Sweet Potato Muffins and the Chicken Dance

20 Apr

It’s been a full week for me here in South Korea.  My activities have crossed the spectrum from baking Apple Sweet Potato muffins to doing the Chicken Dance with young Korean children.  I even took a little time to stop by Severance Hospital in Seoul and get my ankle x-rayed… and no, my ankle, still sore after falling down some stairs in France nearly a year ago, thankfully isn’t broken.

Let’s start with the Apple Sweet Potato muffins.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know my search continues for yummy satisfying food with no sugar added.  Refined sugar is definitely not an option for me, but sometimes too much sweet from fruit and honey does me no good as well.  So I adapted a recipe I found recently and baked a muffin with only apples and sweet potatoes for sweetener (no honey or other sweetener added).  Here is the recipe I used:

2 cups almond flour1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded sweet potato
1 cup shredded apple

I combined all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) and then all the wet ingredients (vanilla, eggs, oil, yogurt).  Next I combined them both and finally added in the uncooked shredded sweet potato and apple.

I baked them at about 350 degrees F (that’s about 175 degrees C) for 25-30 minutes.

The results were satisfying flavorful muffins with just a touch of sweet.  They were especially tasty with a little butter or with a smear of creamy organic peanut butter (no sugar added!)  If I were to make any changes to the recipe, I might try a little less Greek yogurt as when finished the muffins were a little wet.  I also would liked to have added some nutmeg, but didn’t have any on hand. But just the same, they were a moist and satisfying treat.  Hurray!

And what’s next… yes of course.. the chicken dance!  Who can forget.  Why was I dancing the chicken dance you may ask?  The simple answer is… it’s part of my job.  On the weekends, when we’re not teaching middle school students, we teach fun classes that are open to the public at English Village.  One of our weekend lessons is called Dance Party.  It’s pretty simple… we dance and lead the Korean visitors in a variety of fun and well-known dances.  YMCA, Disco, the Hustle and… the Chicken Dance!  Often our guests are little children who enjoy dressing up in our costumes and doing a little dancing.  Sometimes we get older students… like today.  We had a visiting quartet of early twenty-somethings who put our dancing to shame.  It only took a few dances for my co-worker/dance partner to suggest…” I think they’re professional dancers…”  and…as it turns out…indeed they were.

As I mentioned, earlier this week I took a little sojourn into neighboring Seoul to visit the doctor at the local Severance Hospital.  I learned they have an international clinic from a colleague here at English Village.  It was a welcoming first-class experience all the way.  The hospital itself  had a professional, open and inviting feel.  It didn’t feel really like… a hospital. When I arrived at the clinic I was greeted by friendly English-speaking staff who quickly and easily assisted me with my needs… which was to make sure the my ankle wasn’t broken.  I speedily received an x-ray and soon after I learned, happily, it is not.  After my appointment was complete, I made a stop by the Smoothie King located in the food court inside the hospital. Next I was delighted to find a health food store in the hospital.  I did a little browsing and discovered one of my favorite American brands – Amy’s organic foods.  This is the first time I have seen this brand since I left the States.  They only had a few items, all pizzas, looking somewhat misplaced in the freezer section tossed next to items that were unidentifiable to me.  And what did I do, you may ask?  I bought one of each… yes three different types of frozen pizzas.  What can I say, there is nothing like some good old-fashioned “healthy junk food” for a little comfort like home.  I spent more money on them then I care to say, then made my trek back to the land of Paju.

Earlier, en route to the hospital I encountered what in America we might begrudgingly call a busy intersection.  In South Korea these sticky situations are handled with a little finesse courtesy of the traffic director.  Pictured below in a cowboy hat, the local traffic director displayed an almost choreographed array of moves and ushered traffic with some style and flair.

Well, my laid back day of work is coming to a close…. a real treat today after the past few busy weeks.  Tomorrow is  Sunday, my day of rest, and then once again a new week will unfold.

Spring continues to tempt us with a few days of weather in the 60s this week. But even so, I can’t quite declare it Spring weather even though April continues to fade away.  There are, however, some blossoms showing their face in the surrounding Korean hills among the still barren and dead trees of winter.

Good-bye for now from my world and life in S. Korea.  Feel free to write. It’s always good to hear from you!

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