From Cupcakes to Traditional Korean Food and Everything in Between

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Mug Cake

You guys loved my easy no-bake 5 minute microwave brownies so much that I decided to do a single serve no-bake cake with all the flavors of autumn.  This one is a winner with tender, softly spiced pumpkin cake and the easiest creamy cheesecake swirled right in.  It’s the best of both worlds and it only takes less than 2 minutes to cook!

I love easy recipes, particularly when the holidays are involved.  I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the third year in a row for both families and though I love it and Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday, you guys know how much of a labor of love it is.  I’ve been prepping all week and this little mug cake satisfied my sweet tooth and pumpkin craving all in one while all my baked goods reserved for Thanksgiving kept calling my name.  #Willpower.  Not to mention, Thanksgiving is the unofficial kick off to my wedding day.  Between now and the big day, there are several holidays and the arrival of the new year.  Needless to say, this single serve mug cake keeps your portions in check with minimal effort to boot.

Today, I’ve married cake with cheesecake.  I mean, it had to be done (even if it was just an excuse to combine my 2 biggest cravings).  The cake itself isn’t overwhelmingly pumpkin flavored but is gently so with just a whisper of sweetness to perfectly receive whipped cream and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce and guys, my 3 minute caramel sauce is another delicious time saver.  The cheesecake part of this equation couldn’t be simpler but all of your bases are covered here with the essentials.  Sour cream works with cream cheese to loosen the base and lay a creamy foundation while the yolk adds richness like nothing else can. Since this is a fast-forward version, the yolk is really a heavy hitter here.  Lastly, the touch of flour holds things together and prevents any weeping that can sometimes occur in the microwave.  What you end up with is a delicious symphony of flavors that perfectly matches the mood of autumn and the pace of the holidays.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Mug Cake
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 Mug Cake
Pumpkin Cake
  • 3 tb unbleached flour
  • ½ ts baking powder
  • ⅛ ts fine salt
  • ¼ ts pumpkin spice
  • ¼ c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tb brown sugar
  • 1 tb oil {coconut, grapeseed, veggie/canola}
  • 1 ts pure vanilla extract
  • 1 oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 tb room temperature sour cream
  • 1 ts pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tb granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 room temperature egg yolk
  • ½ tb unbleached flour
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice.
  2. In the mug you'll be using (I used a 12 oz mug), stir together the pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and vanilla.
  3. Mix the small bowl of dry ingredients into your mug of wet ingredients. Do not over mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream together all the ingredients for your cheesecake. Do not over mix.
  5. Combine the cheesecake batter with your pumpkin cake batter by folding or swirling the two batters together, as desired.
  6. In my 1.45 kw microwave, it took me 1½ minutes to cook. It's better to under cook rather than over cook as it will continue to set as it cools and you can always cook it longer later.



Korean Radish – 3 Ways & Recipes


There’s nothing quite like the magical Korean radish in my book.  It truly possesses transformative powers with its capacity to be bright and fruity at one moment then chewy and crisp the next.  There are actually several dozen ways to prepare Korean radish.  My father even enjoys them straight and raw.  It’s a testament to how crunchy and refreshing they are.  Though they appear to be daikon, Korean radish {or mu} is much more juicy with a denser flesh, mild spice and a subtle sweet flavor.  The Autumn and Winter harvests are the most prized and thought to be the most delicious.  Needless to say, I felt blessed to be the lucky recipient of more than 50 pounds over the weekend from my wonderful Gomo/Auntie.

