After my first at-home chicken pho experience, I’m convinced that it’s kind of like enchiladas: intimidating until you actually do it and realize how easy it is.

homemade chicken pho

Ok, so pho is a little more time-intensive, and you can’t exactly throw anything you have into the mix (like enchiladas! Enjoy this butternut squash, bean, goat cheese, spinach enchilada because we needed to get rid of this produce) buuuuuut it’s actually surprisingly easy. Our house smells INSANELY delicious now, too. You know how Bath and Body Works makes a bunch of random candle flavors now? I request a pho candle.

Even though, from now on, I’ll have no prob making it myself.

at the stove cooking pho

back of my shirt

(I had to show you the back of my shirt haha. It has a pink buddha!)

I checked out quite a few pho recipes online, and this one seemed to be the most straightforward, so I decided to go for it. I followed it exactly except for using chicken instead of beef. I got everything simmering in the pot, toasted the spices,

toasting spices

charred the ginger and onion, and said a prayer to the pho gods to be kind. 

The verdict?

boiling phoIt actually worked!

I let it simmer on the stove for about three hours, until lightly adjusting the flavorings for fish sauce, salt and sugar. Whenever I use fish sauce, I can’t help but think of my friend who accidentally left a bottle in her car, which ended up exploding. Fish sauce isn’t exactly an ideal car aromaโ€ฆ 

During the three hour time span, I couldn’t help myself from walking over to the stove, lift the lid, and deeply inhaling. I couldn’t believe it smelled exactly like real thing!!! The only area where I failed was the noodles. I grabbed some quickly at Trader Joe’s just noting that the package said “rice noodles.” They weren’t the thin pho-like strands I’m used to, but rather the spaghetti instead of the angel hair of the pho world. Still worked out nicely ๐Ÿ™‚

Trader Joe's rice noodles

After our pho dinner, I headed to the gym for my HIIT and Steady. I still have that free two-week pass and always feel more motivated at the gym than I do at home. I did about 40 minutes, and then we took Livi to see some Christmas lights at Winterhaven. I’m determined to check out as many Tucson holiday adventures as possible, and revisit local faves before we move. I’ve had a few requests to post my favorite things to do at Tucson places, so I’ll definitely update this post in the next few months.

What’s on your workout plan today?

Last time you attempted to recreate a restaurant fave? How’d it go?

See ya later today with a new Zumba video!


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  1. Stephanie@ BabeMeetsBalance on December 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I will definitely give this a try! We discovered pho a couple years ago and it became quite the problem when I NEEDED to get it at least 1-2 times a week haha. I attempted to make it at home to save on $$ and styrofoam take out containers but it was no bueno. Good to know this one tastes like the real thing!!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      it totally does! it’s amazing for the cost savings, too. i had almost everything on hand, so it cost $9 for four servings

  2. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on December 16, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I would love to make chicken pho but working with the bones would creep me out a little. Yours looks delicious!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      they totally creeped me out… but it was worth the end result

  3. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on December 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    You know, I have never ever eaten pho! I know, blasphemy, especially because there’s quite a few pho restaurants here in Boulder, CO!

  4. Becky @ Life Outside The BOX on December 16, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, it doesn’t seem too too difficult. I always thought making pho was super intimidating!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      let me know if you try it!

  5. Laura B at FitMamaLove on December 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I kinda want to try it just to say I did, but I’m also ok leaving it to the experts, especially since DH doesn’t like (crazy, right?)

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      ahhhh! i’m lucky that the pilot and liv both go crazy for it. it’s worth it to make it at home for the cost savings if the whole family will eat it. here, it’s $9 for one, and i made four servings for $9

      • Laura B at FitMamaLove on December 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

        $9 for one is really expensive! It’s $6 here in NorCal. San Diego might be the same!

  6. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on December 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I’m heading to the gym with the husband after he gets out of his test all day. We plan to take it easy , relax, and enjoy some non-stress time at the gym since he’s been studying day and night! May sound strange to some but I am really looking forward to it!

  7. Jackie on December 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I’m going to do an elliptical workout today!

  8. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats on December 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I love pho but I’m definitely scared to make it! I think for me any recipe with a lot of ingredients can be intimidating – so much to buy! But I’m pinning that and hopefully will give it a try!

  9. Naomi on December 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I am driving home today for Christmas break, and am thinking that after the long drive Soli Beat might be in order ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      whoo hoo! have fun ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  10. Amy on December 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

    The cut of the noodles aren’t make it or break it for pho- Just make sure you use rice noodles (which you did). I have been to many Vietnamese joints that offer a choice of noodles so you can pick the shape you like- sounds like you like vermicelli noodles, so just get those next time- problem solved!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      ohhh, good to know! thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Julie @ Better Life with Burgers on December 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’ve actually never tried pho! And my husband even grew up in an area in Southern California famous for its pho. One of these days…

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      it will rock your world ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Livi on December 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I’ve never tried pho but now I’m intrigued!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      it is AMAZING

  13. Diana @sosmallsostrong on December 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I never had pho but it look delicious! I’ll be heading to physical therapy today for some leg strengthening! Woohoooo!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      hope it goes well!

