It’s been cold and wet and something about that has things weighing down on me. There is a lot on my plate and it gets you thinking. Sometimes you just can’t help it.

My mamma was the type of woman who could pack a car in less than an hour and hit the road without looking back. I guess there’s part of me that admires that. Wonders what it would be like to let things go and drive off into the sunset. Sometimes I look around at things, working all day, every day, and sitting here alone at night and Handsome works late again, and I think, wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry about any of this and just start fresh. It seems ideal and hard but easy all at the same time.

Part of me knows what fits in the back of a Crown Victoria and what I could fit right now into the trunk of my Cobalt without even thinking about it. The things you keep and the things you simply don’t really need. The blankets that will keep you warmest and the food that will get you to tomorrow. Those things you left behind will fade and you wont even remember what you had.

Today is one of those days where I could just put it all in the car and drive.

Then, I think about those things she did leave behind. Did she forget about them with time? Did the memories fade? Did each day away dull the pain for her, or was she so stone solid that the pain was never really there. Pictures of her children, her favorite book, people, friends, family. Hell, one of those things was me.

I guess I know the answer to all of that. She was dead at 40. Sometimes being the strongest person means being the loneliest too. Doesn’t mean I still don’t think about her, though. Every day.


Beef Pho 

from Food Network Magazine November 2012


For the broth:

  • 2 lbs beef shanks with meat on them
  • 3 large yellow onions, halved (don’t worry about clean cuts or skins, this is all just for the broth)
  • 1 6″ piece of ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 hole cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 3 tbs black peppercorns
  • 12 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce

For the soup:

  • 1 lbs flat rice noodles
  • 8 oz deli-sliced roast beef, rare and sliced into 1″ wide strips
  • 4 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 large bunch Thai basil or mint, leaves torn
  • 2 Serrano peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Sriracha


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange beef, onions, ginger,  and garlic on it. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Carefully remove from oven and place all ingredients into a large stock pot.

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cinnamon sticks, anise pods, and peppercorns for 5 minutes. Shake the pan or stir often. Add to the stock pot.

Pour in the beef broth, water and fish sauce to the stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low just to keep a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 and half hours. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let rest. Meanwhile, strain the broth into another large pot. Discard the remains.

Shred the beef shanks, discarding any cartilage and bones. Stir into the broth. Heat through or cover and store for up to three days before continuing with soup.

Prepare the rice noodles as per the manufactures instructions on the package.

Ladle broth into the broth into bowls and add noodles, beef, and bean sprouts. Top with basil, peppers, red onion and Sriracha as desired.




  1. No matter what, some things (and people) are never left behind, even if it may appear that way.

    Pho is one of my absolutely favorite comfort dishes.

  2. I’m sorry you’re having a bad day. I have a similar story and I know how it can weigh in you. Hope it’s sunny and brighter for you today.

  3. I did that when I was 35, though I did take my stuff with me. Packed up a U-Haul and headed south 800 miles. It definitely changed the direction of my life completely and since I will never know what the other road held, there’s no way know if there would be regrets or not. I do know that I’d have not met my husband, which means I wouldn’t have my amazing Dudette either. Nah, no regrets.

    Just so you know, I would gather that my parents thought a few times that I ‘left them behind’ as I headed out and made my own road. I’ve reminded my mom several times that she did exactly what I did. She and my dad left everything they knew in Europe and immigrated to the U.S. That’s what life is about. It’s not a leaving-behind. My family up north are always, always in the front of my mind, never behind. Pictures are scattered all over the house and I’m on the phone often. I just moved location, not the way I feel about them. Anyhow, as you can see, for those of us who actually do the pick-up-and-leave, there’s a much reflection on the after it’s done side as you’re having on the thinking about it side.

    The pho looks fantastic, warm and comforting. Very comfort food. I hope it helped.

  4. Pho is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. This looks so incredible.

  5. I wish I could give you a hug. I think everyone has these thought at certain points in their lives. You wonder how you got here and what could have done different. How easy it would be to just start over, move on and fix what is not working. I can’t imagine ever being able to forget someone you loved and left behind. Everyone has their reasons for things, just don’t let these things define you. You have the power to do and be anything you want! : )

  6. I definitely have those days too – what it would mean to pack up your car and just go. If only life was that simple, right?

    Hope the day turned out better for you. And this pho is amazing. I’ve never even thought to make pho at home (there’s a really good pho place down the street from me) but I’m totally making this and showing them who’s boss!

    Okay I really don’t normally talk like that but you get my point 🙂

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