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_MG_2535Chao and welcome! I’m Michele Mai, a yogi-ish, goofy mom to two sassy divas who resemble Tinkerbell’s magical pixie dusts. They bring sparkles to my crazy world with their festive spirits and heart-pounding antics.

What’s Cooking?

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My Pho Bo – Vietnamese Beef and Rice Noodle Soup with herbs from the garden.

I cook too much, too often… and always with a beloved opera playing in the background. Those beautiful arias soothes me while I chop away. Cooking foods I fondly remember from my Vietnamese childhood feeds my soul. I mainly cook simple, rustic, comfort foods that “sings” to me and caters to my chaotic life. For my hubby, I also cook his most requested Korean must-haves.

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Banh Bao – my take on my mom’s Vietnamese pork, eggs, chinese sausage steamed dumpling.

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Korean grilled pork belly with gochuchang pepper paste, served with kimchi, pickled cucumber and spicy radish on a bed of steamed rice.

Certain family recipes were modified from their humble origins, to reduce time-consuming steps (got two kids and all…) but do not jeopardize their delicious outcomes. My ultimate goal is to expose and teach my babies about their family’s rich cuisines and appreciate their “Heinz 57” mixed effect. As such, they often cook alongside me. I strongly believe that cooking with your kids, giving them age-appropriate responsibilities, strengthens their work ethics. It also helps to develop a stronger family bond. On a selfish note, more hands on deck equals less work, right?

I cherish Mother Nature’s gracious bounty through my passion of organic gardening – a “gift” acquired from my parents. Getting my hands in the rich soil and seeing the fruits of my labor thrive is cheap therapy; it quiets my endless, chaotic thoughts. Often, I cook with what I harvested just a few steps from my back porch. I find that quite rewarding.

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_MG_4980I travel with an open mind, but always at my own pace and on my own terms. I hate to be rushed like a speed-demon tourist zipping from one destination to the next, never really appreciating their temporary surroundings. I find fascination in accidentally discovering a scrumptious ethnic dish just by stumbling into a new place. I’m inspired by what I learn away from home. My creativity in the kitchen benefits greatly as a result. I get excited when I uncover new plant specimens in a remote town and eager to grow them in my own garden.

Goofy me next to typical car parked near The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Goofy me next to typical car parked near The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

 

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Pretty in pink roses grown in front of Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France. Circa May 2007

Garden of I Parigi Villa in Galuzzo, Tuscany, Italy.

Garden of I Parigi Villa in Galuzzo, Tuscany, Italy. Our B&B for 5 nights in Sept. 2005.

Why I blog?

This blog allows me to chronicle recipes I’ve created since those sacred vows were said, centuries ago, it seems. LOL! I’m embarrassed to admit, most of my key recipes are still on handwritten, scratch papers and post-it notes, forever smeared by various seasoning sauces. Yet, they are my tried and true, all-time favorites. A handful are on their way to greatness. Rest assured, if a recipe is not of my creation, I will indicate the source. It’s the only fair thing to do. I would expect the same from others.

At times, I will honestly rant and rave about the crazies in Mommy-ville… perhaps post some reviews on the endless, needless baby gadgets and knick knacks we’ve accumulated within the last six years. Above all, this blog is a means to express my love of writing… to sprinkle my random droplets of thoughts and pepper it with sincere emotions. Life is beautiful yet short! I’m just going to live it and write about it – my way!

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