Lotsa Pho & Homemade Soufflé Pancakes!

** SO I wrote this post on the 20th and totally forgot to publish it, so here it is over a week later, haha**

Can four posts in 24 hours be done?! I am tryin’! I have 45 minutes before I am heading to Boys and Girls Club, so I’m gonna try to get this done really quick. Although I’ll probably publish it in a couple days to give ya a breather from all the Disney excitement 😉

After saying our goodbyes to the fam on the evening of the 8th, Amy, DJ, and I all headed to the airport at around 6 am on December 9th. Amy and I were starting to feel that ominous “tickle” in the back of the throat. We loaded up on Vitamin C packs to take with our generous 2 ounces of complimentary water on the plane.

I thought this little set up at our gate was adorable!


Luckily the seat next to DJ and me wasn’t occupied, so Amy joined us! Unluckily, I felt like absolute crud, so I was a bump on the log and barely moved the entire flight. I studied what I could and then just slept.

The only food that sounded appetizing once we were home was pho. Pho is the ultimate comfort food when sick, especially from House of Pho (hands down the best Pho around).

I also had to get the fresh tofu spring rolls. They always look so darn good in Hunida’s posts, and had me craving some of those too. They were so tasty and refreshing. The peanut sauce was on point.


We door-dashed it, as we had ZERO energy. I chose the vegetarian option. It was just what I was craving, and I always feel like eating spicy pho helps to clear out the sinuses and kill the bad germs. I don’t think there is any science behind that theory, but I’m stickin’ to it. I felt almost instantly better after eating the noods.


DJ ordered a chicken pho that he really enjoyed.


Later that evening DJ got hungry again so I whipped him up Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan from TJ’s. I always like to have fast meals on hand for when I’m not in the mood to cook. TJ’s comes in clutch with frozen meals, especially during this crayzayyy time of year. This gets a 8/10 from DJ. I absolutely love the naan. For being frozen naan I think it’s as good as it gets!


December 10th I spent the entire day studying away. Just studied, studied, studied! In the evening I made DJ a cheese tortellini with parmesan crisps.


I had the second half of my leftover pho. The serving they gave in this delivery was very generous!


December 11th I took my final!!! It went really well, and I am very thankful it is behind me now. A couple months ago I was debating if I should go to Disney because of the final, but I’m glad I made it work because it would have been horrible to miss out on such a wonderful  family trip. That is something my undergraduate self would have never dreamed of doing- look Ma, I’m more balanced!

In the evening I made Deej his favorite tacos per request. How he isn’t sick of these by now is beyond me.


I was craving fresh raw veggies since I was finally feeling better. I had a big salad with a bean burger and hummus.


December 12th I ran some errands in the afternoon to restock on groceries. I spent the rest of the evening catching up on laundry and all that fun stuff. In the evening I made Deej a cajun style pasta. He gave this pasta a 9/10.


On December 13th, I grabbed a coffee in the morning and went for a walk while listening to podcasts. Perfect start to the morning. I also went to TJ Maxx to peruse for gifts & get a new planner after.


After, I zipped to Santana Row to look around there for gifts. The five level parking garage was FULL midday. That is unheard of! Tis’ the season. This reminds me why I always try to get shopping done a few weeks before Christmas. People— people everywhere…


On my way home I ran to the post office to drop some packages off and make some returns.

Friday the 14th was a fun day! I completed an 18-miler for marathon training, and then caught up on blogging. In the evening I made DJ a Shepherd’s pie from TJ’s. He rated it a 6/10. Probably not a rebuy for us. I had my big ole’ veggie mix again. I get on kicks with that salad. Mmmmm ! I’m already excited to have it in a few hours.


We made sugar cookies from scratch and then decorated them. I just love the cookie making tradition 🙂 I would have made more, but since we are traveling the rest of December it didn’t really make sense. Every time at this year I am reminiscent of our Mingle & Jingle. One year I would like to do something like that again!


Saturday December 15th I woke up early, worked on a blog post while watching The Great British Baking Show and enjoyed oatmeal & coffee out on the balcony.


