Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Kitty Litter Salmon Tacos

Eat your heart out Rachel Ray ! Here come kitty letter salmon tacos! These were inspired by the kitty litter cake I made for Halloween. The end result of this taco dish looks much better.

Speaking of food, I thought I would list what "feeds" me in my home:

1. Johnny - my sweetheart. He feeds my soul so that I never have to hunger for love, attention, affection, or happiness.

2. Winnie - my kitten (no, I didn't eat her--yet...LOL although sometime I threaten to make her a Kung Pow Kitty dish). She was a kitty stranded in the alley and only a few months old when she made the move to Vegas with me last year.

3. This last one is tough...it's either my tech toys (Johnny will swear that's what I thrive on because my nose is always in it) or coffee, beef jerky, and sour candy--my favorite of all snacks!

In honor of my friend, Lalo, who has requested more visually appealing photos of the tacos post-makeover...I am revealing photos of the kitty litter salmon tacos in their glorious state (sigh)!!

What da ya think, eh? Better to look at the next you're eating subs? ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas in Seattle

Finals are over, the hectic schedule at work has dwindled down and campus resembled more of a ghost town than an academic institution as students slowly disappeared to venture home for the winter break.

Here we are at our layover in Reno on our way to Seattle for Christmas! We got up at the wee crack of dawn in order to catch our plane. The flight was worth braving in order to see my family--all of them in one place which is a rare occurence.

Seattle is just a different place. Not like L.A. or Las Vegas...it definitely has it's own personality. First of all, it is almost always wet--but that's what makes it so green and not like any other place. I've never lived in Seattle although I've pondered it at one point in my life. I had imagined myself living in a loft near towntown, bundled in a scarf and hanging out at the local coffee joint for kicks. I can't imagine myself doing that at this point in my life.

Like Johnny's dad, I'm solar powered. I need the sun and heat to keep going. Otherwise, I would just get depressed by the gloom and dampness. I don't think I could be happy anywhere geographically unless it was a place with little humidity, and lots of sun. Hawaii or Las Vegas.

So we've been in Seattle for several days now as the family members trickled in. First there was just us with my sister, her husband, and my nephew. Later the next day, my parents arrived with my brother, his wife, sister, and her fiance. We had taken bets on their estimated arrival time as my mom is notorious for being late--and I don't mean minutes late.

Once we had all the family members, then--and only then did it feel like Christmas as my sisters began to cook up a storm. Boy oh boy--the best Laotian food ever!! Pho, spring rolls, and other traditional foods. I ate my heart out and believe me, I'm not done yet. Pho is a strange thing. As simple as it is with noodles and beef stock--it is more than just soup. What's the saying, soup warms the heart and soul (or something like that)? Pho is the same in my family. It's about putting together the ingredients, flavoring the soup, and the conversations that accompany the meal.

As we eat our soup, my sisters and I sample from each bowl around the table, tasting the rainbow of flavor that differs from bowl to bowl. Every bowl is different and like mom says, "all different but all are good" and she's right. No two bowl taste the same because we specialize each bowl which starts out with just the basic beef stock and noodles.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Are You Dreamin' of a White Trash Christmas?

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season, I can't believe we are less than a week away from Christmas--6 days to be exact. Now that finals are over, I finally had a chance to do some serious Christmas shopping. I must be a wuss because after the second bookstore, I was pooped and ready to go home! I didn't realize shopping was such hard work. How can those shopaholic find that fun. They must be a glutton for punishment...I think that's what it is.

Speaking of hard work, I went to my mother-in-law-to-be's house to bake Christmas cookies yesterday. We baked and baked and baked our hearts out. Fudge, English Toffee, sugar cookies, cupcakes..they were hopefuls to a department party but alas--I was half-baked (forgive the pun) from being in the kitchen for an extended period of time I couldn't make it to the toasting of our first cohorts of Ph.D. grads! Baking was SO MUCH fun but at the same time, so much work. I will have to post pics soon.

Afterwards, we had a yummy dinner of herb rubbed chicken, corn casserole, and fresh salad drizzled with rice vinegar and olive oil dressing. Maggie is such a good cook--I've never had a meal that was good because it was always absolutely delicious!!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing my family over the winter break and some R&R. My honeybun will finally get to meet my parents and brother and his wife I'm really going to take my sweet time and enjoy the break while it lasts...

You can enjoy the holiday too and watch this animated cartoon fromToonedin.com on a White Trash Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2005

End of the Semester

Each semester I find myself making the same entry into my personal improvement journal 'study more in depth and prepare yourself for the rigorous week of finals but I never do. I wonder how I manage the grades that I do. Maybe that's the problem--I've always gotten good grades independent of my study efforst so why change? But this semester things are different...I'm not the least bit phased by finals week--and THAT is a great feeling!

Friday, December 02, 2005

'Tis that time of the year!

Does Christmas have a smell? Is it gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, logs burning in the fireplace, or bourbon and eggnog? Is it your favorite home baked goodies, peppermint candy canes, or the crisp scent of snow and icicles? What if you live where it never snows?

To me, the smell of Christmas...is the scent of (inhaling deeply) evergreen trees!! Christmas begins with bringing home a freshly cut Douglas fir. That moment came for me when we proudly toted the tree into our home and it is finally standing elegantly in its rightful place in the family living room. Aahhh…the smell just permeats our home. There's nothing like it; a smell those evergreen car fresheners can't even come close to imitating.

I didn't always have the Christmas spirit. The beginning of years of my life were spent in Laos and I was raised by Buddhist parents. It wasn't until we moved to Thailand and attended a church of Christian faith that I was introduced to the concept of Christmas. However, it wasn't the pagan Christmas that I've celebrated since then but the Christian Christmas. I remember thinking that particular holiday event of exchanging gifts was very strange as I received socks, crackers, and soaps.

Upon coming to America, our sponsoring family shared with us the pagan Christmas but I had already knew that…(dare I say it?) Santa didn't exist (gasp)!! Or at least I thought so then. Plus, the house didn't have a chimney so how did Santa get the presents under the Christmas tree?? Even though Christmas was, initially spoiled for me--I can't say me no likey, likey!!

Since then I've learned that Christmas is more than a Santa and presents (cliché, I know). Christmas became more about traditions, family, sharing, good food, and giving. Christmas is a feeling I have…and the smell of the Christmas trees.

Oh...I definitely think it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! It's definitely my favorite time of the year.