Today, we’re going to be focusing on 3 different Korean radish recipes with radish kimchi, danmuji-pickles and muchim/side dish.  Each has its own purpose, touting unique flavors and textures.  Though it’s hard to choose, I’d say the dried radish muchim or side dish/banchan is my favorite.  Known as “mumallengi muchim,” it’s delightfully chewy with a nice crunch.  Despite its fiery ruby color, it’s not that spicy and the drying process actually intensifies its natural sweetness.  When it’s later paired with honey, it’s mild in the heat department with an exciting textural element.  The radish kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine just like napa cabbage kimchi, accompanying many {or all} traditional soups and stews.  As cooler air yields to a bounty of Korean radish, it’s only fitting for it to pair perfectly with bubbling broths of all sorts, particularly the ox-bone soup/seolleongtang.  You could even feature it as the star in beef and radish soup.  Finally, the danmuji/pickles are crunchy and sweet, having its place in Korean sushi-type rolls called kim-bap or as a side to jajangmyeon.  It’s also great as a pickled condiment to heavier items like fried chicken.  I have fond memories of enjoying sweet and spicy fried chicken in Korea alongside tiny tubs of danmuji/pickles.  It’s a classic!

Whichever recipe you decide to try first, you really can’t go wrong.  They’re all so different and delicious.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Korean Radish - 3 Ways & Recipes
Dried Radish Side Dish
  • 2 c dehydrated/dried radish
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tb fish sauce
  • 1 tb sesame oil
  • 2 tb Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tb raw honey
  • 1 ts toasted sesame seeds
Radish Kimchi
  • 5 tb kosher salt
  • 5 pounds cubed radish
  • ⅔ c water + 2 tb sweet rice flour {glutinous rice flour}
  • ¼ c fish sauce
  • ⅔ c Korean red pepper flakes {not regular red pepper flakes}
  • ½ c garlic
  • 1 tb fresh ginger
  • ½ c onion
  • ½ c fuji apple
Danmuji Pickles
  • 2 tb kosher salt
  • 2 pounds radish {cut into desired shapes}
  • 1 c water
  • 6 tb vinegar
  • 6 tb sugar
  • 1 tb kosher salt
  1. For the dried radish, obtain 2 cups of dried/dehydrated radish {homemade or store bought}. To make your own, cut radish into shoe-string french fry shapes and place on a single layer in the dehydrator {you can also air dry, it just takes longer}. Mine took about 4 hours but this varies depending on how large your cuts are.
  2. Rehydrate the dried radish by covering with water. Soak for 10-30 minutes {again, depends on different factors like personal taste, homemade vs store bought, smaller vs larger}.
  3. When the radish plumps to your liking, rinse, drain and squeeze out all excess moisture.
  4. Vigorously massage in the garlic, green onions, fish sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes, honey and sesame seeds. Garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired.
  5. For the radish kimchi, sprinkle the cubed radish with salt and set aside for 30-45 minutes. Toss every 15 minutes to evenly distribute.
  6. While the radish is brining, create the kimchi paste.
  7. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the water and sweet rice flour.
  8. Cook on medium/low heat and whisk constantly. It's ready when it's thick and glossy. Set aside to cool.
  9. In a blender, mix the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, onion and apple until smooth.
  10. When the sweet rice mixture has cooled, combine with the Korean red pepper flakes and blended mixture.
  11. When the time is up, rinse and drain the radish.
  12. Work 1 cup of paste into the radish.
  13. Jumpstart fermentation on the counter top for 1-2 days. Refrigerate. It is ready to enjoy in a week.
  14. For the danmuji/pickles, brine the radish much like you did for the radish kimchi. Toss every 15 minutes for a total of 1 hour.
  15. Mix everything for the pickling liquid together: the water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
  16. After the hour is up, rinse and drain the radish and pour in the pickling liquid. Your radish pickles are ready in 1 week.


Healthy Meal Prep for Breakfast, Lunch and Snack


Today is all about creating satisfying and convenient meals to-go for busy adults and kids alike.  I love dedicating a portion of my weekend preparing nutritious and delicious meals like the ones I’ll be sharing with you today because not only does it prevent hunger melt downs from happening, I can feel good about grabbing one of these ready made meals instead of succumbing to less healthier options like junk food.  You can definitely tailor make these for what you personally enjoy or already have on hand.  For me, I like to keep things as healthy as possible throughout the day and really linger and lavish over supper so I like to pack as much nutrient dense food into my day as possible when I’m often too busy to even be thinking about it anyways.

