2020!? I’ve spent the better part of my life associating that with a show, not a year that I may one day live in, but here we are and what a blessing it is to be able to see this milestone. With Christmas behind us, there’s only room to look forward. While the tried and true resolutions will circle back for us year to year I want to do something different this year.

Whether you choose to be healthier, more organized or more rested, our ultimate goal always seems to be a more polished version of ourselves. Last year I worked on being more patient and slowing down. The year before that I worked on setting boundaries and saying "no." I’ve been extremely successful in snatching back the control of my life I needed. This year, however, I want some excitement. I want to do fun things that rev up my soul. I want to try even more new things, and I want to build new, exciting relationships that are fulfilling. My ultimate goal is to do at least one fun thing a week.

When I’ve told others about my resolution, they’ve always thought big and wondered what I considered "fun" and "exciting." For me, it doesn’t have to be something big all the time. I don’t need to jump out of a plane one week and then bungee jump the next. Big things are always fun and I’ll be sure to pepper in such events throughout the year, but those are not the only things I count as exciting. It can be as simple as building a fun outfit that I wouldn’t otherwise wear. It can be scheduling an impromptu lunch date with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, or trying a recipe I haven’t tried before and venturing out to explore another culture through their food.

I plan to incorporate a lot of new meals into my year and turn more meals into dinner parties with good-for-your-soul type of friends. One of the meals I’d love to share with you, if you’d like to join me in this journey of fun and excitement, is my version of quick Thai noodles. These noodles are not only delicious, they are quick and easy to make (which is always a plus) and they also introduce you to new ingredients without too much of an investment. It’s a great way to get your feet wet if you are concerned about jumping in all the way. Give this a try and then be courageous enough to explore more and more until 2020 is filled with the most fun memories and experiences.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I hope you polish yourself to the best of your ability and become the "You" you’ve always wanted to be. I hope you are greeted by friendly faces in the new year. I hope the path you’re on gets a little less rocky and bumpy. I hope your goals are attainable. I hope you’re surrounded by warmth and happiness.

Lastly, I hope you are always safe in the arms of genuine friends and a caring family who loves you. If for whatever reason you find yourself lacking in anything from the above list, I hope you are strong enough to be the light for someone else instead. I hope you are able to hoist someone else up until it is your time to gain everything you need. Sending you all peace and light. Happy New Year!

 

Quick Thai Noodles

I love this recipe because it’s a form of comfort food to me. You can easily adjust the seasonings to suit your needs. I also like to make a double batch because the noodles really absorb all the flavors and taste even better the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 of each yellow and red bell peppers, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 cup baby bok choy (can replace with baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (16 oz.) rice noodles (or fettuccine) cooked according to directions and set aside
  • 1 cup shredded chicken (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. red chili pepper flakes (optional or increase or decrease depending on taste)
  • 3 to 5 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 tbsp. green curry paste
  • 2 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 to 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. gochujang
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water or broth of your choice to make a sauce. Use this sparingly.
  • Optional toppings: chopped scallions, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro, sriracha and/or sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. On high heat, heat oil in a wok or a large skillet and saute onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic until softened.

  2. Add in the remaining ingredients (except the noodles and the optional toppings listed) and cook until all ingredients are mixed through. About 5-10 minutes on medium high heat, or at a high heat in a wok if you prefer.

  3. Add in cooked chicken, if using, and thin out the sauce just a bit with either the broth or water.

  4. Add in noodles and let the noodles cook with sauce to absorb all the flavors. At this point, check the seasonings and add in more of anything else you might need. Add in more brown sugar for extra sweetness, soy sauce or salt for saltiness and/or sriracha for a kick of spiciness.

  5. Add in any optional ingredients as your garnish and enjoy!

 

From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit