Archives for June 2016

Recliner help

Lena-Grey-ReclinerOK folks, I am on the hunt for a recliner that is comfortable for my husband, but not big and puffy. Something reasonably stylish, with straight arms instead of rounded-over ones. Bonus if it comes in grey.

The closest thing I’ve found so far is this one, but since it has not one review, I don’t know how comfy it is, and I’m a little leery to pull the trigger. Can anyone point me to a good one?

PS–double bonus if it’s under $500.

How to make kimbap (Korean-style sushi)

(First posted here in 2010)

Korean Sushi

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6-8

This recipe is a little more time consuming than my average recipe, but it is a fun treat every now and then.  Once you have the various ingredients prepped, the actual rolling goes quickly.  Be sure to check out my how-to video here. You can find nori (dried seaweed sheets) in the Asian food section of most grocery stores, or on amazon.

Typically, these rolls will include julienne strips of daikon, a yellow pickled radish.   You can customize your rolls to suit your family’s likes and dislikes.  Cucumber and avocado are excellent additions.   Some people like a bit of mayo spread on the rice before adding the other filling ingredients.


For the pork:

  • 1/2 pound pork (pork roast works well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the rice:

  • 2 cups short-grain rice
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or substitute regular vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Other ingredients:

  • 1 package of nori (dried seaweed) about 10 sheets
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Start by rinsing 2 cups of short grain rice, and then cook it in 2-1/4 cups of water.  When the rice is done, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  Warm it in microwave for a few seconds and stir again until salt and sugar dissolve.   Drizzle vinegar mixture over the rice,  lifting  and folding rice gently with a spoon so that the vinegar mixture coats all the rice.  Cover rice and set aside.

Next, peel and slice carrots into julienne strips.  Cut pork in a similar way, trimming away fat as needed. Toss pork with garlic, soy sauce and sugar.  Heat sesame oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Add pork to hot skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, until browned and cooked through.  Remove from skillet. Now add the carrots and a bit of black pepper to the same hot skillet and cook 3-5 minutes, until carrots soften and get some browned bits.  Remove them from the skillet. Turn skillet down to medium low.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.  Add just a little bit of oil or cooking spray to the skillet.  Cook egg mixture over medium low heat without stirring, until egg is nearly set.  Carefully flip the egg ‘pancake’ over and cook another minute.  Remove egg to a plate, salt lightly, and cut egg into long thin strips.

Rinse the spinach, pat dry, and place in a bowl.  Now gather together all your ingredients and get ready to roll!  For a video demonstration, check out the sushi-rolling video on my blog!


Kimbap- (1)Begin by laying a sheet of seaweed on the counter in front of you.  Take about half a cup of rice and spread it over the 2/3 of the seaweed that is closest to you.  Leave about a 2-inch wide strip of seaweed uncovered at the farthest edge of the piece of seaweed.

Now put a line of baby spinach horizontally across the center 1/3 of the rice layer.  Top the spinach with a long strip of egg, a couple strips of carrot, and a couple strips of meat.  Try to arrange the ingredients so that the ingredients span the whole width of the  seaweed, and hang off the edge of the seaweed on both sides just a little.

Next comes the tricky part. Gently but firmly roll the seaweed up, starting with the edge closest to you and rolling away from your body. Try to keep the filling in the center of the roll.  To do this you will probably have to tuck bits back in as you roll. The last bit of seaweed that you roll up should be the bit that doesn’t have any rice on it.  Press roll firmly together and set the roll on a plate with the seam side down.

Kimbap- (2) Don’t
stress if your first couple rolls look ugly. Remember, this is an
adventure, and nobody is an instant expert!  If your seaweed splits in
spots, you may have used a bit too much rice.  Your next roll, or the one after that, will
probably be better.

Let the sushi rolls sit for 5 minutes or so before you try to cut them.  This allows the seaweed and rice to meld together and makes the rolls more stable.  Cut the rolls crosswise into 1 inch slices, using the thinnest, sharpest knife you have, rinsing the knife off every now and then if it gets sticky.

The first cut on the end of each roll won’t be as pretty as the center cuts, but they’re still delicious.   My kids love to snitch them as I’m cutting.  Serve warm or cold, with wasabi or soy sauce.