I just love an abundance of colorful, hydrating fruit in the mornings.  It’s wonderful how it provides me with an instant pick me up.  On our little island on the east coast, we haven’t quite stepped into a cold snap yet and most days are faux-spring like.  When cooler air begins to bite my cheeks, I’ll surely be reaching for the warmth of buckwheat porridge and Korean barley tea but until then, I’m quite happy tucking in with my platter of gorgeous fruit.  The best part?  Plush hachiya persimmons are in season right now and I’m going crazy for them!  If you’ve never had one, you’re in for a treat.  Their voluptuous tear drop shape contains a gooey, almost custard-like center that just melts in your mouth with its sugary sweetness.

Lunch is when I probably consume most of my fresh greens {save my pre-supper green smoothie}  I like to switch up my green base with sprouts, massaged kale, chard and the like but the dressing is often my go-to.  It’s fast, simple and delicious with just 4 ingredients.  What more could you ask for?  Most days, if I’m not topping off my lush rainbow salad with some grilled protein like my favorite salmon, I reach for a hearty sandwich.  Todays offering is highlighted by what looked best at my co-op this weekend but you can certainly use whatever filling you like.

As a snack, I like something that’s portable and easy to eat like raw seeds or nuts.  Staying hydrated is key too.  Did you know that we often mistake hunger for dehydration?  Dehydration can also cause fatigue.  You’ve heard it a million times before but drinking enough water is so dang important!  As I mentioned in my health and beauty secrets video, I typically begin my days with at least a liter of water followed up by warm lemon water.  Throughout the day, I continue this trend and am never without some next to me but I’m also mindful of the variety of ways I’m consuming that water as well.  One of my favorite options is through an infused water.  My favorite at the moment is a cocktail of fresh ginger {sometimes fresh turmeric root}, cucumber, mint, and lemon {also in my health/beauty secrets video}.

I hope that you find my video to be helpful and that it inspires some healthy meal prepping.  It really does save so much time and energy.  I love that I have several days of meals that I don’t have to stress over or even think about.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy Meal Prep for Breakfast, Lunch and Snack
Serves: For approximately 4 days
  • Choice of fruits + mint
  • 30 grams raw seeds/nuts
  • Infused water of choice
  • -Rainbow Salad:
  • 4 c Kale, chard, spinach mix
  • 1 c cooked lentils or quinoa
  • 1 Shredded beets
  • 2 Shredded carrots
  • ½ English cucumber
  • 1 Colorful bell pepper
  • 2 Avocados
  • ½ c Hemp Hearts
  • 1 c organic yogurt
  • 3-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • -Grilled Veggie Sandwich
  • 4 toasted ciabattas
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced vertically {or summer squash/eggplant}
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 4 oz log goat cheese
  1. For the fruit salad, toss everything together and divide them into 4 containers. Top with mint if desired.
  2. For the rainbow salad, pile everything on that you desire and top with sliced avocado and hemp hearts. Divide into 4 containers.
  3. For the dressing, mix the yogurt, garlic and salt and pepper together. Thin out with milk if needed. Store separately.
  4. For the sandwiches, grill all your veggies to your liking with salt and pepper.
  5. Assemble by spreading goat cheese on each half of ciabatta and building with the grilled veggies.


Easy Vegetable Fried Rice


I grew up eating my mother’s fried rice.  It was one of the best things ever.  It was always satisfying, straight-forward and arrived in a flash, steaming and piled high.  Tossed in the mix were always surprising nuggets of this or that, eager to please everyone with its variety.  My favorite ones were those stuffed with the most random bits of suppers past and it wasn’t until I was older did I recognize the economical purpose of camouflaging leftovers.  My mother’s pragmatic attitude taught me early on to waste not, want not and even today, I rarely, if ever throw away food.  Everything has its place.  I learned that from my mother and it all started with fried rice.

