Salt and Pepper Shrimp


  • 1 to 2 lb shrimp
  • 3 cup oil for frying
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Quick Notes

  • if you don't have white pepper, you can skip it.  
  • garlic powder is optional too.
  • if you like five spice powder, pinch a little into the dried spices mix.


  1. Coat the shrimp in flour and dust off excess flour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on high heat.
  3. Deep fry the shrimp until it starts to ooze out. Remove and place on paper towel.
  4. In another pan, add the shrimp infuzed oil you used to fry the shrimp.  
  5. Add the jalapeno and green onion and fry for a few seconds.
  6. Add the dried spices.
  7. Add the shrimp and toss quickly.
  8. Serve.


100 Days

[A picture I took of the tree outside my mom and dad's house.  The first thing I see when I go outside.]

Hello everyone!

It's been 100 days since I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. It's been an eye opening experience.  I'm learning new things every day and staying busy.  I still travel back and forth to Madison, Wisconsin because my house has not sold yet and the transition has taken longer than expected.  I'm currently residing with my family so I haven't bought a new house yet.  Please pray for me and hopefully my house in Madison will get sold soon.

I haven't had the opportunity to cook up any recipes.  I really miss my kitchen.  I enjoy my mom's hospitality but truly--you can only have one queen of the house.  However, it's a pleasure eating my mom's home made food and her super simple easy khaub poob.  I long for my own kitchen and personal space.  It's been such a long time since I have lived with my parents and siblings.  I'm very happy to be close to them and see them every day.  Living in Madison was a bit lonely because I had no relatives nearby.  

When you move away, you really learn who cares and who doesn't care about you.  The ones who care about me follow up with me.  The ones who don't care never speak a word.

What has these 100 days been like?

Physically-- It's cold here in Minnesota (same as in Wisconsin).  Wish winter would just end! I am living in the most Hmong populated city in America yet I haven't really seen that many Hmong.  Guess I don't go out much. Mostly just work, home, grocery shopping, and YMCA.  I wish the rush hour traffic could improve, still getting used to the long commute.

Mentally-- I haven't been this challenged in quite a long time.  Over the course of these last 100 days, I have learned Groovy, Grails, Angular JS, C#, .NET, and WCF Web Services.  I'm a big tech geek so I really enjoy learning new programming languages.  It's very important to stay current and relevant with technology so it makes you marketable and competitive in the industry.  I feel gratification when I can solve problems and create eloquent code! 

Emotionally-- I miss my family and friends in Madison. I get to see them when I travel down to visit on weekends.  I am thankful to all the support from my MN family.  I love them!  

Spiritually-- I haven't gone to church in the last 100 days.  I am feeling a bit spiritually depleted.  I need to find a church here soon.  I've been traveling a lot so I have not made the time to visit a church and worship.  God, please forgive me! 

Deliciously-- The best food I have eaten since I arrived here has to be the chicken makhani I bought from India Palace.  I also love the food trucks in Minneapolis.  My brother's zuppa soup has been my favorite home cooked meal he's made for our family.  My husband also makes a delicious ox tail soup that I love, love, love!!!! 

Youtube and Facebook -- I've also been greeted with happiness and disappointment too.  Happy that I have 17,900+ subscribers on Youtube now.  Sad that I see my recipes on some blogs online and no credit or linkbacks to my site.  Also disappointed to see people crop out my name from my photos and try to pass on as their own photos.  Totally uncool ... In February someone made a fake Youtube account and uploaded all my videos from my Youtube channel to their fake channel.  With the support from my friends online, they helped me report the fake channel and Youtube suspended that account.  It was a victory but as soon as that one came down, two more came up.

Korean Dramas-- I haven't watched any in the last 100 days.

TV Dramas-- My sister and brother got me into Game of Thrones. I watched this during my christmas break in Madison.  My 3 faves are Tyrion, Arya, and Daenerys.  I'm also following the Walking Dead now that it's airing again.

Plans for the spring/summer-- I plan to take a vacation this summer. Not sure where I will go yet.  Maybe France ... It's always been a dream of mine to go there.  When I was a little girl, I was so infatuated with french culture that I studied french for years. Haven't spoken it in forever but I can read, comprehend, and write it.  Speaking french, I can but with not a lot of confidence anymore... Maybe a POTLUCK MEETUP this summer?  We shall see if there's any interest ... if you are in the MN area and are interested, leave me a comment below.





5 Lessons I Learned From Working in Corporate America

It's been about a few months since I left my corporate job in Madison, WI for a new career change in Minneapolis, MN.  I am a person who can easily adapt to new surroundings so my transition has been rather smooth despite having to move a state away.   The most important priority is taking care of yourself and be smart about taking advantage of opportunities. 

