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tag sales and vegan banh mi: a wedding anniversary, vietnamese take-out style

this past monday, patty and i celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. we actually had two weddings, the official one with just the two of us and the officiant, and then another the following october with family and friends. so technically, we get to celebrate twice a year! if something comes up, like a business trip to ireland, we can just postpone our celebrating until the second date!

i guess this is what inspired our very low-key anniversary.

that business trip to ireland did come up, patty left the sunday before our special day. we had planned on celebrating on saturday, but we weren’t sure exactly how or what we’d do. with kid scheduling and chauffeuring on top of an impending week of work and traveling 3037 miles away, we sat back and let the chips fall where they may. after some coffee and breakfast in the backyard, we decided to check out some of the many tag sales in the neighborhood. there is something about going out on a beautiful day, having no idea what it will be that catches your eye, with just a few dollars in your pocket to spend. it’s one of my most favorite things to do!

vintage ball jars from an estate sale have found a new home on one of the window sills in our office/sunporch

we found an estate sale where we spent $5.00 on a four person coleman tent, (backyard campouts for the kids!) one dollar for four vintage ball jars, and another dollar for a couple of old, blue milk of magnesia glass bottles. and the seller threw in a beautiful glass hummingbird feeder too!

a milk of magnesia bottle to add to the collection of glass bottles above the front door.

at our last stop before heading home to make a dinner plan, we found a tag sale filled with the kind of stuff you could look through for hours. things that have you believing they are of high value and that the sellers have got to be desperate or clueless. in the end, you are grateful that you only have a five dollar bill in your pocket as you remind yourself of the people holding their “prized possessions” in the closing credits of “antique’s roadshow”.

our last $5.00 got us these decorative ashtrays and a set of 3 silver coasters. one of the coasters is now a soap dish.

so far it was a great anniversary! after returning at home and relaxing for a few, we agreed to take sunny to meet a friend at the movie theater. we decided we would find a place to eat dinner and if we had time, we’d go to a bookstore and read. may sound boring to some of you, but we both felt like it was exactly the kind of thing we wanted to do.

after a quick search on, we found a vietnamese restaurant that was close to the cinema and boosted a 5 star rating. i couldn’t remember ever eating vietnamese food before, but it being an asian cuisine, i figured the chances would be slim that i wouldn’t love it.

doesn’t look like much of an anniversary dinner kind of place, does it?!

banh mi saigon is a tiny little place in a roadside “strip mall” in hadley, massachusetts. it’s sandwiched between an international market and a piercing studio. the parking lot is tight and could maybe use some patching up, but we have both learned not to judge a book it’s cover in the past, so we ventured in to take a look.

inside “banh mi saigon” a family run vietnamese dine in or take out restaurant.

the family run restaurant has a small enough menu that we were able to order one of everything! there are variations of the items of course, so we didn’t exactly try all of it, but you get the picture! we started with an appetizer of fresh summer rolls. they were good, we both thought we have had better ones, but they were delicious and very fresh. for dinner, i ordered a tofu banh mi. served on a lightly toasted baguette, my sandwich was filled with tofu, shreds of sweet and sour pickled carrots and daikon radishes, slices of fresh cucumbers and sprigs of fragrant cilantro. the banh mi usually has vietnamese mayonnaise and fish sauce flavoring it. the friendly staff were excellent in accommodating me by eliminating those items and adding soy sauce. i also added some of the peanut sauce served with the summer rolls. this sandwich got my 5 star rating!

delicious tofu banh mi made vegan

patty ordered the pho, a spicy noodle soup that comes with a side of add-your-own thai basil, thai peppers, limes and bean spouts. patty, who loves spicy dishes and has had many a bowl of pho while living most of her life in boston, was happy and gave her meal a 4 out of 5 star rating. overall, i give banh mi saigon a 4.5. the anniversary date gets a 5 out 5!

after dinner, we visited the international market next door and bought some rice paper to make our own vegetable rolls, a mango and some mung bean noodles too. before picking up sunny at the movies, we made a visit to barnes and noble where we relaxed, had a cup of coffee and got patty a couple of books for her trip.

having your partner 3000 miles away for a week makes for an extra long one. i’m happy to say that in just a few hours, patty will be home where some wholly eats and lots of love will be waiting for her.


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july 20th 2012 photo of the day – thai curry chocolate buddha!

the other day, the one that i spent searching kitchen specialty shops for a vegetable spiralizer, i walked past a little chocolatier stand inside the indoor marketplace, “thornes”. i was immediately drawn to it, as most people would be, and wondered if maybe they had a couple of vegan options. they had more than a couple, they had some incredible choices! it was hard to decide which to try! at first, i was sold on the vegan dark chocolate almond bark, but as i looked a little closer, i spied a little brown buddha, vegan and gluten free! this wasn’t just any buddha, this was a thai curry buddha! dark chocolate with a creamy coconut, mango and ginger curry filling. amazing! cute to look at and fun to rub his little belly too!

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july 19th, 2012 photo of the day – vegan sushi picnic

today the oppressive heat in western massachusetts finally broke and i got to enjoy a little vegan sushi picnic!

sweet potato roll and buddha roll from osaka in northampton, ma. my fav!

i happened to be in northampton, on an unsuccessful quest for a vegetable spiralizer, when i gave up and decided to treat myself to my favorite sushi in the world. osaka, in northampton massachusetts, makes the best sweet potato roll and buddha roll on the planet. however, i would be up for a road trip to any sushi bar that would like to challenge that.

wholly eats!

xo kate


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july 18th, 2012 photo of the day – heirloom tomatoes, basil and garlic from today’s farm share pick up.


making some pesto!
tonight i used raw cashews, because that is what i had on hand, and i love the creaminess that cashews add when put into the food processor.
when making pesto, i like to use equal amounts of cashews, basil and olive oil blended with fresh lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and pepper.
this went great with some penne and diced heirloom tomatoes!

wholly eats!

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july 17th, 2012 photo of the day- breakfast of blueberries and sweet rice and some red sox tickets too!

somehow, i’m still one day behind on my photo of the day posts! so, i figured i would add a little bonus photo of what my lovely, sweet daughter hannah brought home for me today!

for breakfast this morning: sweet rice, blueberries and some local maple syrup


yum! wholly eats!

and here’s the bonus photo so that i’m technically caught up on the photo of the day, wholly seats!