Monday, December 27, 2010

Vietnamese Cooking Class...Pho-nomenial

Michelle, Brandon, me, and Jess ready to out Emeril

On Wednesday we decided to take a cooking class at a restaurant in Hoi An. We picked a great day to do it, because it was rainy that day and didn't rain any other day. The tour started out by going to the market to see what to buy and get explanation of food used in Vietnamese cooking.

Getting ready for the market tour

It was very interesting to see that Westerners use the biggest of everything and the Vietnamese use the small size of everything. Our tour guide explained that the smaller vegetables and fruits are more potent and have more flavor. We laughed because in the West the bigger the better, that is evidently not the case.

Fresh Chilies...these suckers are HOT!

A woman at the market

Fresh fruit...the bottom right are called "China Plums"

Noodles anyone? Each type was specific for the meat you were using (ie fish, beef, chicken)

So many eggs...pickled, aged, chicken, quail, and more I can't remember...

Fresh fish every morning

The top left is a banana leaf...I had never seen one before.

Yummy fruit

Another thing I noticed is how they do not waste anything. I have seen this in almost every country I have visited. Seriously they eat/use everything. Made me a little self-conscious about my "usage".

All of these sauces and spices went into the marinade...I was a happy girl

Cooking up some food

After the tour of the market we came back to the class and the owner of the restaurant began. She talked about the philosophy of Vietnamese food and cooking. They are very healthy and want their food with lots of flavor and texture. Nothing is processed and all the fruits and vegetables are organic. No wonder why they are people in good shape.

Marinating the chicken

We then began our dishes. Our menu was: spring rolls, crispy pancake, chicken marinated in a hand-made marinade, and mango salad. Each dish was amazing. There are so many ingredients in each dish. Mrs. Vy (the owner) told us that the Vietnamese don't eat dessert, they just include sweetness into their food. I was appalled by this, until I tasted our food and then completely understood. It was full of flavors and left a sweet taste in my mouth.

Preparing the spring rolls

Crispy pancake with shrimp and pork

Mango Salad...peeled the mango and all.

Entree-mango salad with marinated chicken

Overall, the class was awesome and it was really good food. The best part was that we made it! We also each got recipes for all the dishes we made and more. We also got a Vietnamese knife to take home (basically two knives welded together to peel stuff, but so much cooler). So if you're ever in Hoi An and want to go to a cooking class stop by Morning Glory.

Me and Jess

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We made it to Vietnam the land of motorbikes, good food, and beautiful mention a few things.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

Meet my new best friend...he keeps me warm on mornings like today. Brrrrr

Monday, December 13, 2010


Being sick stinks...I have been really fortunate since arriving in China that I really hadn't been sick at all. Rewind to two weeks ago and I had a cough/throat thing. I got over that pretty quickly, but it was not fun. Well it was a carnival compared to my day today. I woke up feeling nauseous so I stayed in bed longer. I decided to get up and get ready for work so I took my shower. Bad idea...throw up everywhere. It started then at 6:00 am and hasn't stopped. It's not only that either...if you know what I mean.

I am thankful we have a doctor in my apartment complex, so I went to see him and he gave me meds and a shot. It helped a little, but still feel like crap. I just wanted to cry I felt so terrible. I seriously wanted my mommy. Jess is being sweet and went and got me some Sprite and a banana, but I haven't even kept water down so I'm scared to eat it. I told him to go to his apartment because I don't want him to get this awefulness. It is going around because two other teachers have it too and Jess just informed me his roomie, Brandon, has it too.

We leave for Vietnam and Thailand on Saturday I hope I'm better! Off to go lay in fetal position!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Musings on Christmas

I love the Christmas season. Not being in the States during my favorite time of the year is an inner battle. I find myself missing the comforts of home, but at the same time glad I'm not there. Now hear me out...of course, I miss my family and friends during this time to get together with loved ones and celebrate our Savior, but at the same time I am glad to be away from all the commercialism. My dad is probably keeling over right now, because he calls me the ultimate consumer. Since moving away from the land of convenience and desire I have learned that I am fine without the latest trend or gadget. Do I still like them, yea, but it's not a necessity (nor ever was, I just thought they were). I feel like America has commercialized Christmas so much that we forget what it is truly about. We quickly forget about Jesus' birth and focus on the gifts, parties, and decorations. I don't think it's bad to do "Christmas" but just keep it in perspective. It's easy for me to keep it in perspective as I am not bombarded with commercials and store windows. As much as we have pumped up the commercial Christmas we have downplayed the true CHRISTmas.

