Hiatus // Blog Update

My dear readers, I am sorry for my long absence from this blog and your blogs.  I wish I could say I was lured away by something extraordinary, like traveling the world or learning new culinary skills, but in truth, my days were ordinary and quiet.

I spent the last two months recovering from much loss and disappointment; it seems when bad news arrives, it arrives in spades.  I have not felt cheerful enough to continue writing in this space.  With lack of cheer, there has been a lack of creativity in the kitchen and therefore not much to share.

I’m not sure when I’ll next return to this blog.  I’m just trying to enjoy one day at a time and all the simple things in life, like soft-boiled eggs, holiday lights, good reads, and a long run on a sunny day.

I have missed my interactions with you, dear readers, and sharing in your cooking adventures.  For that, I am truly sorry for being away.  If you care to stay connected, I’m often on Instagram these days (@nganmadeit), where I have already connected with many good blog buddies who continually add sunshine to my life with their beautiful photos and food.

Until next time, wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015.

xoxo, Ngan

pic of Thai red curry

Thai Shrimp Curry with Sweet Potatoes

I enjoy Thai food a great deal, particularly the sauce-soaked flat noodles in pad see ew and the strong lemongrass and kaffir lime flavors in tom yum soup.  Thai curry with its rich coconut sauce and aromatic herbs are a favorite of mine.  Warm and comforting, spicy and textured, Thai cuisine is at once foreign and kin to the Vietnamese food I grew up eating.

Continue reading

pic of espresso cups

In My Kitchen // October 2014

Fall is here.  I can feel the season in my surroundings and in my bones.  The yellow-brown leaves slowly littering our sidewalk and the cooler morning air are evidence of a changing time.  My breath catches as I step out each morning, the sun not yet risen, the sky a misty gray.  I enjoy the stillness and solitude of these moments and feel myself waken with each slap of cold air on my cheeks.

If the chillier weather doesn’t sufficiently get me out of my morning stupor, a cup of coffee certainly will.  In my kitchen this fair October, I have been brewing more coffee than I should, eating more yams than I care for, and entertaining friends with relish.  Welcome to my kitchen.

Continue reading

pic of cauliflower pesto

Cooking from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I’m two years behind the trend in picking up Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but my curiosity over Perelman’s phenomenal success as a food blogger overcame me so I finally borrowed a copy from the library.  Perelman has hundreds of recipes available for readers on her blog, covering all food categories.  I’ve made many dishes from the blog (my favorite being her adaptable blondies recipe I’ve made about a dozen times).  I wondered: what could Perelman offer in her cookbook that she doesn’t already offer on her blog?

Continue reading

pic of End of the Point

What I Learned From My Book Club

Discussion and debate often persuade me to think differently about a book.  Take, for instance, my visceral reaction to Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point.  A meandering story about wealthy WASPs and their vacation home, The End of the Point failed to capture my interest and left me questioning how in the world my book club decided upon this selection.  Yet, after discussing this book with others, I was surprised to see that there were notable aspects of the story I had missed in my reading.  I love being a part of a book club for this reason; the discussions remind me to be open-minded and teach me to appreciate the stories a little more.  (My book club also taught me that I love scones, but that’s for a little later.)

Continue reading

pic of nutty granola ingredients

Going Nuts for Granola

I started making a nutty, low-glycemic granola blend a few months ago and have become quite smitten with this versatile protein-packed, whole grain breakfast food.  I didn’t eat granola or oatmeal growing up; in fact, I can’t recall eating granola before I met my husband.  We’ve spent exorbitant amounts on a variety of organic, all-natural granola these past few years before realizing how much sugar was in even the “healthiest” varieties.  Our initial mission this past summer was to find a low or no-refined sugar granola blend.  One thing led to another and I found myself in our kitchen making granola.  Months later, I can’t seem to stop myself from making this quick and satisfying food!

Continue reading

The Untold by Courtney Collins // Book Review

pic of The Untold coverThe Untold is Courtney Collins’ fictional debut novel of real-life horse wrangler and outlaw Jessie Hickman.  It is exquisitely written and utterly captivating.  The depictions of the rugged Australian outback, its people, and frontier justice, combined with the stirring emotions of a woman being hunted like an animal, were compelling and deeply engrossing.  Rich with details, The Untold is a story of redemption, freedom, and crime and punishment.  To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement; it is the best book I’ve read all year.

Continue reading