I posted a “recipe” for summer rolls – aka non-deep-fried spring rolls – a few years ago, but I recently developed a new favourite ingredient combo (this time fully vegan) so I thought they’d be worth posting about again. I’ve been taking these into work with me lately and even though they often fall apart by dinnertime, they’re so tasty that I usually don’t even mind. It’s like mini packages of salad! So fresh and so clean.
My current favourite mix of ingredients is tofu, leeks (or green onions), peanuts, red pepper, tofu and sweet chili sauce. I don’t need to handhold you here – just chop them all up! It’s all raw, so this is a very easy meal to prepare. Soak your rice paper wraps in warm water for around ten seconds, then spread them out on a flat surface and pile everything on! Like so:
Then you want to tuck up the bottom, fold in the sides, and roll it all up like a burrito. It gets easier and tidier with practice, but sometimes I still end up with a floppy mess. One time, I just wrapped the whole mess in another rice paper, which was surprisingly an excellent fix!
I’ve been eating these with a homemade peanut sauce, which really makes them that much better. I usually half this recipe and season it to taste (since I don’t have sesame oil at the moment). It has good proportions though, and the resulting sauce has a great texture.
Yummy, right? This is exactly the kind of food I want to eat when it’s really hot outside. No standing over a hot stove please! My apartment doesn’t need to be stuffier than it already is.
You could definitely customize this “recipe” in any way you want to! Different vegetables, maybe even some fruit like pineapple or mango, and fresh herbs would of course be wonderful. I’m sure I’ll be mixing it up quite a bit as the summer progresses. Happy eating!
I’m doing 24 fun or new things before I turn 24. You can see the rest of my list here.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Dylan and I made quite the trek out to one of Busan’s many beaches, Dadaepo. The draw was the Dadaepo Sunset Fountain of Dreams (believe it or not that’s its real, official name), a water fountain show with multicoloured lights and water spray patterns, choreographed to music of all kinds. We’d been excited about theshow, but we hadn’t anticipated just how much we would love the beach itself.
It was absolutely stunning – when we looked to our right, it was all soft sand stretching as far as the eye could see, and on our left, green trees and big rocks curving around the coast. As is typical with these kinds of things, the photos don’t quite do it justice.
We arrived in the late afternoon and did the coastal walk (Korea is home to so many beautiful coastal walks that they’ve become one of our favourite pastimes) to the place where the walkway ended. From there we scampered over some rocks and dodged some creepy insects, ending up on a big rock listening to lovely music and talking as the sun started setting. It was a pretty blissful afternoon. The fountain was just icing on the cake!
But my favourite part of the day had to be the discovery of a free outdoor trampoline and the subsequent jumping around on it like a maniac until I had cramps from laughing so hard and my legs were too weak to catch me on the big bounces (resulting in quite a few painless tumbles & giggles). On the way from the bus stop to the beach, right on the main road, there was a little outdoor arcade, fairly run-down and with no employees. It was just open to the elements and to the public, and when we walked by there were just a few people in the batting cage. Everyone was utterly uninterested in the perfectly decent trampoline sitting unused right alongside them!
After a brief moment of looking around flabbergasted that it was free and that nobody was going to stop us, we climbed up the little ladder and onto the bouncy castle of our dreams. For me, it was one of those awesome moments in life where you get exactly what you want without having known that it was what you wanted. When I put “go trampolining” on my 24 Before 24 list, I’d pictured visiting one of the indoor trampoline rooms that are so common here in Korea. It never occurred to me that it would end up being an absolutely perfect moment – spontaneous, outdoors, with views of the fountain and the trees, full of giddy joy and hysterical laughter – and one that I was lucky enough to share with such a great friend. I know it sounds so cliché, but it made me feel like a kid again. Free and happy.
It was also an excellent reminder to stay open to new experiences and to doing things just because they’re insanely fun. If I hadn’t decided (totally arbitrarily) to put trampolining on my list this year, I might have walked right by that arcade without a second thought. I think we all get so used to doing things a certain way and going through the motions of our routines, but I want to remember to keep trying to incorporate joy and fun and impracticality into my life as much as I can. It’s really worth it.
Summer so far has been gorgeous. Good food and long walks, in all variations, have so far been the staples in my summer life. I was back with my family last week, who I adore. My life always seems a little brighter with all of them around, and my photos are more dynamic. I’ve been working a lot, as I will from here on out, but I am also making time to enjoy the flowers, cook and bake delicious things, sit out in the sun, have long talks with good friends, create some awesome new projects (at least two of them will be announced over the next couple posts!), and soak up summer as much as I can.
Last night, on a probably-unnecessary-but-very-necessary late night Skype catchup call with my BFF who lives about 10 minutes away, she said something very interesting:
I need to get back into the habit of reading for pleasure.
Booyah. There it is. Right there! Reading for fun is a habit, just like any other pass-time. The more you do it, the more you enjoy it, the more you work it into your daily schedule – the better it is. I am also of the opinion that reading the wrong things can bum you out and steer your clear of reading altogether. There’s probably some deep metaphor in there for life, but I’m a little out of it this morning so just bear with me.
I have a simple rule, most of the time: I read what I’m really, really excited to read. Choosing a book at random off my shelf can work in a pinch, but most of the time I try to read things that I can’t wait to get my hands on. This might seem like it’d be expensive, but I rely quite heavily on the libraries at my disposal (my school’s system and the Montreal library), which, among them, carry most things. Of course, for the brand-new ones that aren’t yet at the library, I can usually save $10-15 by buying them on Kindle. And sometimes I decide to be patient, and wait until I can get them for free.
All of this is to say: I believe in you! If you decide to make this summer the summer that you get back into reading for fun, you can do it. Let me help you by sharing my personal picks for the next few months! These are all books I’ve either read and enjoyed, am reading, or am psyched to get my hands on.
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