TGIF #12

Favorite Drool-Worthy Dessert of the Week: Yellow cake, poke holes, instant banana pudding poured over the top. Whipped cream and crushed Nilla Wafers on top. Classic made even easier! Must try this next time I crave banana cream pie (which is always)! Click the photo for the source.

Favorite Kitchen Gadget of the Week: Magic Tap - Check out their website to see it in action!

Favorite Food Remix of the Week: Eggnog French Toast! Perfect for Christmas breakfast.

Favorite Vacation Destination of the Week: This underwater hotel resort in Fiji!

Favorite Photography Idea of the Week: Making baby photos more special for the holidays by using Christmas lights. Click the photo for the source.

Favorite Style Inspiration of the Week: Holiday Nails. Red with silver glitter on top. I definitely re-created this last night (with Chhally's help ^_^) and they turned out beautiful. I love this.

Favorite Funny of the Week: You MUST read THIS story! I literally laughed out loud. One of the funniest blog posts I have ever found.

Favorite Motivation of the Week: Visual Motivation for Weight Loss. Love it! Click the photo for the source.

Favorite Cheat Sheet of the Week: This website,, lets you look up exactly when foods should really expire and how long can you safely keep foods past the dates stamped on them. This will blow your mind and save you tons of money on groceries!

Favorite DIY Project of the Week: Create your own glasses by learning how to cut bottles!

Favorite Art Piece of the Week: Artwork by Fabiola Govare. Click on the photo for the source.

Lao Style Ribs or Thai Style Ribs

I started having random cravings for Laotian food and I remember these Laotian style ribs that my grandma and my mom used to make for family dinners when I was younger. I tried to search for a recipe for them and I cannot find this recipe anywhere on the worldwide internet. There are many variations to it but none seemed to actually be the same ones my mom and grandma used to make. All I knew is that they were marinated for hours, broiled in the oven, juicy (not saucy) and chewy. I asked my mom how to make them and all she could tell me were the ingredients. Today, after gathering all the ingredients, I asked her:

My mom is new to texting so I have to keep it pretty simple, lol! Asian mothers never know quantities or measurements to anything they make! They always know exactly how much of each ingredient to put to make it perfect. Or they measure it by pouring it onto their palms. This doesn't help us, the younger generation, who are trying to preserve these family recipes! 

So here I was with the correct ingredients but I had to take a shot in the dark in trying to get the amounts right. I recalled my family's Asian chicken wings recipe and how everything was measured in 2 tablespoons, so I decided 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and oyster sauce might do the trick. Then, er, maybe 1 tablespoon of sugar and garlic. I covered with cling wrap and let them marinate for about 3 hours in the fridge. Most anxious 3 hours ever! I was nervous on how they would turn out.

I then arranged them on a baking sheet and placed them under the broiler at 450 degrees for 30 minutes (time depends on how large your ribs are). I watched them carefully to make sure they didn't burn because the sugar in the marinade can cause it to burn easily, but if cooked slowly at the right temp it caramelizes into a nice crust. They kind of started to burn at the tips so I turned the broiler down to 435 and flipped them halfway through.

I also got myself some Papaya Salad from the Asian store over here where they make fresh batches to order and was cooking up some Jasmine rice in my rice cooker. Within 5 minutes of putting the ribs in the oven, getting the rice cooking, and popping open my container of papaya salad; my house was smelling like how my childhood home would smell when grandma and mom were cooking a traditional Laotian/Thai dinner for the family. I remember we would eat on the floor of our carpeted dining room on an Asian fold-out table. Sticky rice served in the traditional rice baskets were always placed on the table first.

They turned out perfect! Exactly the way I remembered. I will definitely be saving this recipe in my recipe binder. My mom and grandma would be proud. =) My mom liked to slice the boneless ribs into smaller bits like how they are pictured below, but we always left the rest of the pieces whole.