My background is web programming and today I am senior software engineer at a large advertising agency in Minneapolis.  I code and develop applications on the web that can be accessed via desktop, mobile, tablets, and devices of choice.

Have you ever wished you could turn back time and give the past you some words of advice?  Well, these are some words of advice I wish someone would have shared with me, then again ... maybe I just had to experience them in order to grow.

  1. Start every day of your job as if it was your first day; continuously learning and having a positive attitude.
    Remember your first day and how exciting it was to be at a new place! Yes, it can be a scary thought because you are the new kid on the block.  There's so much to learn and people to get to know.  If you are like me, you are driven and determined to make a difference! You are fresh and the passion is on fire, you are ready to take on any challenge!  Then as time goes on, even though you work hard, you are met with disappointments and perhaps even rejection.  That fire isn't burning quite as fierce as before.  Fear not, never lose faith.  Just remember, you have purpose and never let anyone get you down.  Your attitude can change everything.  When you are met with disappointment, remember how far you have come. There is hope!  Stay hungry for knowledge.  Continue to grow your skills and talents. 


  2. Give credit and thanks to others who have helped you; we are a team.
    My favorite top 5 teammates who have always stood by me since day 1 of our career / friendship ...  shoutout goes to Michele P, Ryan P, Mike P, Lori M, and Ally D.

    No one ever made it to the top without the help of others.  As the saying goes, be nice to those on your way to the top because you will be passing them all on your way back down.  In my younger years, whenever someone asked me for help my reply was always, "yes."  I went the extra mile to help a teammate because that's just the way I was taught.  I never questioned whether or not I would benefit, I helped because I wanted the team to achieve our goals.  What I've learned is that not everyone will give credit when it's due and sometimes they will even take all credit and you are kicked to the wayside.  Yes, being thrown under the bus feels horrible.  What I've learned is to not be like them.  You do good work because it's your work ethic.  Good work doesn't go unnoticed.  Fakers will eventually miss their shot.  Give praise and credit to those who help you.  Some people play only to win and they will sacrifice their team members to achieve it, others play to help their team win.  Which one are you?

  3. Stay eager and keep trying even when others say it cannot be done. 
    The greatest pleasure in life is successfully doing the things other people swear you can't do. WHY? Because you are fully capable! Giving up is not an option.  Have you ever been pigeon-holed because someone didn't know how capable you are?  Or maybe you are surrounded by people who don't support your dreams and goals because where you want to grow, doesn't fit in their vision?  If you aren't stretching, you aren't growing.  If you can't grow in your current position, find other ways to grow outside your job.  For me, I found great solace in taking the extra initiative in learning new programming languages to stay competitive in my field.  Sometimes a corporate job can get comfortable in the old way of doing things because the company only does things one way, which can lead to long solutions that take forever to achieve.  If you open your mind to other technologies and other ways of doing things, there's so many possible solutions!
  4. The competition is outside, not inside.
    So many things I can say about this, but I think it's self explanatory.  Rule of thumb: Take care of you first, because corporations work like corporations, they are not your family.
  5. Someday you will realize that every time you thought you were being rejected from something good, you were just being pointed toward something better.
    I got a special song for this (click play below).
    You are exactly where you should be.  There are lessons to be learned. Nothing is a waste of time.  No matter how much it hurt back then, today I look back and realize my struggles changed my life for the better.  Thank you Song Vang for the song recommendation today.  It really made my day! Sometimes when there's no road that can take you anywhere, make your own path. 



Transition to Minnesota

Hi everyone!

It's been a while since I last updated this blog.  I've been busy moving and started my new job as a senior software engineer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I'm still adjusting to big city life.  Everything is so fast paced here, so very different than Madison, Wisconsin.  My new commute is now 20-60 minutes depending on traffic and weather conditions.  My old commute in Madison was a mere 5-10 minutes.  I was so spoiled back then!  However, I do love the city life here in the Twin Cities and there's so much more offerings that are not available in Madison.

I'm still in process of selling my house in Madison.  If you know of anyone who is looking for a good home on Madison's east side, please leave me a comment and I can forward you my house listing and MLS number!  Once my house sells, I plan to look for some land up here.  My son wants to garden and raise animals so I need to find a home with a few acres.

These days I'm up early by 6 am and I go to bed around 9 pm. My old routine I was up at 7 am and in bed by 12 am.  Crazy, right? Well it's cold here now and nothing much to do except cuddle up in a warm bed and sleep! LOL.  Plus I don't watch cable anymore so that's a main reason why I'm not up so late anymore.