Today’s fried rice is far from fancy.  It’s simple and satisfying.  It repurposes day old rice and happily accepts leftovers of all kinds but particularly the ones from your produce bin that are known to be super perishable.  At the beginning of the week, I mean well and have great plans for my refrigerated garden but inevitably, busy work days or life blocks even the best of intentions and the once vibrant greenery starts looking weepy and sad.  Fried rice to the rescue!

If you’ve got 10 minutes, you can whip up a delicious hot plate of this fried rice.  I’ll even share a secret that my mother shared with me.  The desired piquant, umami flavors really bloom with the help of fish sauce.  It’s a pleasant and unique edge and bite that you can’t get from anything else.  We both hope you’ll give it a try.  A little goes a long way.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Vegetable Fried Rice
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 Serving
  • 1 medium chopped vidalia/yellow onion
  • 3 cloves minced or thinly sliced garlic
  • 2 tb unsalted butter or sesame oil {the latter for smokier depth}
  • 1 c mixed vegetables {or your choice of veggies}
  • 2 c room temperature day old rice
  • 1 tb soy
  • 1 tb fish sauce
  • Garnish: scallion and sesame seeds
  • Optional: eggs or protein of your choice
  1. Add butter or sesame oil to a pan over medium. When it begins to shimmer, add your onion and cook until it browns.
  2. Mix in your garlic until it warms through then add in your veggies.
  3. Add your rice, soy and fish sauce. Cook until the rice is hot. Add freshly cracked pepper, if desired.
  4. Plate and garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.


Healthy Halloween Candy – Homemade Coconut Oil Chocolate


Are you someone who enjoys healthy treats but still want them to be simple and satisfying?  Then this recipe is for you!  These little molded chocolates are truly magical.  Not only have they been regularly satisfying my chocolate cravings, they’re simple, satisfying and oh so sinfully divine.  Did I also mention that they’re raw, vegan {if substituting the honey}, gluten and refined sugar free, no bake/cook with just 3 ingredients?  Oh, and they help boost your metabolism!  I told you that they’re magical.

My last chocolate recipe from scratch produced a more classic chocolate experience with a base of cacao butter but today, we’re making it a bit more healthy with coconut oil.  Coconut oil is one of the most nutrient dense parts of the coconut and is rich in lauric acid which our bodies convert into monolaurin.  This conversion is helpful for fighting off bacteria and infections in our bodies.  Coconut oils medium chain fatty acids are easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production, giving the body an instant boost of energy while allowing better absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids into our bodies.  What better way to intake coconut oil than through the vehicle of chocolate?

These little gems are fast and easy to make.  It takes me about 15 minutes from start to finish to create 8 perfect little bites.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the chocolates to chill and set but that really only takes a few minutes too.  I love using my seashell molds for these but you could also pour these into lined cupcake tins or a smaller pan lined with parchment.  Beyond that, the possibilities for flavor combinations are endless.  A bit of instant espresso will enhance the chocolate depth while fleur de sel will balance out the flavors.  A fine dusting of cayenne will give your chocolates a sexy kick and chia or hemp seeds or goji berries will take these up another healthier notch.  I’ve even been known to gift these with a sprinkle of edible stars.  Better still is that you could turn this into chocolate sauce/fondue, a coating for pretzels, truffles or bark, even.  So basically, these are not only healthier treats to indulge in for this halloween or any of the upcoming holidays, these make perfect little treats to share with your loved ones.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Healthy Halloween Candy - Homemade Coconut Oil Chocolate
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8 Chocolates
  • 3 tb unrefined, virgin coconut oil*
  • 3 tb unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tb honey {agave, coconut sugar, etc for vegan}
  1. Whisk everything together and pour into desired molds.
  2. Chill in the fridge/freezer until set.
  3. Mine took about 5 minutes to harden in the freezer and my seashell molds yielded 8 chocolates.
  4. I highly recommend keeping these chilled as they melt fairly quickly.
I like to make these when my house is warm so the coconut oil is already melted and it can be kept raw but if it's not, you can always heat it over the stovetop/microwave.


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