Fun with photos

I've been taking a lot of photos lately. I got my hair colored a few weeks ago. This was the intense color it was back then. Now that it's been a few weeks, it's not quite as dramatic anymore.

Me in a field (Taken Sept 3, 2012)

 

Me in a field

 

Bao, Kia, and me

 

Kia

My Birthday 2012

Today I turn another year older. My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him I just wanted to spend my birthday this year with my family in Minnesota. We drove up there Friday afternoon and hung out with my family.  My cousin Yer took me to Super Moon Buffet Saturday morning for my bday present. It was the biggest asian buffet I've seen in the midwest! I'll post more pictures later. We also had a birthday dinner celebrating my birthday, my nephew Kamryn, my sister Myra, my sister Song, and my dad's birthday since our birthdays are so close together! Yesterday we went on a photo shoot. I'll post more pictures later.  For now, I'm gonna enjoy the rest of my awesome  day!

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Chinese Sponge Cake

chinese sponge cake hmong food

This recipe is very easy to make! I love eating these any time of the year! They are soft, moist, and delicious! Reminds me of my childhood.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar (see instructions below to make your own)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Steps

  1. Beat the 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg. 
  2. Add the oil and beat.
  3. Add the cake flour and mix. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. In a mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Then add sugar.
  5. Continue to whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter until combined.
  7. Pour into paper lined cup cake pan.
  8. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes (or until top is golden brown).
  9. Cool on a rack and serve!

Making your own fine sugar

  • Put sugar in a food processor and process it until it is powdery soft. 
  • You don't want to end up with powdered sugar, but you want the consistency to be soft and fine.

Gangnam Style

This video is SOOOO awesome!

This song went VIRAL! The artist is PSY (pronounced like psy-chology aka "sai") and all the dance moves are choreographed by him. I was sitting at my desk at work when along come this email sent by my coworker, Greg. After reviewing the video, I busted out laughing!!!! Greg, I didn't know you were a closet K pop fan? J/K.... LOL I even got to see Greg do the Horsie Gallop dance! ROFLMAO!

English Lyrics:

Oppa is Gangnam style
Gangnam style

A girl who is warm and humanly during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensable girl like that

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but plays when he plays
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

You know what I’m saying
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

 

Oh Baby Maiv Os

I was introduced to this song from my friend Kaying. Ever since I watched this song, this has become my "go to song" whenever I feel down or just need a laugh. The song is called "Oh Baby Maiv Os" meaning "Oh baby My female duck". The guy singing about the love of his life, who after all these years, he still finds beautiful and would not exchange her for anything in the world.  It's actually a pretty catchy, cute and quirky!

Please listen to it and tell me what you think?

Here are the lyrics in english.

Oh Baby
I love you
I love you
My female duck
(2x)

Even though it's been long
My female duck
Is still fat and plump
Still beautiful as before
Still hot as ever
Still good as good
Still strong as ever

If exchanged to "Nkauj Iab" (Hmong name for a female girl)
I will not accept
If exchanged to "Maum Nplas" (another hmong girl)
I will not accept

Oh baby
You are so sexy
Beautiful all the time
Every second all the time

Oh baby
You're sweet
Romantic
Sweet all the time
Oh baby
I love you

--rap part--
Did you know every second that we are together
I want to hold your hand and pull you close
Your scent soothes my soul
I will love you for a lifetime
I'll die in your arms
We'll wait for the end of this month
and tell my mom
that I love you
and you are the love in my heart

Oh Baby
I love you
I love you
My female duck
(2x)

Even though it's been long
My female duck
Is still fat and plump
Still beautiful as before
Still hot as ever
Still good as good
Still strong as ever

If exchanged to "Nkauj Iab" (Hmong name for a female girl)
I will not accept
If exchanged to "Mauv Nplas" (another hmong girl)
I will not accept

Oh baby
You are so sexy
Beautiful all the time
Every second all the time

Oh baby
You're sweet
Romantic
Sweet all the time
Oh baby
I love you

 

Stairway to Heaven

I had the chance to visit my hometown Eau Claire, WI a few weeks ago for my cousin Pa Ying's wedding.  This picture is taken at the place my cousins and I used to call the "Stairway to Heaven" because there were so many stairs.  We used to take this path down from my cousin's house to the YMCA when we were younger.  This place has a lot of memories for me because it was a place of hope. A hidden stairway, tucked in by trees... A secret place we could escape to when we wanted to dream.

Believe it or not, Eau Claire brings me a lot of tearful and painful memories here.  I lived in Eau Claire from 2nd grade up through 9th grade. It was the worst city I've ever lived in my entire life.  There was so much hatred and so much discrimination growing up here during this time period of my life. I don't know how I made it out of this place alive. I think to this day, I still am traumatized by all the events that occurred here growing up. That will be its own blog entry someday ....

Every time I drive by I-94 and pass the Eau Claire exits while traveling up to MN to visit my parents, I still feel uneasy, anxious, and short of breath whenever I drive by Eau Claire. Even though I've moved away for 20+ years now, I still feel sadness here.  During my travel here for my cousin's wedding, I just tried my best to remember the good times and be happy for the memories.  I'm glad I had that attitude because I felt stronger.

I can't remember how many steps it took to go from bottom to top. All I remember was it was a workout! In this pic, that's not even the bottom - it's not shown in this picture!

View of Eau Claire from the stairway to heaven. Actually, many years ago I don't remember it being open like this. All I remember was trees everywhere.  Seems many of the tall trees were cut down.

Vang Family Reunion 2012

These are my lovely Vang family members!!!! We are larger than this but these are the wonderful people who were able to make it to our Vang Family reunion!