Laos Style Ribs
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs. baby back pork ribs
  1. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Cut the rib racks in half and place into the mixing bowl with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 3 hours in the fridge.
  3. Set the broiler to 435 degrees. Arrange ribs on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 30 minutes. Make sure to flip them halfway. 
  4. When ribs are cooked through, remove from oven and let the ribs sit for 5 minutes. Slice the ribs in between the bones and serve with white rice. 
Happy eating!

Visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (Tips & Advice)

I always check for the best places to eat and sight-see when I travel anywhere! TripAdvisor features a lot of articles on how to make the most of your trip in 3 days or less. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (or MLK Museum) is ranked #2 in attractions in Atlanta and also featured on "3 Days in Atlanta" on the website. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews of the MLK Site here.

Explanation of how to get around:
The museum and self-guided tour is completely free and a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The fact that it is self-guided gives you as much time as you need to go through all of the parts of the tour. We took a taxi from our hotel, the Sheraton Downtown, and it was about an 8 minute drive ($12 each way for two people).
The taxi driver gave us his number so we could call him to pick us up when we were done.

The visitor's center is where you should stop in first. You can pick up a map of the whole site here and, if you come early enough, you can get tickets to gain access INTO the Kings' Birth Home. But there is limited spaces and first come is first served. We went around 1:00pm and by then there were no more spaces available for birth home tours. But luckily for us, right at when we walked in at 1:00, a sign was displayed above the information desk that read "Birth Home - Next Showing 1:00" inside the theater. The short film was a virtual tour of the home and told the story of what life was like in the King home. Very inspiring and easy to follow.

After the film, we walked over to the exhibits. It wasn't too crowded, but to look at some of the popular sections you had to wait a couple minutes. There are also restrooms and a gift shop. After the exhibits, we looked at our map and walked across the street to the Reflection fountain, burial site of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta, and the eternal flame. All of which are in the same general area. Right next to this area is the church where Dr. King, his father, and his grandfather all preached. The church is on the corner at the end of the block. The Park Ranger inside will answer any questions you have about walking around the church. There is also a small gift shop inside the church.

After the church, we walked to the opposite end of the block towards the intersection of Auburn and Houge where you will find the historic fire department building, the row of historic "shotgun" houses, and the King Birth Home. You cannot enter the Birth Home unless you've scored those tickets from earlier but access to the home's front yard and front porch are permitted. In the house next door, there is another gift shop. Total time for myself and Chhally to go through everything was about 2 hours.

The neighborhood, from what we saw, looked fairly safe. There are plenty of staff in the visitors center and church, as well as other tourists walking all over and throughout the site. If you take regular precautions as you would in any place you are unfamiliar with then you should be fine. Keep your family close together, especially young children. The streets that the points of interests are located on are busy streets with cars passing through every moment. The distance between each point are also not that far of a walk. If you follow the map and stick to the area of the site, you shouldn't experience any shady people.

All information and questions about the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site can be found on this website.

*Spoiler Alert* The rest of this post is filled with photos we've taken while experiencing the museum and site. If you do not wish to view these pictures, do not scroll down!

Photo Tour: 
After the film, we walked over to the exhibits. Right away the first one we noticed was the Freedom Road exhibit. Walking amongst the Freedom "foot soldiers" and seeing how the expressions on their faces are represented to convey the emotions felt back in those days is unexplainable.

The other sections of the exhibit hold lots of artifacts and actual objects from Dr. King's life and the civil rights movement. Looking and being so close to them were really touching and hold much more impact than reading about it from a history book. 

This is the actual chariot that carried Dr. King's casket during the funeral procession.

This quote is one of the many quotes by Dr. King that moved me close to tears.

The beautiful reflection pool with the burial tomb in the middle of the water.

The whole experience of the site was touching. You felt like you can be a part of history and you can't help but wonder how different life would be right now if this man, and his supporters, never existed.  Definitely humbling and tear-jerking. I would recommend a visit to this place for anyone looking to sight-see in Atlanta. We had to choose between here and the Georgia Aquarium and, although I don't know what I missed out on at the "World's Largest Aquarium," I'm glad we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Site.

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