Cool fun fact: I’ve always had a recipe for French Onion Soup, but it suuUuUuuUuuck3d. Here’s hoping no one ever made it, but if you did (why??), my dude, I apologize. So, I’ve decided to update my outdated recipe with a brand new one. Look how it sparkles with my cute mini Le Creuset cocettes! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO CUTE? Yeah, don’t answer that, of course, you have. I probably should’ve posted a more summer-friendly recipe because who wants to eat piping hot soup right now? Well, you know what? I live in New England & this damn region doesn’t obey the laws of seasons. Seasons are light suggestions. Calendar says it’s summer? EL OH EL, try again. New England says it’s still autumn so it’s cold & raining, but tomorrow it’ll be hot, humid, & thundering. Drunk seasons are fun! Yay! (Help me).
Since it’s a new year, I’m going to start making some changes around here, slowly, but surely. I’ve got a lot on my plate, I assure you it’s not as crunchable or delicious as the Trader Joe’s Quinoa & Black Bean Infused Tortilla chips seen in the above photo, so it could take a long time. Maybe I’ll take an entire year again? HOPEFULLY KIDDING. The Winter Games have been incredible to watch & as a former figure skater, they’re my favorite Olympics. Seeing the Scandinavian countries crush the slopes, but beaten by the French in skating & the Biathlon had my Boston fam & me on the edge of our $200 bargain Crate & Barrel couch. Incredible feats of skill & athleticism. I may not be pregnant, but I definitely know what kind of dreams I have for my future progeny: QUALIFY FOR THE OLYMPICS OR YOU’LL BRING GREAT DISHONOR TO OUR FAMILY. Just kidding, kind of.
So, even though the Olympics are over, the next time a major televised event happens & you feel like hosting a small or large group gathering around a large–or small, whatever, no judgement–screen of pixels, you can whip out your homemade tomatillo salsa, paired nicely with all the tortilla chips.
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I’ve had this post queued up for almost a year, but I guess I forgot to post it. Whoops. A couple of summers ago, my family & I went on a trip to Thailand & Vietnam. At the end of our trip, we volunteered with MEMO in Vietnam. We offered scholarships to children to help keep them off the streets & stay in school, raised money for open heart surgery for young children, played with orphans, & gave thousands of strangers free healthcare. It was an amazing experience. We were exhausted, always full, sweaty, itchy from being victimized by mosquitos, & of course, many of us got food poisoning. Yay.
Our trip started off with riches–5 star hotels, white cloth dining, fully functioning air conditioning in our hotel rooms, real showers, deliciously decadent buffets–to rags. There were hotels we stayed at that simply had a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor, a non-existent shower. That’s right. There weren’t showers in some of these hotels, there was simply a shower head attached to a wall next to the toilet. The contrast was an unforgettable experience. I don’t think I’ll ever forget when my MEMO roomie Katie & I were thoroughly entertained by our eclectic neon ceiling lights in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It dawned on us as we fumbled with the normal lights with the neon ones that the hotel we were staying was the type you’d take your escort/mistress to. It could’ve been worse, but after seeing hair & stains on the bedsheets & pillows, I decided sleeping on the ground was somehow more hygienic. Don’t question my logic, it helped me sleep that night. Nevertheless, we made it out alive, sans contracting an STI too! We all experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but I think all of us walked away humbled, yet proud of the good we did. We helped positively change people’s lives, many of whom don’t even know our names nor have any ties to us. We were just a bunch of MEMOers helping out complete strangers.
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It’s been almost an entire year since I’ve updated my blog. That’s kind of crazy, but then again so is the US government. I don’t have any updates for you right now, but I have so many recipes I want to add. I also have thousands of photos to edit, but the amount of time I have is -500 hours. I’m sorry I suck. I did finally secure my website though, so that’s something.
Welcome to 2018, TiffanyBee.com! You’re finally HTTPS secure & properly SSL’d or whatever. Thought I broke my website for a second trying to secure this baby.
Aye girl, how long has it been?
- It’s been so long that I forgot what folder I normally upload my blog photos in.
- It’s been so long that I didn’t even add a gallery for the entire year of 2017.
- It’s been so long that I just had my annual performance review at my job, which I didn’t even have when I last updated my blog.
- It’s been so long that I’ve moved to a new city (Boston to Cambridge; still crying a little, but it’s fine) from the last time I updated.
- It’s been so long that the Patriots/evil have finally been defeated by the underdogs.
- Also, it’s been so long that somehow the president has still yet to release his tax returns. But the real issue is how in the world is he still in office? IDK, man. Eye. Dee. Kay.
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After traveling around Thailand for a week, my family collectively grew tired of eating Thai food. I thought I loved Thai, embracing papaya salad everyday, but I think the endless buffets (thanks to the pre-booked tours) quickly bored our palates. I never tired of mango & sticky rice though, but it never really occurred to me that Thai cuisine isn’t as diverse as Vietnamese cuisine. SHOTS FIREDDDD. Jaykay. Such a first world problem, right? It wasn’t until flying into Hanoi did I truly appreciate the cuisine of my peoplez. It’s exponentially more diverse than Thai food, especially due to its influence from its colonial French past & its Chinese neighbors. We’ve got similar desserts based in coconut milk & then we have these amazing cakes & pastries thanks to the French. We have dozens of various noodle soups, while Thailand only has a handful. While most other Asian countries embrace soy sauce in nearly every dish, Thai & Viet food is similar in that both cuisines embrace fish sauce, a highly pungent & salty fermented fish sauce. It’s often mixed with sugar, water, salt, & vinegar as a dipping sauce or dressing. Fish sauce (concentrated, not mixed) has always been my mother’s secret weapon in enhancing any meal whether it was spaghetti or Banh Canh Cua. Also, MSG. She used a lot of MSG, but the point is, whenever her meals needed a major kick in umami, she pulled out a bottle of fish sauce & measured out a tablespoon of it into her dish. Never fails.
We were excited to finally get our hands on some Vietnamese food, exciting our tastebuds with new combinations of flavors & spices we grew up with. I learned that Hanoi’s goi cuon tom (aka summer rolls) is made with a much thinner sheet of rice paper & honestly, it’s more annoying to eat & make. I love summer rolls. I make them at least 3 times a month, no matter the season, because it’s so healthy, fresh, filling, & low in calories. While Hanoi’s (Northern Vietnam) cuisine is much lighter than Saigon’s (Southern Vietnam), it still has some of my personal favorite dishes: Bun Cha & Cha Ca Thang Long. See all of our eats & travel photos below!