Love, love, love these wonderful ladies! My Vang sisters and my sister in laws (tais dlaab).

These are the Vang men and brother in laws.

We had our Vang Family Reunion on June 30, 2012 at Tony Schmidt Regional Park in Arden Hills, MN.  It was a hot summer day but the memories we created are to last for a life time.  The last time we had a family reunion this size was back in 1992 when we all were just kids. I still remember that day like as if it was only yesterday.

I love my Vang family so very much! It was so good to see everyone again. 

Family History:

Tshuj Tawv Vaaj is my great great great grand father. He was born in China. He died in the Yunnan Province in China and my great great great grand mother later brought their four sons to Laos in the 1800s.  Our Vang ancestors lived in the Xiangkhouang Province of Laos until the end of the Vietnam War. In 1975 my father and his family fled to Thailand. My family came to the United States of America in 1978.

At our family reunion, my dad and uncle Tsaav Txhaj gave us a timeline of our family roots and lineage. They also told us stories of our grand parent's life and the struggles they endured in Laos. It was very emotional and they reminded us how great of a blessing it truly is for us to be living here in America where we all are given an opportunity to become educated and live a prosperous life.

We are so fortunate that our fathers believe in change and that they believe that women should be treated equal to men.  They reminded us that if we were to have been living in Laos, we would not be given the same opportunity because girls only are given the tools (hoe) to work the fields.  They are not to be educated because that is reserved for boys.  While many of us cannot fathom that thought, it is still true and exists in many countries around the world where equality among men and women do not exist.

I truly love and learned so much about my family roots.  Once the elders are gone, there will be no one around to tell us the stories of the past. I'm trying my best to capture them now and will continue to write more about their past experiences.  Stay tuned!

Smiling on a Saturday

A lot of people ask me why I don't smile and show my teeth. Well, here it is a pic of me smiling and showing my teeth! I took this on my iPhone today. The quality is not that good due to my room lighting. Nevertheless, I'm not quite sure why I don't show my teeth much. When I laugh, I still sometimes cover my mouth with my hand. Why? I don't know ... habit, I guess. My aunt once told me that whenever I talk, I seem to smile to a lot so it makes me appear friendly.  Really? I hope I am able to accomplish that!

I also don't curl my hair much except for days where I feel like it. That's like probably 3-4 times a year. Today was one of those days I felt like it. Believe it or not, I have naturally wavy hair. Yup. I do. During my younger years I had really nice long shiny thick black hair.  Not sure what happened over the years but now if it dries naturally after a shower, it is wavy almost like a perm.  It is too monstrous to take care of so I usually flat iron straighten it to be more managable. 

I'll tell you a funny story. One day I woke up late for work so I didn't have time to flat iron my hair after a shower. Everyone at work that day asked me if I got a perm. When I replied to them that it was my natural hair, they looked at me with disbelief like "Whattttt, you are asian. How is it that you have curly hair?"  LOL. They thought I was just playing with them. The entire day at work, people kept asking me the same question over and over. I finally got tired of it and replied, "Yup, it's a perm."  LOL then no more questions. hahahahaha.. Then the next day, I'd go back to work with straight hair. hahahaha!

Green Papaya Salad

I love eating green papaya salad especially in the summer! It is light and refreshing.  It's a little sweet, sour, and spicy! You can make it with a few key ingredients!  This is a recipe that I created through experimentation and trial/error.  Hope you like it. This is a very popular salad that Hmong people love to eat especially at Hmong soccer tournaments and Hmong New Year celebrations.  Green papaya salad originated from Laos/Thailand. 

Green Papaya Salad Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded green papaya
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 thai chili pepper (add more or less pepper to suit your taste)
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1/4 tsp crab paste
  • 2 tbsp salted crab
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar crushed + 1 tbsp water (melt for 30 seconds in a microwave)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (three crabs brand)
  • 1/4 cup tamarind paste water
  • 1/2 lime (this also equals about 1 tbsp, add more lime if you like it more sour)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed peanuts
  • 5-7 cherry tomatoes sliced

Preparation

  • Peel the green skin off the papaya with a peeler. Use the asian shredding peeler to get thin shreds. Or if you don't have one, chop the papaya all around and then use a knife to slice it into strips (doing it the old fashioned way makes the salad crisp).
  • Melt the crushed palm sugar with 1 tbsp water in a microwave for 30 seconds
  • To make the tamarind paste water, take a block of tamarind and add equal amount of hot water.  Let is soak for about 10-15 minutes and then squeeze out the juice.  You can use it just like this or put it through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Putting it all together

  1. In a mortar, smash/grind the thai chili pepper.
  2. Add the garlic clove and smash.
  3. Add the shrimp paste, crab paste. Mix.
  4. Add the salted crab and smash lightly to remove the juices from the crab.
  5. Add the fish sauce, sugar syrup, tamarind paste water. Mix.
  6. Add the tomatoes and smash lightly to bruise the tomatoes.
  7. Put the shredded green papaya in a large bowl.
  8. Add the sauce and crushed peanuts to the papaya and toss to coat the papaya.
  9. Serve

Adjust the ingredient measurements to suit your taste! 

Kicking it up a notch:

  • Add some long green beans
  • Add some shredded carrots
  • Add some dry small shrimp
  • Add some khaub poob noodles
  • Eat it with some pork rinds
  • Add padek (mud fish) to give it a pungent kick
  • Anything you like!!!!!

You can buy the ingredients at most asian grocery stores.  Just ask the clerk to help you find them.

Leave me a comment if you try this recipe!

 

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