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Chúc Mừng Sinh Nhật

26 Jul

The cliches are true. Time flies, and somehow our little girl is already two. Our aspiring chef still loves food. At two she’s all about broccoli and popcorn. But that, as you can agree, does not make a birthday party menu.

We picked up food trays from Eden Center for our family gathering and had quite a spread.

Table full of spring rolls, Vietnamese summer rolls, cha lua, lotus salad, chicken and pork

The most work I did was transferring food to plates, and it was glorious.

One of my favorite salads is Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt, Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork (cha lua). This restaurant put pickles in the salad. Have you ever had the salad with pickles or make a different variation? Curious to know where that twist originates. Let me know in the comments!

Fourth of July Festivities

4 Jul Grilled rock fish Vietnamese rice paper rolls

We’re heading to an Independence Day parade in my hometown and pool party with friends later in the day, but if I were organizing a gathering of friends and family, it might look a little like this:

Husband enjoying grilled clams

Slurping is always a good review. 👌

Continue reading

Vietnamese Cultural Heritage Festival

3 Aug

It has been an amazing summer weekend. No made-for-us plans, beautiful weather, and lots of activities around town. I was looking for something to do outdoors Friday evening with our niece  and settled on a local county fair with 4-H judging, carnival, and the whole lot. It was ok, not a grand county fair, but a nice evening out before checking out Guardians of the Galaxy. If you haven’t already, definitely go see it. Very entertaining.

When looking for out county sponsored activities I found a Vietnamese Cultural Heritage Festival happening Saturday and wanted to check it out. We took Anh’s sister and fiancé (yep – did I tell you they got engaged?!) out to dinner and then went over to the park to see what the festival was all about. We were all hoping for some cha gio or goi cuon, but no food in sight.

The concert was a review of local and internationally known Vietnamese singing groups – some adorable kids (tweens to teens), George Mason University Vietnamese society students, some adult troops.

Four singing groups performing at the Vietnamese Cultural Heritage festival Continue reading

Farewell 2013, an Amazing Year in Review

31 Dec Vietnamese long dress Ao Dai and wedding dress

What a year it’s been! To recap and set the stage for 2014, I wanted to look back at some of your (and my) favorite posts from 2013.

By and far, you’ve loved the Bun Rieu Cua recipe as much as my husband does. We hosted game night last weekend and this was again the main event. One of our Vietnamese friends said it tasted “very authentic”. Aahhh warm and fuzzies. I was stoked to try out a new tool though – check out this rau muong splitter (water spinach):

The end result is always beautiful. If you haven’t already, make it a resolution to give it a try in 2014.

Bun Rieu Cua tomato crab soup with  limes and herbs

Your second and third favorites are mine. We make Ca Kho caramel catfish often, made easier with the clay pot I added to my arsenal after this post. I could eat Ca Chim fried palmburro fish every week. Goes with any soup or green side. Super fast and easy to make.

Fried palmburro fish with squash soup and rice

Pinners loved the Banh Pate So on Pinterest. It remains my favorite party snack when friends or family come over. So rich and tasty with hidden vegetables – always a plus! Are there any Vietnamese cooking or cultural boards that are you go to for inspiration?

Banh Pate So meat filled puff pastries

The biggest moment – or series of moments – for me personally was of course my engagement and marriage. The Dam Hoi engagement ceremony planning and photos of the big day are hot items on the blog, and I hope the info is still handy should my sister-in-law need details for hers next year 🙂

Of course our wedding day was just as special. I still use many of the crafts and skills I picked up for the homemade details. Those glittered vases and votives are all over the house and we’ve used the table runners a few times. I’m still using calligraphy to add a special touch to gifts, letters and other things for the special people in my life. It takes time, but personal and handmade touches to any event are really worth the effort. Your guests will notice!

Vietnamese long dress Ao Dai and wedding dress

Photo by Katarina Price Photography

Thank you for finding and reading my blog, I hope the recipes, crafts, and entertainment tips have brought joy and yumminess to your year! Let me know if you have ideas for new recipes to tackle in 2014, and I’ll be back on the language learning train as we plan our trip to Vietnam in the fall. Here’s to a safe, joyful, and heathy New Year!

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