucket loads of them!

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim showed us a method to preserve them for those hot summer days – wash the cherries well but don’t dry them off , just drain and then immediately add some sugar (raw, unprocessed preferred), put them into small ziplock bags and freeze.  Next time you are very hot and want cool refreshment without the calories, have some of these cherries!  They are so wonderfully refreshing!

While the Jung Suwon warriors were still outside picking cherries, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim asked for some snacks to keep the Jung Suwon crew happy.

It needed to be going together fast, and it needed to be appealing to everyone, and it needed to contain cherries!  While still pitting cherries, it occurred to me that a simple poundcake with cherries in it would be fabulous.

I made a double recipe of Shirley’s gluten free pound cake recipe, my very favorite, which you can find here.  I did make a couple minor changes:  I used the cherry juice that accumulated from pitting the cherries instead of the orange juice, and I put in a fair amount of the cherries, put it all in a well oiled bundt pan and baked at 350.

Hungry Jung Suwon warriors stormed the kitchen and it was a good thing I had taken this picture already, because there was no time to set it up pretty – it was devoured before I could say “wait!”

And in my next post you’ll see some wonderful, individual cherry cheesecakes that are very easy to make!

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Don’t get me wrong – I love this 55 degree rainy and blustery weather – it’s very rare this time of year where I live!  But for other household members and many native Californian Jung Suwon warriors, this is not what they would call fun weather.

So, while I normally would post a recipe for soup on a day like this (read up on yesterday’s blog, that’s the soup I have on the stove right now) here are some bright and wonderfully sweet, yet still healthful treats.

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has emphasized the goodness and healthful qualities of nuts, and so today’s contribution is for peanut butter sandwich cookies!  These are gluten-free, and healthy enough for Jung Suwon warriors as a snack in between classes, or as a post Jung Suwon class pick-me-up.  There is no flour in these cookies, and you can even use less sugar than the recipe tells you to, I have tried it out with as little as 1/2 the amount and the cookies still came out great.

The recipe for these cookies and the idea to make them into sandwiches comes entirely from Shirley Braden , and you get get the recipe for them here,  from her very informative website called, “gluten free easily.”

And while you make these little gems, keep Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s words, from her book, “The Silent Master,” in your mind and thought:

“When you prepare your food, the energy you put into the process will affect the quality of the outcome.  Was your food prepared with love and care and the will to nourish?  Or was it prepared with feelings of anger and resentment, anxiety and hurry?  When you eat food prepared either way, it will have a nourishing quality that corresponds to the energy and intent of the preparer.”

If you have the will power to let them cool off unharmed – while they are cooling off, whip some low-fat cream cheese until very smooth, and add some nutella.  How much, is up to your taste buds.  Sometimes I just go with straight nutella, but I do like the tanginess of the cream cheese.

These are worth the wait though.  As Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim says, great things seldom come from convenience or fast food stores, but put in your energy and see the results!

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At Jung Suwon, we have many different programs for young people, and Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has given the opportunity to some Jung Suwon warriors, if they so desire, to help build a training course.  Think Army, or Marine, training courses!   This has been very rewarding, and loads of fun!  There was a lot of heavy physical activity involved, like digging holes, making cement, hauling lumber, and things like that.  It really means a lot to these Jung Suwon warriors to help build “their” training area!  As Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim puts it, they are putting their energy into it, and it will be truly “theirs.”

Of course, Jung Suwon warriors get hungry and deserve treats!  It was hot, and ice cream was in order.  But just plain ice cream?  That’s difficult to serve “out there.”  Ice cream sandwiches are neat and easy to transport little packages!

I had just bought a bunch of coconut flour because Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim had asked me to check it out, since it seems to be a very healthy type of flour.  But I had no clue yet as to how to use it.  I had learned from Shirley at Gluten Free Easily that it absorbs a lot more liquids than other flours.

The recipe on the back of the package seemed ideal.  “Allison’s wheat Free Brownies.”

Here is the recipe, straight from the bag:

Here is the front of the bag, if you would like to get the same brand, but I am sure any brand will work:

I made them almost exactly as per recipe, except instead of butter I used coconut oil, and for sugar I used coconut palm sugar, and I left out the chocolate chips.

Here is how they looked as just plain brownies (for those that couldn’t tolerate dairy):

They tasted really really good already, even without the ice cream!

I cut the remaining pieces horizontally….

and filled them with Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream:

put a generous layer of ice cream on the bottom brownie half, and top with the other, wrap and freeze.  It only took about an hour to freeze these beauties.

Needless to say, all this goodness was gobbled up in no time at all!

