You can blame Josh & working at DAVIDsTEA for my pun-ny humor/dad jokes for days. I’m not proud of myself & neither are my puns. I’ve put off this post long enough, so here it is in all of its mouthwatering & wanderlust invoking (mayhaps?) glory! It’s another filler post, I know, oh well, I promise lots of recipes are coming your way inspired by my trip to Vietnam!
Wow, you guys, I actually forgot how to blog for a good minute there; it’s been so long since I’ve posted an edible recipe. Last Monday, I received my box of soap goodies from Bramble Berry, which got me so excited to make cold process soap for the first time. Melt & pour soap is really easy to do & I love the instant gratification of using your soap a few hours after you’ve made it, but since I’m a control freak, I need to have power over what goes into my soap. I don’t like the cheap feel of soap leaving your skin dry–something you can get from low quality melt & pours–so I just sucked it up & bought the Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit. I’ve made 2 bars of soap so far, so in 4-6 weeks–it takes at least 4 weeks for soap to cure–I’ll finally have my belated birthday giveaway! I guess it’s way too late to even call it a belated birthday giveaway, I’ll just call it my summer giveaway or something. Anyway, more details on that when the soap finishes curing.
Before I get too carried away with soap, let’s talk about my new edible recipe, which features a mix of oyster mushrooms & crimini, kale, cashews, & of course, creamy polenta. Don’t mind the flattened look of the polenta–took a picture of this when the polenta was at its least creamy aka the next day, heated up–this recipe will produce a very creamy bowl of polenta, which you can top off with your choice of mushrooms, greens, & nuts. It makes a really quick & easy vegetarian dinner & if you’re still hungry, you can grill some other veggies like asparagus or squash or any protein (tofu, fish, etc) of your choice!
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This Ma Belle Vie is a little different from others because I’m combining it with Georgina’s A Day in the Life Linkup. Well, to be honest, it’s really not that different. I captured photos from morning until night, however I couldn’t exactly document what happened after we returned to the hotel because that Hand Grenade knocked me out. I hadn’t felt that horrible in a long time, so lesson learned: don’t take on an entire Hand Grenade if you can barely handle more than 5 shots of hard liquor.
On February 19th, Josh attended the 56th Annual Convention of the International Studies held in New Orleans & flew me out for our 2 Year Anniversary. It was my first time in Louisiana & also my first time in New Orleans aka The Big Easy. This city has experienced a lot of tragedy & hardship in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina drowned 80% of the city, due to a major engineering mishap: the levees designed to protect the city against major hurricanes failed. Thousands of people were displaced, lost their homes, lives, businesses, & many were trapped in their own homes when the waters rushed in. Since then, the city has slowly, but surely recuperated. Tourism is very much alive & Mardi Gras is still a much celebrated event. Our trip to NOLA was a week after Mardi Gras, so most of the city still looked like the day after a frat party, but I chose not to photograph the trash. I don’t want to depict the city’s disheveled appearance, hoping to highlight the wonderful mixing of various cultures, food, & architecture. New Orleans is appropriately named America’s most unique city & while it might be a far cry from Paris, Amsterdam, London, or Bern, it is still such a worthy visit. There is no other city in all of the US like it & the culture & food is phenomenal. It’s a perfect blend of Southern comfort, Caribbean & Spanish flavors, & most notably, French influence. NOLA is a pescetarian’s dream come true: seafood for days. It’s also a great hub for meat eaters & veggie lovers alike.
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A fellow food blogger friend of mine, Daniela of Food Recipes HQ, said she really enjoyed seeing my travel photos–her food photography & travel photographs are also beautiful, so this is a huge compliment–& a fellow photo journal blogger buddy, Cat of Silent White, was inspired by my last Ma Belle Vie post, & made her own. I figured it was best to follow up my Mushroom Mapo Tofu recipe with another Ma Belle Vie post. For those of you who haven’t seen this before, “Ma Belle Vie” is a category of posts cataloguing my day in photographs from when I wake up until I go to bed. I forgot to take photos of our night, but I can assure you, Josh & I take dental hygiene seriously – rest assured, we did brush our teeth before sleeping, despite the lack of photographs to prove it.
Click the first photograph & use the arrows on the center left or right to navigate through our day. These photos were taken at the end of summer in August when I flew with Josh to help him settle into Florida. I’ll be back with a Vietnamese noodle recipe, wait & see!
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If you’ve never heard of this delicious Sichuan dish before, now you have & you’ve seen a picture of it. Of course my rendition of it errs on the traditional meat & tofu dish, but this is still an amazing Chinese dish, which pretty much is a party in your mouth. Probably might even make you sweat a little if you can’t handle the heat. This would not be the greatest recipe to try if you’re in, oh I don’t know, California or Florida right now–the states that completely avoided the Polar Vortex because they defy the laws of Seasons–but if you’re in any of the other 48 states with the exception of parts of Texas, this dish is right up your alley. Autumn is happening & it’s slowly getting chillier with each passing week, so if you’re one of the strange individuals who doesn’t like soup–& apparently I know about at least 3 of you–mapo tofu is a nice solution. This dish is the perfect embodiment of Sichuan cuisine with its usage of their spicy peppercorns, reminiscent to the heatwave that is hammering a drought stricken California or the ever humid Florida. So, eat up this recipe & experience the heat before venturing out to the chilly autumn wind. Even if you’re not a fan of tofu, the sauce is so distinctive in flavor that the tofu won’t even bother you one bit. Not a fan of mushrooms? We’ve already talked about this.