Nature’s gift: Violet Syrup

It’s that time of year again where violet flowers are wildly blooming and I love seeing the pops of colors on the ground.

But did you know they hold magic? And you can unlock this magic and enjoy in your tummy at the same time?!

I learned about violet syrup last year at a foraging class in Asheville. I tried it right away after I discovered they grew in hoards right in my own backyard!

Khang really enjoyed making mint juleps at Cinco de Mayo last year for our friends and was pretty excited when he heard they were blooming again this year!

Making this is so very easy and fun!

It’s basically like making a simple syrup, but you add violets.

Here’s the recipe:

1:1:1 ratio of water, white sugar, and violets.

For me, I picked 2 cups of violets and used 4 cups of water and sugar. My syrup was pretty but a more mellow color because I split the flower ratio in half. Keep that it mind!

1. Pick the flowers. Please make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or around animals that may have relieved themselves. The more, the merrier and vibrant the color. Don’t forget to take a big wiff of the lovely violet scent. This step is important.

2. Clean and rinse with water like you would with cilantro. I usually rinse at least 3 times. Measure how much you have. This will dictate how much water and sugar to use.

Remember the 1:1:1 ratio!

3. Divide evenly into jars or glass containers. It doesn’t have to be glass but you can see all the loveliness better.

4. Pour water in pot, come to boil, lower heat, add sugar, stir till sugar has dissolved completely.

5. Carefully pour into jars of flowers while liquid is still steaming hot. Stir.

6. Let cool. Cover and place in fridge for 24 hours.

7. The next day, use a strainer to remove flowers.

8. Enjoy up to 1 year if it even lasts that long.

What I love about the violet syrup is how the color is natural and you don’t need to use artificial coloring.

Oh and did I mention the syrup turns PINK when you add acidic juices like lemon, orange, and lime!

It has something to do with the pigments in violets called anthocyanins which react to the lowered pH. Talk about a cool science lesson for the kids (and adults)!

This is Khang’s favorite reason to use the violet syrup. Hah! He uses it in his cocktails. But I prefer a simple mint lemonade!

The pictures below are based off of this Kentucky Lemonade recipe.

Khang prefers whiskey and garnishing with fresh mint. He used about 3 tablespoons of the syrup.

Mine is virgin and I prefer my mint muddled. I used 4-5 tablespoons because I added substitute the ginger ale with water.

I recommend you measure to taste.

Use your favorite drink recipes! Pour the violet syrup in first, then the lemon (or acid) to really witness that magic!

Also how sweet it would be for Mother’s Day if you made her a pitcher of pink lemonade with real violet flowers, which are edible by the way!

Just an idea. *Wink wink*

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Mr. Phamtastic

Khang,

You drive me absolutely crazy. And what’s funny is I drive you even crazier. You’re the only person I know who dislikes making a big deal out of their birthday, so naturally, I like to make up for it.

I know I tell you all the time, but here’s another time for the people in the back, you are the best husband.

Thank youuu for helping me with all my endless projects (and toughing out our disagreements that usually come along!), for immediately calling me out when I’m not being my best and keeping me grounded, for feeding me when I forget, so that the unlucky ones don’t feel my wrath (usually you!), and most of all, for inspiring me to live life like the greatest adventure it is.

I love you, Mr. Phamtastic.

Thank you for being so wonderfully you.

not just on your birthday, but everyday!

Truly yours,

Mrs. Phamtastic

A Fleurty Thirty Celebration

I’m sure you’re here for Khang’s awesome video he made of our vacation in Turks and Caicos Islands!

Keep on scrolling down after the video if you want to read more details about our trip. 

So here it is!

This was more than a vacation. It actually was a double birthday celebration!

We were celebrating my sister-in-law, Ngoc, and cousin-in-law, Kim Oanh, both turning 30!

YES, they were both born on the same day, December 23rd! Kim Oanh arrived during the day and Ngoc came along later that evening.

They call each other “twin cuzzies”. How precious right?!

Khang and I don’t normally prefer beach destinations because we get bored so easily with the sand, but Turks and Caicos was the perfect island for us. Especially with our sweet family!

The thing I love most about TCI is how undeveloped it is.

Now this might sound weird to some, but this means it isn’t littered with highrises (that obstruct views), souvenir shops, and franchises.

Which is the best to me because it keeps the true beauty and upholds the vibrant culture of the gorgeous island territories!

We went to nearly 10 different beach nooks and each one was unique to itself!

We technically went during peak-season, but goshhhh it felt like we nearly had each place to ourselves.

This website was the best source of info for me if you’re interested or planning a trip in the future!

In my opinion, a few absolute musts:

catch the breathtaking sunrises (more than once!),

put your phone or camera down and just take it all in,

dine at Mango Reef Restaurant (black truffle scallops FTW!),

dance your heart out at Danny Buoy’s,

rent a car to get around (big money savings + prepare for left-side driving)

grab a bite and take in the views for an unbelieveable experience at Bugaloos Beach. Y’all, we literally had a table in the water, feet in the sand, and ate conch!

sing “Part of Your World” while searching for seashells!

Just a few snapshots from our amazing trip!

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Not there, but here.

Up until four months ago, I pictured myself flying away on November the twenty-third to volunteer as a dental hygienist on a hospital ship along the West coastline of Africa.

All my paperwork was submitted and accepted, immunizations done, and close loved ones (mostly) excited for me.

But life happens.

Curveballs are thrown.

I made the reluctant decision to withdraw from serving with Mercy Ships.

And I had to make a choice on whether to answer life with anger or love.

I found comfort in the latter.

So today on November twenty-ninth, two thousand and eighteen,

I am not there in Africa, but here.

Here with my baby sister, Joy, celebrating with a lighthouse tour, tea time, strolls in charming New Orleans in our (Christmas-themed) rain boots  and magical lights for her twenty-eighth birthday.

Here in my childhood bedroom, reeling in all the sweet moments from this past week.

Here where I felt like a tourist in my own hometown as I watched the sunrise and sunset, ate my favorite biscuits at Greenhouse on Porter, and finally toured the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.

Here laughing and wildly talking with my hands at lunch and dinner with family and friends all the while getting past the usual pleasantries and actually catching up with their lives.

Here as I am reminded again for the hundreth time just how blessed I am for this beautiful life of mine and the people in it.

Here where God knew I would be all along and just

how thankful I would feel.

So Mercy Ships, I’ll try to catch you again next year all in due time.

Happiest Thanksgiving y’all and thank you for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Khangology: Third Edition

Khang to me: You find beauty in ordinary things. Do not lose this ability.

Wait… am I ordinary?


When you see a child, that’s love.


I can’t wait to go back to the wilderness. *Howls


Me: You just kissed my eyeball?!

Khang: I don’t discriminate your body parts.


*Part of his speech at his brother’s wedding

Someone once told me that a successful marriage is similar to a triangle. At the bottom, you have the husband (Tuan) in one corner and at the other, you have the wife (Maria). You both are working towards the center to the top, which represents Christ. And as you grow closer in God you also grow closer to together.


Khang (Serious): Happy anniversary my love.

Me (Super confused): Ummm, it’s not our anniversary today. 

Khang (Still serious): Everyday is a celebration of our love. 


You can also read his first edition and second edition

Warmly,

Jules