I have spent the last two weeks listening to my Pandora Christmas station and I love it. Most of the time it is just background music as I work, but when I took a break I really listened to the words. Christmas is so amazing. The birth of our Savior to an unwed woman and a man in a stable. Can you imagine being Mary? She must have been terrified when she was pregnant. One because she was not married, times back then weren't as forgiving as they are now and it was not acceptable. Two, because she had the Lord's son in growing in her! I can't even imagine. One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Mary Did You Know? " I always try to think of what she would feel like as the mother of Jesus. I love the last lines of the verses. Can you imagine?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

What an awesome God we serve and praise. To think He made his son a man to take away our sins by dying on the cross. I grew up hearing all the stories about Jesus' birth and his miracles, and that's what they were to me stories. As I get older and think about the amazingness of Jesus I am blown away. To heal a blind man? Walk on water? Calm a storm? Are you serious, that is so freaking AWESOME. More than just stories, they are a testimony to our God. And for Jesus to live a life that is sinless for me? I don't deserve it at all and nothing I can do will ever be enough to deserve it. It is by His grace that I am saved. I could kick myself for how often I take that forgranted. So often I down play the severity of not having His grace. Without it I am lost, yet I don't cling to it as much as I should. An all time favorite verse of mine and one that got me through some hard times is 2 Corinthians 12:9... But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

That's all for now, just wanted to get my thoughts down for my future self. Hopefully wherever I go in my future I will remember and won't be dragged back into the craziness of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

Since I'm going to Vietnam and Thailand for Christmas break (and not home) I had to decorate for Christmas to get me in the spirit. Doing that in China is a feat...finding cute Christmas stuff here is impossible. They only have one section in the Christmas aisle...cheesy. I did the best I could and think it looks okay. Shout out to my mama and Amanda for sending me fun Christmas stuff.

Bought this here in China...the verse written in Chinese is Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who lived in a land of deep darkness- on them light has shined.

Coffee table decorations...

Some of my best friends are flakes :)

Poinsetta I bought at the Holiday Bazaar with the coasters Amanda gave me

My kitchen table

Tacky Chinese ornaments

My little Charlie Brown Christmas tree

All lit up


Monday, November 29, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

Before it starts getting cold here they always paint the bottom of the trees white. I have no clue why. Anyone got an idea?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Being in China I always get to celebrate things twice...once in real time (future time in the States) and then again when it is the day for everyone in the States. I'm thankful for so much in my life I can't narrow it down. God has blessed me with so much I don't deserve. One, and most importantly, with Jesus' grace and forgiveness. I am so thankful for my family. They are my rock and foundation. We are a crazy bunch, but so much fun. I got to talk to them via skype tonight (their Thanksgiving morning). It was fun to see all of them and my cutie nieces and nephews.

Adam and sweet Sarah

Mom and dad

Beckham and Mom

Laura and Ainsley

Matthew and Katie

Seriously...what did people do before technology?!?! I can't imagine. I have so much more respect for people that lived abroad prior to skype, facebook, email, etc. I don't know if I would make it.

I also got to celebrate Thanksgiving with the people I work with. It's funny, I never would have done that in the States, but here they have become my family. I am so thankful to have a job especially in this economy. And an awesome one at that! I am thankful for my position this year and letting me get to know Sidney much better. She is my saving grace here. She is so great and encouraging. She is an amazing woman with a great outlook on life. She makes my days brighter and more fun.

Sidney and me

The guys and me

On another note, I have fallen off the biggest loser wagon. Ever since my birthday and stuffing my face it has been hard to get back on track. Tonight the owner of our school hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the whole staff. It was good food and good people.

We are onto two more Thanksgiving dinners over the weekend....I might be 700 pounds before December!

A piece of heaven?

This week we have an Everyday Math trainer working with our teachers. Part of my job is to organize the schedule and host the trainers. It is fun, but can be stressful. So I was skyping with the trainer and she is from Atlanta, feels like my home sweet home. We were talking about how I miss Chick-Fil-A so much. Y'all guess what she brought...

Yes, that is a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in my hand! She froze it overnight and then put it in her bag. When she handed it to me it was still cold. I made it complete by heating it up in the oven and pairing it with some sauce Manda sent for my birthday. I WAS IN HEAVEN!

Jess even got some...that is true love right there. Sharing of the sandwich. I don't know if he understands the depth of this little gesture. We had fun being goofy with the pictures, lots more where they came from and she also brought another! Maybe another photo shoot will occur... :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Friends and Food

"Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life."

I'm so thankful for my friends here. I wouldn't make it without them. Last night Brandon made dinner for the crew and it was just like old times. We did this more last year and I miss it. There's nothing that beats good food and good people. One of my favorite things in life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lucky girl

Reason number 145,362,092,877 that my boyfriend is amazing...

My office smells fantabulous :) Thanks baby!

By the way...have you ever played on Picnik? If not try it! It's free and you can do some cool things. See...