How to make kimbap (Korean style sushi) from Mary Ostyn on Vimeo.

This recipe was also featured at

Filed Under: Featured Recipe, Recipes

Our next adventure

June 22, 2016

I looked at my blog the other day and was shocked at how long it’d been since I’ve last posted. We did just get back from church camp, which with all the cooking and prep that I do each year, does take a bit of time. I was also working extra before we left to make up for the days off.

But there’s also another thing that’s kept us busy lately, and I’ve been itching to tell you about it. You may remember that awhile back we bought a piece of land on the Oregon coast, with the big audacious dream of building a house there someday? Well, that day is coming soon!


We lined up a contractor and nailed down our house plans, and talked through the nitty gritty details of cost, and decided that 2016 is the year!  We hope to have a building permit by mid-July, and if plans come together as our contractor is predicting, we could have this house built by the end of the year.  Squeeee!

It has been a whirl of phone calls around here lately, mostly between our contractor and me, working out all the many details.  There’ve also been lots of text messages with the wonderful Becky, my friend who staged our previous home so beautifully that it sold in 36 hours.  She is giving me advice regarding flooring and furnishings, with the goal of making this home a stylish, comfortable and family-friendly retreat.  Our plan is to use it for our own family several weeks of the year, and then rent it out to other families during the rest of the year.  I’ve done a ton of thinking and research to make it functional for groups with a variety of sizes and needs.

The house is 6 bedrooms and 4-1/2 baths, which includes 3 full master suites.  There’s also some fun bunk space planned for kids in the family room downstairs, allowing the house to sleep 16 in beds, with 4 more possible on cots if your crew is really big.

The outdoor living space will include a hot tub, a fenced yard, and a big deck with gated stairs for kid-safety.  We’re also planning a wheelchair ramp, an accessible bathroom, and a stair chair to cater to folks with mobility issues.

The neighborhood has a pool, good beach access, and tennis courts, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium is just 20 minutes north, so there are many good outdoor options nearby.

I’ve rambled long enough for now.  But I’m so excited that I want to pinch myself, so you can bet you’ll be hearing more about this adventure very soon!


Filed Under: Adoption Feature, Family, Projects

Summer Movie Ideas

June 5, 2016

If you’re like me, you’re looking forward to some serious down time this summer, both for you and your kids. But you also don’t want your kids’ brains to completely stagnate in the process.

My girls will be reading at least an hour a day this summer, and will also continue to do just a tiny bit of math.  Emily is finishing Algebra 1 and Julianna will be reviewing her hard-won multiplication facts at least once or twice a week. Beyond that, we’re wide open.

AmericanGeniusBut I am planning to sneak in a bit more learning with the help of Netflix. One show that the girls are already enjoying watching is called American Genius. Here are some great lists of other interesting and educational moves that are available for kids these days:

Movies for kids about real scientists

Historical movies for kids ages 6-12

Nature documentaries for kids

Not-boring history movies for kids

Read the book, watch the movie


Just these five lists alone would keep your kids in movies for weeks, I’m pretty sure!  What educational offerings have you enjoyed on Netflix with your kids?

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Filed Under: Adoption Feature, Family, Seeing the World Tagged With: ,


June 2, 2016

Life is such a mass of ups and downs and fun and unexpected and wonderful and hard, isn’t it?

Yesterday I passed a hard test that I needed to pass to keep doing labor and delivery care — hooray!

Yesterday our freshly minted 18 year old son got his ears pierced– turns out earrings look great on him, thankyouverymuch.  🙂

Today I played in the pool with three of our sweet grandchildren– precious time.

A few days ago I went on a nice walk with my mom and my sister– such fun.

Over the weekend our two graduates’ graduation party was a smashing success.

And John and I are taking some really fun steps toward the ocean house that we’ve been dreaming over for a long time. I’ll share some details soon.

However, oh, my heart is burdened for a friend whose teenage son is fighting a recurrence of cancer.

And for friends in our church who are also fighting cancer.

And for another friend– our wonderful Ethiopian driver Dawit– whose precious baby daughter Johanna went to be with Jesus this week.

Oh, the ache. If you are so moved, will you please pray for those who are burdened or ill or grieving?

Filed Under: Uncategorized