For those of us that aren’t familiar with coconut flour yet, one word of caution:

mix the brownie batter together just before you put it in the oven – if you have to let it sit (like I did on my first batch) – the batter turned to cement!  Appearently the coconut flour is a moisture hog and will absorb every last drop, unless you can get it in the oven and bake it before it has a chance to do that!

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I know.  I said this wouldn’t turn into a cookie/cake/cupcake type  blog, and I promise again, it won’t.  But just see here what Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has to say about being flexible in mind and spirit:

“I have to plan, “you may say.  “I have to think about what I am going to do ten minutes from now, or tomorrow, or it own’t happen.”  Yes, you should make plans in the present moment.  You don’t ever stop thinking, but be watchful to keep yourself open to new incoming ideas that may change what you plan.  Th epoint is to be aware every moment of what you are thinking, because whatever is going on now is on the way to manifesting.  How important it is, then to keep everything you don’t want out of your moment to moment consciousness.  how can you do that if you are not focused here, now?”

See?  So this is perfectly all right to blog about cake pops even if you never planned on doing so.

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim teaches about healthty foods, and also states that healthy can include, once in a while, healthy sweet treats.  And these little goodies, are as healthy as sweet treats can be!  First offf, they are gluten free.  Secondly, they were made with lots of love, one of the most important things to consider when prepareing food, Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim says.

If you feel like making these, start with a home made gluten free pound cake, I prefer this one from Shirley.  Once cooled off, break it apart into little pieces.  Now comes the fun part.  You can either use any type of frosting/filling for the next step, my favorite is to take a block of cream cheese, and blend in a generous amount of nutella.  Or, blend in some strawberry jam into cream cheese until it’s perfect.  Use a little frosting at first and add until you can roll cake pops of the size you prefer.

For the chocolate ones, I used a glutenfree brownie mix and as the “cement” I used the above mentioned cream cheese with nutella.  But go ahead, try your own creations!
You are creative energy!  As Grandmaster Kim always says!

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Banana Bread so good you won't even notice it's so healthy!!!

Delicious, healthy Banana Bread

Last time we talked about pizza.  Well, I am from Austria (that’s my excuse anyhow) and I was born with a very sweet tooth.  It didn’t help matters that everyone in my family was an avid cook and even more avid baker.  To top it all off, my mother – in order to run a restaurant – took up classes and ended up a pastry chef! 
Nowadays, as I add years to my life (whoever gets old anymore!) I have to watch what I eat.  I love sweets, but I realize that health is more important, and keeping at a healthy weight most certainly is, too.  I also have a very close friend who has diabetes, and so I am always trying to adapt a tried and true recipe so she can have it as well.
Again I have to think about one of Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s trademark sayings, “Don’t treat your body like a trash can!  You put the best gas in your car, you have to put the best food into your body!”
Actually, she has given me some of the best advice ever on the topic of healthy weight management.  Everything in moderation and balance….something we learn a lot about in our Martial Arts classes at Jung SuWon as well. 
So, to satisfy all the sweet teeth out there, yet don’t provide empty and/or damaging calories, here is a recipe I came up with for what I think has got to be the best banana bread ever. Hey, it’s my blog, so I can claim it’s the best!  Because to me, it is! 
  • 4 cups flour, total.  I use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup raw wheat germ, 1/2 cup crushed flax seed, 1/2 cup Amaranth flour, and the rest white flour, mixed with a little bran.  You can leave out the Amaranth flour and use just more white flour instead, or if you want it less healthy, use less whole wheat flour – just as long as you end up with 4 cups total and not too much flax seeds since they have an overwhelming taste
  • cinnamon, cloves, vanilla – if you so desire.  You could also add some lemon peel and a few squirts of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp baking soda, or baking powder, I have used either one successfully
  • 1 cup very soft butter (no substitutes here unless you get some very high quality margarine)
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, or raw sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten  (if you want a lighter version of the bread, seperate the eggs and add the beaten whites at the end together with the flour, but this is certainly not necessary)
  • 4 1/2 cups mashed up bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
  • How to put it all together:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan, or bundt pan. 
  • mix all the different flours and dry ingredients together
  • cream butter with sugar and egg (or just the egg yolks if you want to add the beaten egg whites later)
  • Add mashed bananas
  • add flour, a little at a time, and don’t overmix at this point.  More like, gently fold into it, don’t beat it any more.
  • Put into pan(s) and bake, about an hour, depending on what size and shape of pan you use.  Don’t overbake!  You can also make little cupcakes or muffins from this, and your kids will love you for the lunch snack! 

Now, sit back, relax and reward yourself with your home made treat.  It’s good for you, and you are going to work it off in your next Jung SuWon class anyhow! 


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