Saturday was a super lazy day for us, but much needed. I don’t even remember much of what we did- I’m going to guess Arrested Development & eating sugar cookies was in the mix.

Sunday the 16th was our Christmas Creative at church. I always love the Christmas Creative every year! Our Pastor says it’s the time of year when “we let the creatives out”, hah. They tell the Christmas story through gifts of singing, dancing, acting, video, etc. The talent just astounds me.

With no in-post segue (who has time for that?) I’m sad to inform you we found out some terrible news. You know the soufflé pancakes we just discovered and are obsessed with? Apparently, that was only a pop up location. They are moving out 🙁


WELL. Are we gonna let this get us down?! NO… heck to the NAH. We are just gonna have to make our own! I looked up a recipe for soufflé pancakes and gave them a shot. I was ambitious and tried to make them in Christmas shapes. I forgot to grease the cookie cutters, so they didn’t come out perfectly shaped (womp womp), but were still a success from the flavor and texture standpoint!!!


They were so fluffy, light, and tasted just like the ones we had! I definitely have room to improve, but I am excited they turned out as well as they did.


This was the second batch which looks much more like the original ones we tried from Koja.


On Monday December 17th, I did a HITT routine in the morning then met up with our campus Pastor, Amy, in the afternoon for some lunch & to catch up. We went to SoFa, a place in San Jose that is like a nice cafeteria set up with the yummiest foods to choose from.


We both decided to nom down some poke. I usually go for ahi tuna when I get poke, but they had octopus on the menu which I had to try. It was absolutely satisfying.


I caught up on more blogging in the afternoon & evening.

Tuesday December 18th I woke up early. I mixed up my usual oatmeal breakfast to use up some of the food we already had on hand. I made an egg white omelette with a bunch of veggies, hummus, and a slice of Ezekiel bread with low sugar raspberry jam.


I went for a run in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day!


Yesterday the 19th I was running around like a nut trying to get everything ready to go for Christmas and traveling. And that brings us to today, the 20th! We leave later tonight to go back to Cleveland. It’s a red eye so I’m a bit nervous about the lack of sleep I’m facing especially with the time change, but I’ll just take it in stride per usual.

Question for you:

  • Favorite holiday tradition?

xo <3


65 thoughts on “Lotsa Pho & Homemade Soufflé Pancakes!

  1. I’m just getting over a stomach bug, and I have to say that those noodles look SO good. My appetite isn’t quite there yet, but noodles sound really good!
    And I love your Christmas cookies!!! They’re so festive and pretty!
    Hmmmm, favorite holiday tradition? That’s a tough one, because I feel as though my family has so many! Decorate gingerbread cookies together is definitely at the top of my list… But I think Christmas morning breakfast with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, sister, and kiddos is probably my favorite. It’s a really special time!! 🙂

    1. Oh no!! I hope you are feeling much much better by the time you read this- but seriously noodles are the ultimate comfort food!! really in any form.

      Thanks so much, Chica! I am not super artistic, but I was in the zone with the frosting haha.

      I love your traditions- so special!! I really enjoy Christmas breakfast too. It used to be presents of course as a kid, but as I have gotten older there is nothing I look forward to more than our meal times together to just chat with undivided attention. Thanks for stopping in and sharing 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you tooooo! I actually did not know there was an American version till this past week when another blogger pointed this out– I am SOOOO excited there is though!!! And Paul Hollywood is on it?! Perfect! I will take either cookies or biscuits- mmmmm! Thank you for sharing the link. I cannot wait to watch!

  2. Merry Christmas (a little late) and a very happy New Year (a little in advance) to you and DJ!! I wish you health and many new fun adventures for 2019!

    My favorite holiday tradition is the meal my mom cooks for Christmas Eve’s dinner. It is called cipaille, and it is a traditional recipe here in Quebec. It is basically a HUGE meatpie, that cooks for hours and hours and fills the house with a very yummy smell. Nothing spells Christmas for me, just like this smell can! I must say that my risalamande is very important too, even if it is a recent addition to our little holiday rituals 😉 I just have to give our celebrations a Danish touch 😉

    *big hugs*

    1. Awwww a very Merry Christmas (even a bit later) & Happy New Year (still somewhat in advance 😉 ) to youuu tooo!!!! Thank you so much, Cyr!! I am excited to see what 2019 has in store for you too 🙂 I am thankful to have you as a friend for the last couple years!!

