Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

For my birthday, my son’s girlfriend gave me the most wonderful cultural food adventure. It took place during their extended July 4th holiday visit, when we enjoyed a Return of Traditional Summer Activities. We prepared two classic Vietnamese dishes; crepes and spring rolls with fish and peanut dipping sauces.

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Meanwhile, my eldest son and husband combined a chemistry experiment with bar tending to create a unique clarified version of a classic cocktail to accompany the meal.

Prior to their arrival, V emailed me links to several different Vietnamese dishes she had in mind. Everything looked delicious, although I was unfamiliar with some of the ingredients. She explained what they were, assuring me what wasn’t found in an Asian food market or grocery store that could be substituted with other options.

I looked forward to the experience and and some girl-only time for weeks!

On the last full day of their visit, V and I went together on a cultural shopping excursion, had a hands-on cooking lesson, and then served a wonderful meal. I was her willing assistant, taster, and table setter for dinner.

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Return of Traditional Summer Activities & Family Visits

Return of Traditional Summer Activities & Family Visits

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Hello all! Sorry I haven’t posted in a bit. But, we’ve been busy enjoying back-to-sorta-normal summer activities with family and friends. Rather than living a more virtual existence on the computer or watching TV, I’ve been out and about. How about you?

Following ten days in Philadelphia, we drove back across the state with my mom and Whiskey — the puppy, not the alcohol lol! She spent nearly three weeks here with us enjoying summer activities, including trips to the zoo and aviary.

A couple of weeks later, we had the best July 4th in years! Both our adult sons were here for an extended visit. It was a big dose of happiness and fun!

There was a Pirates baseball game, riding roller coasters at Kennywood, dining out at favorite restaurants in different parts of the city, and playing amusing games together. On July 4th we all pitched in to create a wonderful meal on the porch, followed by fabulous community fireworks.

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Festive Stars & Stripes Patriotic Decor Updates

Festive Stars & Stripes Patriotic Decor Updates

Since our adults sons will be here to celebrate July 4th with us, I went out and purchased a few inexpensive patriotic decor and gift items to add to the festive stash I already have.

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Other existing items I’ve simply rearranged where I place them around the house. And I stuck flags or a stars and stripes spinner in every planter or pot — inside and out!

For updated table settings, I mixed up different red white and blue dishes and linens from my collection. Then, I added festive favors at each place; to take to the community fireworks display.

It was fun heading out to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart and Dollar Tree to look for patriotic decor. Things were rather picked over by last week, but almost everything was marked down 40-50%. And, I was still able to scoop up a few items.

After all, its not like I don’t already have an abundance of decorations and tableware lol! Come see my latest patriotic decor updates to Independence Day Decorations, Banner Yet Wave.

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Energetic & Playful Scottie Puppy: 6 Month Update

Energetic & Playful Scottie Puppy: 6 Month Update

Recently my Scottie puppy, Glenfiddich “Whiskey”, turned six months old. Since we brought him home from the breeder four months ago, it’s been a whirlwind of activity!

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First, there was potty training in the midst of frigid temperatures and deep snow. Then there was adapting to new “traffic patterns” in the house, with gates and barriers to confine Whiskey. We also worked with him to understand and learn household manners and rules; particularly regarding biting, nipping and chewing. Trips to the vet for vaccines and checkups, entailed me waiting outside in the car. Once my battery went dead!

After he was safely inoculated, Whiskey and I began kinder puppy classes. Important sessions not only for early obedience training, but also socialization with other humans and dogs.

During the last few months, there’s been a few bumps in the road; including car sickness, switching puppy food, and Whiskey’s aversion to grooming and nail clipping. But mostly, he’s been a bundle of energy, playfulness and affection. Having a Scottie Dog again, has filled our home with activity, laughter and love.

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Fun Flamingo Tropical Table Kicks Off Summer

Fun Flamingo Tropical Table Kicks Off Summer

Now that it’s finally gotten warm outside, it’s time for some alfresco dinning on the covered back porch. So, to kick off the summer season, I’ve styled a whimsical flamingo tropical table.

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It’s one of 17 settings in the Summer Tablescape blog hop. There’s something sure to please everyone — from nautical to patriotic to an intimate tea party — and more in between!

After many seasons organizing the year-round hop, Chloe has passed the mantle to Rita of Panoply, who graciously agreed to take over the task. Thank you Rita!

