This month we celebrated the birthdays of these two sweeties — Maya and Princess Leia. ❤
Maya turned 14 and Leia is now 11. Aren’t they just the most adorable pair?
And since Tết – the Vietnamese Lunar New Year – was happening at that time, Seester P and her clan made their way down from SF to join in on all of the celebrations.
Our youngest munckin was SOOOO excited to be with her SoCal family!
Ms. Kaelani is growing up to be quite the character! She was a nonstop chatterbox during her visit and was constantly singing!
Mulan’s “Let’s Get Down to Business” is one of her current favs but of course, Moana and Frozen are never far away.
And if you were watching my IG stories that weekend, you likely caught her bellowing out a few lines of a Madonna classic. I won’t divulge which one but needless to say, she was hilarious.
Such a funny and rascally little gal.
It’s ALWAYS a fun time when all of the Nguyễn sibbies are together!
Always loud, always chaotic….
Lots of teasing and laughing….
Especially when we’ve got some cocktails in us!
For this month, I made Palomas again because I love how bright and citrusy they are. There’s something about them that makes me feel “healthy”…..maybe the grapefruit juice?
I know I’m just fooling myself since it’s accompanied with a heavy pour of blanco tequila!
Also at that time, V and L had been puppy-sitting their neighbor’s new little furbaby – Ollie!
He’s an adorable little fluffy pup — and all of the kiddos just adored him!
Well…all the humanlings that is.
Don’t get me wrong…. Bella didn’t dislike him. I think she was just worried that it was another puppy that she would have to share all the treats with. Plus, she doesn’t like to have to fight for her humans’ attentions because as far as she’s concerned — she’s the queen.
I did notice that she was spending EXTRA time with each of her humans to ensure that they still remembered who was in charge.
As for Leia – she took to Ollie just fine.
She was just PUMPED that it was her birthday dinner because she knew her birthday “dessert” was going to be delish!
Don’t you just love how she sits? What a little lady…..
Ollie is one of the rare beings outside of our immediate family that has attended one of our Fam Dins.
It’s like hitting the lottery!
Time for food!
As for the menu that night, we all took inspiration from Maya’s favorite things.
Like her mama and papa, she’s a steak gal.
So earlier that morning, I took 6 New York Strip Steaks and cubed them up. Yes….SIX! There were a lot of us!
I marinated the cubed beef in shallots, garlic, EVOO, parsley, cilantro, chili flakes, S & P and ….. um…..
I’m not going to lie…..I threw in some other stuff that I can’t remember.
Oh wait! I think there was some lime zest and juice?
I know, I’m a terrible food blogger.
After the beef did its thing in the fridge for about 8 hours, Nina skewered them for me.
Tag R – you’re in!
Nina and I then handed the skewers over so that R could grill ’em up.
While R finished up, I gathered the fixings I had prepped earlier to go with the skewers.
For the sauce, I turned to one of my most favorites – chimichurri! I adjusted my standard recipe (which is so tasty!) and added more EVOO while I blended it so that it turned into almost an aioli consistency. It was wonderfully creamy and luscious drizzled over the beef.
For an extra bright bite, I topped them with my pickled red onions.
Grilled Steak Skewers with Creamy Chimichurri and Pickled Red Onions – how many do you think you could throw down?
Thanks for the awesome grill job R!
Oh these two….
It makes my heart explode to see how close they are.
And it also makes me cringe to imagine what type of shenanigans they’ll get into together when they’re as old as T and I!
Quick pause for a kitchen pic before L and V got started on the other app.
Ms. Maya is a big fan of fried calamari so brother V took squid pieces, lightly tossed them into seasoned flour and then fried them up until they were nice and crispy.
L made a classic marinara sauce for us to dunk the calamari in.
Crispy Calamari with Fresh Marinara – irresistible!
Look! I inadvertently made cocktails that matched P’s shirt.
By then, it was getting close to someone’s bedtime. No, not me… Kaelani!
So P asked if we could move up lì xì time to ensure the youngest munchkin would still be awake.
Tết is all about welcoming the Lunar New Year with family and includes giving out lì xì for luck to the munchkins. Starting from oldest to youngest, they say Chúc Mừng Năm Mới (Happy New Year) and we give them our blessings and best wishes along with lì xì (little envelopes filled with some lucky moola).
Someone was WIDE AWAKE now!
Lì xì does have that magical affect!
With the well wishes and lucky money doled out, we put the finishing touches on dinner.
P was getting chilly and didn’t want to get her clothes splattered while she cooked, so she borrowed L’s onesie.
Extra funny since they were Christmas jammies and looked ginormous on her.
P crusted up tuna steaks with sesame seeds and crushed coriander before searing.
She then topped the Seared Tuna over Mixed Greens and added fresh oranges, crispy wonton chips, sliced almonds and a light sesame vinaigrette.
I blame the below on the Christmas onesie.
Or the extra strong refill cocktail we made her.
Seestrah T took charge of the entree — an homage to one of Maya’s favorite dishes from Corner Baker.
Creamy Pesto Cavatappi with Grilled Chicken … super rich and comforting.
T did a spot on job with this copycat recipe — trust me, I had my fair share of it.
How the heck is Lucas doing that with his tongue?!
Dinner time! Everyone to the table please!
Bella….always the first one waiting.
Some one was SUPER tired by this time and barely made it through dinner.
But in her defense, after all that pasta, we ALL were feeling a bit sleepy.
For fear of us passing out, we quickly got dessert ready for our two birthday girls.
Maya loves strawberries and chocolate and sprinkles.
Big Seester N took the lead with her dessert and made a chocolate cheesecake that had strawberry slices inside. The crust, of course, was made of Oreos….because why not add more chocolate?
Nini made chocolate covered strawberries to top the cheesecake with. Aren’t they perfect? As a college student, she could totally build a side hustle selling them–don’t you think?
Everyday we hustlin’…..
Strawberry-Chocolate Decadence Cheesecake …. seester nailed it with this one.
And don’t forget our 2nd birthday babe – Princess Leia!
When R was grilling the beef skewers earlier, I asked him to also throw on a 7th New York Strip Steak I had bought. Yes…I procured 6 steaks to cube up for our appetizer and left the 7th one whole for Leia’s birthday “cake-steak”.
Hey, a girl only turns 11 once! And that face…how could I not?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAYA AND LEIA! You both are such sweet souls.
WE LOVE YOU! ❤
This Month’s Family Dinner Menu
Cocktails: Palomas, Various Wines
Appetizers: Grilled Steak Skewers with Creamy Chimichurri and Pickled Onions, Crispy Calamari with Fresh Marinara
Entree: Creamy Pesto Cavatappi with Grilled Chicken
Sides: Seared Tuna over Mixed Greens
Dessert: Strawberry-Chocolate Decadence Cheesecake
ps. YAHOO! I DID IT! All caught up with our Fam Din recaps! 😉