Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Some of my friends in India recently introduced me to the blog 108 Ways to Wear a Sari, and I've been having so much fun looking at all the different drapes and styles! There are traditional and modern wraps from all parts of India and pop culture.

But you know what's even more fun then browsing new drapes and styles? Trying new drapes and styles!

Since I'm a pretty crappy pleater, as you may recall, I decided to start simple, and went with a drape that turns the sari into a skirt...and not just any skirt...a skirt with a bustle! It's like a steampunk sari.

Let me just pause here and say that I began regretting how few saris I own pretty much since the first day we were back in New York. And now I regret it even more! I need more cotton saris! Need them! Send help!

Anyway, back to my bustle-sari-skirt. I did it! And it looks really pretty awesome, I must say. And it's comfortable. My only real gripe is one I have with every drape I've tried, which is that the bulk of the sari (from tucking it in at the waist band mostly) gives me an extra bit of padding on my stomach and makes it protrude in a rather odd way. That look is even more pronounced in these pictures, because I unwisely tied my petticoat in front. I have no idea what I was thinking, and in fact only realized it when I started typing this here complaint. Onwards to the crappy self portraits taken with an iPhone in the bathroom!

From the front, it looks like a pretty simple (but super cute) layered skirt, right? (and see what I mean about the extra padding?)

But then: the side view!

And the awkward "take a picture of your own back in the mirror"! Personally I think the awesome bustle is well worth it. But still. Awkward.

So there you have current sari love. What do you think, can I rock this look at work? 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


One of my kids' favorite cuisines is Vietnamese. And (to borrow a phrase from Zion), I can't blame them! It's delicious. Actually, the very first place we took Liel out of the house after she was born was our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Lower Manhattan.

I was going to put a picture of that event up, but I can't find it. And I looked for upwards of two minutes! So you'll just have to imagine it-- it was terribly cute. And delicious.

Anyway, when we moved up here to Rockland County we knew we had to find a good Vietnamese restaurant. And boy did we get lucky, cause at the time, there was exactly one Vietnamese restaurant in the entire county! The lucky bit was that it was also delicious...and that the people who run and own it are so, so nice. We've gone there frequently over the years, and they always give us great food, and remember that we don't want peanuts on anything, even though we, responsible parents of allergy kids that we are, usually forget to remind them.

But sometimes you want Vietnamese food, and you don't want to drive to Spring Valley. And that's where this post comes in, because a year or so ago I started making bun, Vietnamese rice noodle salad, at home. It's easy, super fantastically delicious, and as Liel says, the best part is that it is FULL of fresh vegetables (I know, I'm as surprised as you are. My little carnivore, singing the praises of fresh veggies? Awesome!).

The recipe is based on one from Cook's Illustrated.

Here's what you need:

--rice vermicelli (8oz will feed the 4 of us, with no leftovers, but everyone full)
--fresh mint
--fresh basil
--fresh cilantro
--boneless, skinless chicken thighs
--brown sugar
--white sugar
--lime juice
--fish sauce
--grapeseed oil

Here's what you do:

--Slice the chicken thighs into thin, smallish bits
--Mix equal parts fish sauce and brown sugar, plus 1.5x's as much grapeseed oil, in a bowl (for about 8oz of chicken I use 1T each of fish sauce and brown sugar and 1.5 T oil)
--Put the chicken in the sauce you just made and let it marinate a while. Doesn't need to be super long...I think I left mine for 30 min today.

--Cut the carrot into matchsticks, or something that vaguely resembles a matchstick. Seed the cucumbers and cut them into matschstick-ish bits too.
--Mix 1/3 c warm water, 2 T sugar, 4T lime juice, and about 1/4 c (or a bit more) fish sauce in a bowl. Add a crushed clove of garlic or two, and if you're not cooking for my daughter, a chopped, seeded jalepeno (or part of one).
--Pour a bit of this sauce on the cukes and carrots. Add a few tablespoons of chopped almonds, stir, and set aside.

--Boil water.
--Add rice vermicelli, and turn of the flame and put the lid on. Let it sit about 8 min, until the noodles are tender.
--Drain the noodles and rinse in cool water.

--Heat a little oil in a big skillet. Cook the chicken.

Here's how you assemble it:

--Put some lettuce in a bowl. You can make one big bowl or several small ones.
--Top the lettuce with the marinated veggies, and lots of fresh, chopped basil, cilantro, and mint.
--Put the rice noodles on top of the veggies.
--Put the chicken on top of the noodles
--Pour the remaining lime sauce on everything.

Then, eat!

It's really quite easy, and as an added summer bonus, requires very little time with the flame on. And Liel likes to help chop the veggies, and everyone likes to eat it. It's full of win!