I filled in during March, hosting St. Patrick’s Day Table Ideas. And again in May, with a smaller group, for a theme hop to celebrate World Bee Day. A French Royal Bee Theme Table was inspired by my ancestry and name — Debbee. That was followed up with an Easy Fleur-de-Lis, Bee Shape Napkin Fold Tutorial.

Today’s alfresco tablescape mixes inexpensive melamine plates and decor from Dollar Tree, with tropical and other elements from my existing tableware collection.

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Easy Fleur-de-Lis, Bee Shape Napkin Fold Tutorial

Easy Fleur-de-Lis, Bee Shape Napkin Fold Tutorial

Today, I’m illustrating how to make a bee shape napkin fold in six quick and easy steps.

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In anticipation of World Bee Day, I recently hosted the Bee-utiful Table Setting blog hop.

Included in the eight casual to elegant tablescapes was my, French Inspired, Royal Bee Theme Table & Napkin Fold. As explained in earlier posts, the ancient fleur-de-lis symbol is believed to represent a bee.

I first incorporated the bee shape napkin fold into the Back to School Table. Why? Bee-cause students are “busy as a bee” lol!

Although the lovely napkin fold can bee used to impress guests and enhance tables year-round, it’s particularly suited for spring or summer entertaining.

Let me show you how easy it is to do. Grab any square napkin and ring to follow along.

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French Inspired, Royal Bee Theme Table & Napkin Fold

French Inspired, Royal Bee Theme Table & Napkin Fold

Bonjour, mon ami and welcome to the Bee-utiful Bee Table Settings Blog Hop! Today, eight of us are getting together to share casual to elegant tablescapes and centerpieces.

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I was motivated to host the hop in honor of World Bee Day, next Thursday, May 20th.

Hoping you’ll find inspiration for both spring and summer seasonal tables and gatherings. Perhaps even for a “Meant to Bee” or “What Will It Bee” bridal or baby shower?

Here at Debbee’s Buzz, the bee theme table was influenced by French ancestry and the pronunciation of my first name.

Set on a black and white backdrop, the striking tablescape includes lots of metallic gold accents. Bees are featured on plates, glassware, flatware and napkin rings, along with a theme centerpiece vignette. There’s even a royal French bee shape napkin fold!

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Darling Vintage Style Stuffed Easter Bunny Collection

Darling Vintage Style Stuffed Easter Bunny Collection

With the holiday just several weeks away, I’ve pulled out my stuffed Easter bunny collection.

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Its an simple way to decorate for the holiday and spring season, and makes for a quick transition from St. Patrick’s Day accents.

Displaying the bunnies and rabbits high up on the mantle in the family room, also keeps them safely out of reach of Whiskey, our Scottie puppy.

At that height off the floor — and his short stature — the collection isn’t even in Whiskey’s field of vision. A good thing, because like any rodent hunting Scottish Terrier, he loves chewing on stuffed animals and playing “shake and kill.” So far, he’s managed to rip through two of his toys, with a favorite teddy bear now minus an arm lol! Our first Scottie, Fibber MacGee, did the same.

That’s why I’ve never incorporated a stuffed bunny into any vignette or basket decor. As seen in my Easter Home Tour, many of those decorations sit on the floor, hearth or a coffee table. For those, I stick to rabbits made of resin, plaster or porcelain. However, since this year we have a puppy underfoot and no company coming, I’ve cut way back on my decorations.

So it’s nice to at least have my stuffed Easter bunny collection on display.

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14 Stylists Share St. Patrick’s Day Table Setting Ideas

14 Stylists Share St. Patrick’s Day Table Setting Ideas

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Welcome to a pot of gold worth of St. Patrick’s Day table setting and centerpiece inspiration — all in one place!

It’s the first time I’ve ever hosted a blog hop, and I’m so lucky to have 13 talented table stylists share their holiday settings here. Follow the rainbow to each, with links at the end of this post.

Come March, my everyday Ireland Pursuit pattern dishes are showcased in a St. Patrick’s Day tablescape, along with a trio of place settings on the adjacent island. Also wearing a wee bit of green are the overhead chandelier, and several vignettes on the kitchen counter and open shelves.

To do something a little different this year, I layered my husband’s great grandmother’s vintage Havilland and woodcut chargers into the dish stack. And, I topped it off with a new clover napkin fold.

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