Pho real

So it’s Mother’s Day, and I caught a break. While I was up late last night, up several times throughout the night, and up early due to a coughing, sniffling, congested toddler, it’s been a great day. My 3 boys (husband, son, and dog) showered me with love. My husband tried his darndest to make me a vegan breakfast. Unfortunately he’s not familiar with navigating vegan blogs, and doesn’t know who has the best breakfasts. I took one look at the recipe, and knew it needed significant tweaking. He followed the directions, though, and made what he thinks was his first ever batch of pancakes and I believe they tasted exactly like the author intended. I’m intrigued, and want to try modifying it to see if I can make it sing a little more. I am not criticizing his breakfast. I am, in fact, thrilled that he made me something, and that it was vegan and peanut butter free. (Last year he made BEAUTIFUL crepes but filled them with PB&J. I adore PB but it hates me.)

After breakfast they gave me all sorts of wonderful gifts that were completely perfect. The best thing was a mug that the Big and Little Dudes hand-decorated. I will surely be using it for my morning coffee on a daily basis.

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Apparently they think I have a caffeine problem, because I got the coffee mug, a lovely stainless steel coffee canister, and gift cards to Starbucks. At least the dog dared to be different; he got me chocolates. I think he’s wishing I would share them, though, because they are filled with peanut butter. I also received a beautiful vase of flowers and . . . . BEER. A 4-pack of a delicious Belgian beer. These boys sure know the way to my heart, though I would have been just as happy if they hadn’t given me any of it.

After some lounging around, we went on a hike on the north side of the mountain behind our house. They all lasted about a half hour. They then piled in the car and drove home, leaving me to run home. I had an amazing run. I won’t bore you with the details here, because you are here looking for food. But let me say that the snake I was inches from stepping on did NOT make it into this meal.

When I got back, Big Dude was making the broth for pho. He had told me many times about how great pho was. Pho, pho, pho. He talked about it a lot. I had never had it, and wasn’t really interested since he said it nearly always used meat. When his birthday rolled around in March, I gave it a whirl. It wasn’t difficult to make, but it also wasn’t all that flavorful. I was sort of disappointed. Looking at the ingredients, I couldn’t understand why it didn’t have more flavor. When I got a bunch of scallions in my CSA box last week, I decided we’d have pho this week. We agreed to have it for lunch today, and that he’d make it while I was running. It seemed like a fair trade.

We used this recipe for pho both times. The first time I followed it pretty closely. Rather than using dried shitake, I got a crap load of them from the bulk bin at the grocery store and just threw them in. I didn’t have any star anise, so that was missing. This time we made those same changes, and also subbed a bit of red onion for the shallots and added three small, dried red chiles. Today’s attempt was definitely better. We threw in a bit of sriracha sauce and chowed down. After I finished my bowl – which took all of about 2 minutes since I was so hungry from my run – I realized that half of my face was burning. Apparently the chiles and sriracha combined to pack quite a punch, albeit after the fact.

I hope that all of the moms out there had a lovely, meaningful day with their families today. We should really treat our mothers as if every day was Mother’s Day.  (I know I ought to.) If that includes making them pho, so be it. If you’d rather order them pizza, that’s fine too. Just remember to let them know you love them, and to make them feel special.

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