I have yet to venture around the many awesome restaurants in town.  Just haven't found the time to do so after work.  In the big city it feels like by the time I get home, I just want to eat dinner and relax and then go to bed.  On the weekends, I'm still traveling to Madison so I haven't had any sight seeing time here in St. Paul.

So far this is all I've done since moving to St. Paul:

  • Visited Mall of America
  • Visited Hmong International Market
  • Visited Hmong Village
  • Eat at the local restaurants where I work in Minneapolis (Darby's, The Loon)
  • Ate food from the food trucks that stopped in front of my workplace but now they don't come anymore because it's cold (boo hoo!)
  • Shopped at Target, Walmart, Sams Club, and Cub Foods

So many more things I want to do! Just gotta find more time to do it. :-)


August Giveaway

August Giveaway is closed! 

The winner is Niam Nomyis Lauj from Pontiac, Michigan! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  • 16 ounce can of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 lotus flower cookie mold
  • 4 powder food coloring
  • 2 packs of vanilla sugar
  • 3 packs of yeast

Fawm Kauv - Steam rice rolls

Rice crepe:
1 1/2 cup rice flour (red bag)
1 1/2 cup tapioca flour (blue bag)
5 cups water
1 tbsp oil

Mix everything together. Set aside.

1 pound ground pork (or chicken, beef, turkey)
1/2 cup scallions chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Brown the ground pork until cooked. Add salt, black pepper. Add the green onion and cilantro.

Making of the crepe:
1. In a crepe pan (or non-stick pan), turn the heat on medium low. When the pan is hot, add crepe and swirl it around to coat the pan. Let it cook until the sides start to pull in and looks transparent.

2. Pour the crepe onto a large plate. I lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and pour it on that.

3. Sprinkle meat all over the crepe evenly. Add as much as you like.

4. You can fold it like how you fold egg rolls OR fold all edges in into a square and roll up.

Annie's peanut sauce:
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce (three crabs brand)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp chunky peanut butter (or plain)
1 tbsp thai chili or chili sambal sauce

Mix everything together until well blended.

Wedding Dress Part 2

A year ago, 22 friends and I embarked on a journey to get fit, eat better, and improve our health.  We entitled this journey "The Wedding Dress Weight Loss Journey" because our reward would be to look fabulous in pretty dresses~!  I made a pledge to my friends that at the end of our 1 year anniversary, I would take our photos and we would celebrate this moment together.  These photos were taken at Token Creek in Deforest, WI.

Read my previous blog journey here on why we went on this journey:

April 2012
I started a private Facebook group with 22 of my friends.  Our goal was to give each other support and post/comment on topics that we needed help with.  Many people contributed information on things that worked for them, things that did not work, diets they've tried, success and failure stories etc ... Along the way, we encouraged one another and tried our best to improve ourselves by reading what others were trying.  It was a lesson in progress.

April 2013
We were originally planning to take photos in April but since we had a late spring here in Madison, we opted to move it to August.

August 3, 2013
We got to Token Creek around 11 a.m.  We finished taking photos around 12:30 p.m.  It wasn't a hot day, but I was wearing my wedding dress and I was hot taking photos. Haha, note to self, in the future don't model and be the photographer also.  Hehe.

These are my wonderful friends: Kayla, me, Jamie, Nou, and Pahoua.

A picture of me





To see the full gallery, please visit my Facebook page:

Vermicelli Salad with sweet and salty dressing

Most simple salad dressing you will love! Believe it or not, I just made up this sauce today. LOL



  • 1 cup vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup any veggie of your choice
  • shrimp or chicken

Annie's sweet salty salad dressing - good for 2-3 salad servings

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (three crab brand)
  • 1 tbsp chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp chili sambal (jar with green cap)
  • (you can adjust the amount to fit your taste)

In a small pot, mix the sugar and lime juice and heat on high until the sugar dissolves. (about 1 minute).

Then remove from heat. Add 2 tbsp of fish sauce, chili sambal, and chunky peanut butter.

Mix until well combined. Let cool or you can chill in fridge until cold.

Pour sauce over salad when ready to serve.


Soy Sauce Chicken

Soy Sauce Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken cut up into small pieces
  • 1 onion sliced into thick wedges
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or 1/2 cup depending on the saltiness level of your brand)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix everything together and place into a pan.
Heat the pan until it starts to boil, then reduce to low heat, cover with a lid, and let cook for 20 minutes.
Then turn up the heat to high and let the water evaporate until the sauce gets thicker.
Turn off the heat and serve.

You can add thai chillies or hot pepper flakes if you like it spicy.