      I just looked up a Cipaille (you knowww I love discussions like this).. and it looks like a meat pie meats a lasagna!! yummy!! Thank you for sharing your favorite tradition with me 🙂

      Oh, and yesss risalamande is a must!! Have I told you that I crave it whenever Christmas rolls around? I haven’t had the chance to make it, but gosh, was it ever good. Forever grateful to you for introducing me to that!

      I LOVE the Danish touch! The more (Danish) the merrier! xo

      1. I am so grateful to have you as a friend too 🙂 🙂 🙂 You are such an inspiring young Lady!

        If you ever come to Quebec, I’ll persuade my mom to make a cipaille (and we’ll get less meaty stuff for you too…) so you can try it 😉 It surpasses the usual typical Quebec dish (Poutine) by far 😛

        You’re welcome for the risalamande introduction 🙂 I was so glad you liked it! Now I have to try to make rødgrød med fløde, another Danish classic, and try to get you to make some too 😛 More to come in a future post xx

      2. <3 You have no idea how much you encourage me!!

        Awwww yes that sounds SO perfect! It will happen one day :) I keep telling DJ I want to do a big trek through Canada sometime- there is sooo much good food up there, and it's just beautiful. Have you heard of Sauble beach? We had a family vacation one year there that was just phenomenal. I have wanted to return to Canada ever since!

        Oh man I always love a good challenge & pronouncing that name alone is one!! LOL! I am going to look that up right now! Thank you for sharing, I SO appreciate you. <3

  3. Yay! I love this post and want to try every single food item that you took pictures of. Good pictures too!

    Pho is one of my favorite things to eat in the world. I always get the Veggie too as I always find that the chicken is too chicken-ey or the beef is tough etc. Plus, I just like veggies and the more the merrier! I use every piece of cilantro, etc that they put on the side and load it up with Srirachi and Hoisin sauce. Man, I want some Pho right now!

    I want to try the taco’s… those look delicious!

    You’ve come quite the cookie decorating skills as well. Impressive! The last time I made cookies with my mom she forgot to buy sprinkles. So, we had Christmas cookies with Easter sprinkles on them. Was a riot.

    Your trip sounds like fun and I’m excited to read more about it!

    What are the plans for your New Year?

    My favorite holiday tradition is definitely the process of decorating and putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I failed at this this year, but I’ll get back into the swing of things next year 🙂

    PS – Genius idea with the cookie cutters for pancake molds. I’ll have to try this out for Lynn!
    PPS – You are seriously like the coolest.

    1. Hey, Taushah!! So I just discovered my love for Pho this year, and it’s something I absolutely crave. I am the same with using up all the sauces & fresh herbs they give. I was missing out on Hoisin all my life- that stuff is gold.

      That’s so funny about the Easter sugar cookies! Just knocking out too holidays with one stone, right?

      We are actually being kinda boring for New Year’s this year. The last few we have gone out, once into the city (but ended up falling asleep in our hotel before midnight, lol), and then last year we were in Texas so I think we are just gonna take it super easy & cook at home, pop some champagne, and maybe watch the NYC entertainment. This month has been so non-stop so we are actually excited to have a relaxing evening- although I do catch serious FOMO so that may all change when the day actually arrives, haha. How about you guys?

      Yessss- we lovee that tradition too! Something so exciting about the beginning of Christmas anticipation. And so fun to go through ornaments.

      Aww right back atchya- thank you tons for stopping in & I hope you are having the most wonderful weekend!!

  4. Well done on your final!!! As always, I spent this post drooling after all of the amazing-looking food!! Xxx

    1. Hey AJ!! Oh they are so good. They actually have nothing inside of them believe it or not! They are just fluffed up- it has something to do with the way you cook them- you have to use frozen egg whites, whip them, then add to the homemade pancake batter (made with cake flour), then the action of the enclosed pancakes, a tiny bit of water, and heat causes the “fluff” affect. Hope you are having a great weekend!

