About two times a year we can wrangle all five Nguyễn siblings at our monthly Family Dinners. It’s not for lack of desire but with one brother in New York, one seester in San Francisco, two seesters in Orange County and me in San Diego–it can be a logistical nightmare.
But when it does happen, it’s chaotically wonderful.
With all of the sibs in town last month, we managed to squeeze Fam Din in between our Cousin’s wedding, multiple Christmas parties, and the most important— the release of Star Wars.
All very, VERY important events for us.
I’m not kidding gang–although I was off from work for the last two weeks of December, I was up in Orange County the entire time with some type of event each day. Let’s just say, at the end of my vacation–I needed a vacay from my vacay.
But back to our Fam Din!
We held it the next day after our younger cousin’s amazing wedding. He’s been like a little brother to the five of us so it was extremely special to witness his truly perfect day. And because we knew it was going to be a fantastic party, we planned ahead for a very low key but comforting menu for dinner.
A nod to rustic Italian and Tuscan fare.
And since I’m me, I couldn’t resist snapping away at some pics of the fam bam. How often do I get all of my kiddos (minus the fur babies) in one shot?
This particular one is freaking hilarious. Maya, Lucas, Nini and Nina are pros having been subjected to my photo shoots every month but the youngest three munchkins’ faces below have me DYING!
Leonidas is rocking the ultimate pouty face.
Kaelani has the petrified “Is this really my family?!?!?” look.
And Luna is giving me the “Hurry up before I flip over!” face.
Then at some point, I channeled the inner prom-photographer in me and snapped a couple of the sibbies.
Wait! How did Kaelani sneak in this one?
Or is technically Manhattan?
Um. You get the picture.
And finally, Representing Fullerton…..
Somewhere along the lines, my two eldest munchkins, who are now both taller than me, decided to lick my face.
But I probably would have done the same to them. Where do you think they’ve learned it from?
And since our Leo was turning four a few days later, we decided to make Fam Din into a little party for him.
How can he be four already?!?!?
Before dinner, we snacked on an overflowing tray of Antipasti from a local Italian market named Claro’s. They’ve got tons and tons of wonderful imported goods as well as delish cold cuts, cheeses, olives, sandwich counter and plenty of premade dishes you can take home.
Below is their sampling of Asiago cheese, Gorgonzola, bocconcini, salami, prosciutto sticks, olives and cherry tomatoes.
For the main course, we had Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Whole Chickens with new potatoes. Seester marinated the chickens overnight and roasted two of them in the oven and one outdoor in her rotisserie oven. You just can’t beat a wonderfully flavored, juicy roasted chicken.
And you just can’t have an Italian menu without a big ol’ bowl of pasta.
I whipped up a ginormous bowl of Cacio e Pepe using bucatini pasta–because I adore bucatini.
Butter, black pepper, Pecorino, and Parmesan.
Eldest seestrah made Souffle al Formaggio Facile – a Tuscan cheese souffle with mixed greens. We’ve never had an Italian dish like this but heck –how could you go wrong with a cheese souffle???
In fact, this would be a great brunch dish with perhaps a poached egg nestled on top of the greens.
As for dessert, the birthday boy wanted Chocolate Cupcakes and what birthday boy wants, he gets. Well, at least with desserts that is.
Seester P recruited the little munchkins to help bake up a batch of chocolaty cuppies with chocolate frosting –using our go to recipe from Ina.
The kids loved helping out–especially since they got to pipe the frosting on top.
I mean, c’mon. Look at that face.
Could anything be cuter????
Okay…maybe these faces below.
Hey, it was his birthday– and the kid loves chocolate!
And that friends, was only day 2 of my 14-day “vacation” in Orange County.
I’m still recovering. ❤
This Month’s Family Dinner Menu
Cocktails: Vino Galore!!!
Appetizers: Anitpasti – Asiago cheese, Gorgonzola, bocconcini, salami, prosciutto sticks, olives and cherry tomatoes
Entrees: Rosemary Garlic Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Cacio e Pepe, Souffle al Formaggio Facile
Dessert: Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream