Christmas Cards and Poinsettia

Christmas is around the corner and for many of us mailing out Christmas Cards is still a Christmas tradition, and we received many Christmas Cards at work this year. I brought my camera to work on Friday hoping to capture a few of my favorite cards. The Peace on Earth card caught my attention, and so appropriate that this card came from a vendor from the other side of the world.

It’s heart warming to receive a card from one of our retired co-workers.

I love the whimsical look of this card, I think deep down inside we are still a kid at heart when it comes to the holidays season.

This logo you can’t miss.

This year we received a beautiful Poinsettia plant from our web developer and I had to convince everyone at work that it belongs to me. It is not because I work the hardest, or work closely with these guys, but it is because I’m a gardener and I can extend its life after the Christmas season. We are closed next week for vacation so someone had to take it home on Friday.

Last year I took the Poinsettia plant home, and planted in my garden. I had to show proof to the ladies in the office, and luckily I posted my garden photos on Facebook. I signed up with Facebook several years back to post photos for the temple, I am Wat Greensboro’s photographer and post festive events photos on Wat Greensboro Facebook page. Surprisingly the image downloaded from Facebook is this sharp, and I shared most of the photos that I took with my sisters so a good collection of what I took are still there, but too bad they are not in high resolution. I guess It’s better than nothing.

These two images were taken on October 4, 2014. The poinsettia had gotten too big by the time I dug it up to take it inside, so it didn’t make it. I will have to plant it in a pot next year.


I planted the Poinsettia in May, the image below was taken in June and and I wrote a post on My Backyard Garden then. It didn’t look too good after Christmas and most people would have thrown it away.

I have to do some convincing, and my poinsettia made it home safely.

Tum Rutabaga and Green Beans

It’s hard to find green papaya this time of the year to make tum mak houng or spicy papaya salad, so I substitute it with Rutabaga instead. I actually didn’t discover this dish, many Thai and Lao people living abroad discovered that Rutabaga tastes equally as good as papaya, and some said it’s even better because of it’s aroma, sweet taste and crunchy. I bought this from a grocery store today, the cashier didn’t know what it was, and good thing it has a label on it otherwise I wouldn’t know what to tell him. It’s hard for me to pronounce, many Lao people call it Ruba for short. Rutabaga is believed to have originated from a hybrid between the turnip and wild cabbage, probably in Bohemia and as recently as the 17th century. Rutabaga is a cool-weather crop and is grown primarily in the northern parts of the United States and Europe, in Great Britain and in Canada. I found mine in my local grocery store in the vegetable section.

It’s waxed, and my guess is that the wax is to preserve the Rutabaga. I peel the skin off before shredding it similar to green papaya.

It’s a basic Som Tum ingredients: 1 tbsp spoon of sugar, 1 tbsp of shrimp paste, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 garlic cove, 2 chili peppers, 4 cocktail tomatoes, 1 slice of lime.

Shredded Rutabaga, and green beans

I mixed the ingredients first as a sauce, then add shredded Rutabaga and green beans last.

The prep time is less than 15 minutes, and I have to say that it does taste as good as spicy green papaya salad.