    1. Thank you, Diane!! I was trying to channel my inner “Dianes Kitchen” & make something delicious, hehe

  5. Over at “Mingle and Jingle” I left you a message about all the baked goodies – that really looks like a fun time. Your cookies in this post are beautiful and fun-looking too, and no doubt delicious. See, you made lemons from lemonade when the souffle pancake place closed and yours were just as wonderful Mackenzie – no worries about them closing down.

    1. Hi, Linda!!! Thank you so much for stopping in there 🙂 Thanks for keeping the party alive 😉

      Awww we tried!! Definitely have room to improve, but ya know it was so satisfying & fun trying something new like that. It actually motivates me to try to recreate more things that I love from other restaurants too! Thanks always for your awesome comments!!

      1. Aw thank you!! I know- nowadays you never do know what food trend will pop up! So fun 🙂

    1. Amitav! Merry Christmas & Happy of all New Years to you too. Wishing you abundant blessings & joy in this year to come. Thanks for stopping in, friend!

    1. GIRL. You haven’t tried Pho?! You would love it, I just know it! It’s amazing. And thank youuu- we tried to give it a go even though my polar bear looked more like a polar blob when all was said and done, lol.

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Kathy!! Oh I hope you do try the souffle pancakes 🙂 Have a great rest of your weekend & thank you for stopping by. I so appreciate knowing you here in our little blogger space 🙂

  6. I’ve never tried Pho but your photos have convinced me that I need to! I also am tempted to make soufflé pancakes, as well! I looked at the recipe you shared and it seems intense. I’m impressed at how amazing yours look! Maybe I’ll make an attempt sometime soon 🙂 One of my favorite holiday traditions is driving around to look at Christmas lights one night. Now that John and I are in our home, we’re hoping to start some new traditions 🙂

    I hope you had an amazing Christmas!!
    – Emily

    1. Oh girl, you are in for a treat when you do!! It is just delicious. & truly one of the most comforting things to eat in the fall/winter. So the recipe was a bit crazy- but at the same time I think once you do it once or twice it would seem easy peasy!

      Aww I love that tradition! So sweet. It always amazes me peoples’ creativity with their lights & decorations. Here there isn’t as much of it (apartment life & the concrete jungle feel), but it was fun seeing all the lights back in OH. Thank you for stopping by, girl! I can’t wait to see what new traditions you all have in years to come. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend 🙂 Also glad we are insta-friends now too 😉

  7. I love this post so much!
    I hope you’re feeling better, and congrats on finishing your finals!
    I love all the food in this post, so many ideas. I’ve never had pho before, but it looks yummy!
    Christmas traditions are so precious, and I love your sugar cookie one. We make a bunch of cookies for family and friends and always have so much fun doing it.
    Wow you are such a super star for running 18 miles! It’s a struggle to walk one for me haha!
    I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi, Grace! Thank you so much 🙂 Pho is super yummy- it’s basically a noodle soup but with more combinations and options. So tasty!

      Christmas cookie making is one of the best traditions- something so warm & cozy about it.

      Aw thank you! One more month till the marathon and then I probably won’t run another 18 miler for a looong time, hehe. Happy New Year to youuu & thank you for stopping by 🙂

    1. Hi, Ashley! it was all too darn delish!! Time to make more tonight!! I probably should eat a vegetable sometime soon, lol.

  8. I am so sorry you were sick!! That’s never fun!! Hopefully you are feeling all better now <3

    I can't tell you how many times I have forgotten to hit publish on a blog post lol!

    All the food in this post looks so stinkin good!! I have never had Pho before, I have to try it now!!

    And those pancakes…oh my gosh they look amazing! Thanks for sharing <3

    Have a wonderful Monday and Happy New Year!!! 🙂

    Oh! And my favorite holiday tradition is watching Elf on Christmas Eve and eating homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning!

    1. Thanks, girl! I am definitely back to 100% now 🙂 Thankfully that one didn’t hang along too long.

      haha oh good, so glad I’m not the only one!!!

      You would love pho! It is so savory, delicious, and comforting.

