New year?  New start?  It sounds so strange to my ears to say this in January.  After years in school and working in industries where our fiscal calendar followed suit, it felt like the “new year” commenced in September.  Declaring the a fresh start and a new year in January still feels a bit arbitrary.  Maybe thats why I correct myself when writing the date for so long after a new calendar year begins.  January/September or otherwise, everyone loves feeling like they can have a fresh start.

I was reading a book recently about correcting and shaping behaviors of children with complex backgrounds.  The author was talking about offering “do-overs,” thus providing children an immediate opportunity to correct a behavior or response.  Its a form of immediate modeling which helps re-wire children’s responses into more appropriate ones.  The parent, teacher, or authority figure is to provide a more appropriate alternative and then immediately offer the child a “do-over” for their action or behavior.  I mention this because I think about how many times I wish I could have a “do-over.”  I want a “do-over” when I burn the toast, or yell at my husband for something stupid, or eat that too-giant-for-one-person piece of chocolate cake.  The reality is that I can’t actually give myself a “do-over,” but I can give myself the grace to treat tomorrow as a new opportunity to respond/choose/behave differently.  In effect, we can approach every day as a “do-over.”

If new years is an opportunity for you/for me/for everyone to do something differently, then I hope that we will all take that chance – for everyone’s benefit!

In particular, I am happy to see so many people pulling back the veil of perfection in wats that provide glimpses of not-so-pinterest-board-worthy things.  I.E. real life.  Comparison is a dangerous drug, ya’ll.  And social media has been the greatest enabler. Ever.  It causes people to clam up out of fear that they are the only one who isn’t happy or doesn’t have everything figured out.  And, because of that we miss out on the opportunity to navigate real life with other real people.  Because we all have stuff. And navigating that stuff is how we forge meaningful relationships and build one another up. Boosting other people up, boosts your spirits too.  What is the saying?  “Positivity breeds positivity?”   There are too many opportunities in life to compare or drag one another down. But, the truth is that cheering on others is always better than competing with them.

So, forget about calendars for a minute.  Even if we are a week into 2017, tomorrow is a new day!  Whether that means you cheer on a friend, open up about your own struggles, start that exercise regiment, try not to lose your temper with your kids, or make some healthy lifestyle changes, its a great day for a “do-over.”

Speaking of which… If your resolutions/goals include a healthy lifestyle change, this light, healthy soup is a great way to kick that off.  This quick and easy vegetarian faux pho infuses garlic and ginger into vegetable broth for a simultaneously refreshing, light, and warming result!  A mixture of spiralized veggies as a substitute 1/2 of the brown rice noodles amps up the flavor, fiber, and health benefits.  If you want to make it spicy, kick up the red pepper flakes!

I love making this soup.  Sometimes I treat it as a re-set button after a particularly food indulgent weekend… or month.  Basically, I need “re-dos” in my life.  Seriously.  And, I think we all do.

Vegetarian Faux Pho

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 large servings

    For Pho:
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2" piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, spiralized or thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 1 green bell pepper, spiralized or thinly sliced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (I used a vegetarian substitute)
  • 1+ tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2+ cups water
  • 4 oz. brown rice noodles, cooked per package directions
  • For Toppings:
  • 4 eggs, boiled for 4-5 minutes (slightly more than a soft-boiled egg), cooled and halved
  • 1 cup Fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 5-6 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Cook whole eggs in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Remove from water and place in a bath of ice water to cool.

In a separate pot, cook brown rice noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy soup pot with lid over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and ginger. Cook until very fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add spiralized onions, rice vinegar, fish sauce, 1 tsp. soy sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes to pot. Toss to combine and cook covered for about 1 minute or until onions should barely begin to soften. Add spiralized green onion, toss, and cook covered for 1 minute. Finally add spiralized zucchini, toss, and cook covered for 1 more minute. Add broth and water and increase heat to medium high. Bring soup to a simmer, then reduce temperature to low.

If desired, add additional red pepper flakes or soy sauce to season soup (or leave this for each person to do for their own bowl - which is what I do). I like the soup to be a lighter flavor.

Remove eggs from shell (discard shell) and slice egg in half length-wise.

Ladle soup into bowl and add desired amount of noodles to bowl directly. Add toppings of radish slices, torn basil, egg, and additional crushed red pepper flakes as desired.

Serve immediately.