      I love your holiday traditions too!! We used to do cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning too. After getting married the traditions have changed quite a bit- but even last year when it was just me and my husband, and I had to work, I made sure we had some! Hope you have the most wonderful New Year 🙂 xo

  9. Aww I love the gingerbread display! I am sorry you were feeling sick, I am sure it was not a fun plane ride back. Spicy stuff is good to clear you up! I am so happy your final went so good! It would have been a shame to miss THAT trip! I am sure Santana row was not fun that day! Oh look at those sugar cookies ! They look equally cute and tasty in one!!!! We made some ourselves. Great job on the souffle pancakes, I need to look up a recipe too! Favorite tradition is midnight Church on Christmas eve and coming home and having tea and some yummies, (from when I was a kid and into teens!) Take care Mackenzie, Terri xo.

    1. I am so thankful it all worked out to go too. and the sugar cookies actually were so delicious – even DJ who isn’t big into sugar cookies loved them!

      Aww I love your traditions!!! YUM tea & treats on Christmas eve sounds perfect. xo

  10. Sorry that you were sick! That gate decor was too cute! I haven’t tried Pho, but it looks delicious. Bummer about the restaurant being a pop-up, but awesome that you were able to recreate them!! Sugar cookies are so much fun and so much yum!! I hope that your new year is off to a great start.

    1. Thanks, Amy!!

      I think you would love Pho, it’s the ultimate comfort food & have vegan friendly options 🙂

      Hope yours is off to a great start too! xo

  11. Ahh I know you wrote this so long ago so I’m hoping your little cold has gone away! The fresh spring rolls look sooo delish. 😉 They are such a weakness of mine lol.

    So happy to hear the finals went well, Mackenzie! Are those the bison tacos I spy? Hahaha I’d never get sick of ’em either. 😂 The frozen meals from TJ’s look really good too. I so wish there was one closer to me.

    Those sugar cookies are adorable!! & oh my gosh, the souffle pancakes. Mmmm must try asap!!! & the poke looks good, too lol.

    Sorry all I talked about was the food hahaha!

    1. It is long gone thankfully 🙂

      I agree!! They are the most refreshing, yet tasty, little treats! The peanut sauce just makes um’!

      LOL- you bet they are!! A true staple of DJ’s diet officially!

      HAH- girl, we are the same. My eyes are so big looking at the food in everyones’ posts. Love it. I could talk food all. day. long. Hope your year is off to a wonderful start! xo

  12. Congrats on your final going well!!

    That stinks some of the TJ’s meals didn’t turn out. For some reason I always feel SO let down when that happens cause TJ’s is normally so bomb. ha

    1. Thank you, Kaci!!!

      It is SUPER rare to not have a great meal from there- and even the turkey pot pie was fine, just not DJ’s fave (he also isn’t a big fan of turkey, so that’s probably part of it!).

      Have a great weekend, girl! Hope all is well 🙂

  13. I’ve been trying to get over a bug for the past two weeks while I’m not bedridden it’s still annoying to not feel 100%
    And that pho looks so so good! I’m glad I finally had it so now I know what you mean how great it is as a comfort food lol. Just like ramen!
    And how sad that it was a pop up shop!!!!! I was thinking I would go try them when I went 😭😭😭😭 I’ll need to look them up around here. Or maybe I’ll try making them myself again but since I’ve never had them I would have no clue about how they taste lol
    This is my last post of yours that I’m reading but I finally made it to January!!!! Cant wait to read how your xmas was!

    1. YES- I felt like my life was changed once I tried Pho- it’s soo darn good. I hope you can get even more to help you get over that bug.

      I discovered they still have a shop in San Jose! I bet you could find some in Portland! I so appreciate you reading- you are a trooper, these posts are not short. haha

      1. I feel so much better now. But I’m still itching to get more pho soon.
        I tried to find it and nothing 🙁 but on the bright side, I found a japanese bakery hahaha i will be going soon

      2. Pho is definitely one of those things I crave often! It is just so warming, delicious, savory…. mmmm mmmm!

        Bummer!! Okay a Japanese bakery is a wonderful alternative- cannot wait to hear about it *heart eyes*!

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