  14. RavieNomNoms on December 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I love PHO!

  15. Cassie Vaughn on December 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Yoga and sweat session are on my list for this afternoon!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      that sounds lovely!

  16. mary @ minutes per mile on December 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I recently returned from a trip to Vietnam, where I ate pho nonstop! It’s such a lovely soup, and yes — easier to make than you might think!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      ahhhh! that sounds amazing

  17. Carson on December 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I have never tried pho, but that looks delicious!

    After working all weekend, I plan on hitting things pretty hard today. Running 5 miles, going to a Pump class, and probably doing some more cardio in some way, shape, or form.

  18. Britt on December 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    debating going to step class tonight. if I don’t I am doing Soli Beat instead!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      ohhh have fun!

  19. Mahealani @ Spending Time With Salad on December 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    LOVE pho, and yours looks delicious! But it seems like a weekend dish, what with all the simmering. I wonder if you could do it in a crock pot??? I’m not a big crock pot user, but I never get 3 hours of simmer time on weeknights. I know it’s worth it though!!!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      i’m not sure. if anything, i would make the broth over the weekend when you’re home, freeze and heat when you’re ready to eat it! it would be a quick weeknight meal: boil the broth, cook the noodles, pour and feast

  20. Alison on December 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    That looks delicious! I actually just ordered pho for the first time last week and it was so good – I would love to make it at home! Just curious, since I just recently started eating chicken/poultry again after being veg for a few years and haven’t really started eating red meat yet (although the pho I got at the restaurant was made with beef and I enjoyed it!), but do you think it could be done with poultry bones instead of beef bones? Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      i used chicken instead of beef, and it came out wonderfully ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Danica @ It's Progression on December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve never had pho, much less made it myself. Lasagna is one of those foods to me that’s intimidating – I have no idea why really – and because of that I’ve never made it!

  22. Anna @ Fitness ร  la Anna on December 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    So funny – I was actually chatting with a friend of mine (who is equally obsessed with pho as I am) and we are planning on attempting to make pho this weekend. I will def check out the recipe that you used! Also, I am going to Vietnam in February…can’t wait to taste the real deal ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Janice on December 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I’m impressed you tackled making pho at home! Liv is so lucky to have you as a Mama. I’m Asian American and I love seeing young children exposed to a variety of foods.. I personally think it helps with their ability to have an open mind / learn about different cultures.

    If you can make pho with no problem, I highly recommend making summer rolls (if you haven’t already). They’re healthy and you can use almost any variety of ingredients. I usually just mix pb, hoisin sauce and sesame oil for a simplified version of the peanut sauce.

  24. Crystal on December 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Omg I love pho. My first experience was a couple years ago in San Francisco and nothing I’ve attempted at home has lived up to it lol.

    Love that top! Where’s it from?

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      thank you! the brand is “i love yoga” – i got it at a yoga studio here in town

  25. Abi@AbsofSteel on December 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, i had only first tried pho like a year ago, I can’t imagine making it. but come to think of it, it’s technically just a type of noodle soup

  26. Jessica on December 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Inspired right now. Totally going to try this this week!
    Todays workout will consist of a bit of Bikram and walkin the dawg ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on December 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Your workout clothes are SO cute! Love them! I still have never tried Pho! It sounds soooo good though. And like it would be perfect for this chilly season! yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Shelly on December 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Your pho looks good! I’m notoriously bad for screwing up every recipe I try. The most recent wasn’t a restaurant redo, but it’s worth mentioning. I screwed up macaroni and cheese! I tried Alton Brown’s recipe from Food Network, but I must have used too much flour without noticing it until it was done. Not so good.

  29. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on December 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Woohoo for homemade pho! My family absolutely loves pho, but we’ve never attempted to make it at home. We just made some tasty fajitas last night though!
    Today’s workout was 25 minutes on the elliptical and some upper body/ab work with TRX bands. TRX is my new favorite workout equipment!

  30. S. Dodorico on December 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    the pho looks great….but I would love to know where you got your grey yoga shirt in this pic?


    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      the brand is “i love yoga” and i got it a yoga studio here in tucson. they have an online store, too

  31. Kaylee on December 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    This looks really good. There is an amazing restaurant in London England called Pho, and they have such good pho, spicy salads and even gluten-free spring rolls! I’ve moved back to Canada 4 months ago and I’m craving Pho like crazzzyyy. I’m going to make this asap!

    • Fitnessista on December 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      i’ve heard the london has incredible food! definitely on the “must see” list ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Jordan Lynn // Life Between Lattes on December 17, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I love pho, but I’d have to make a vegetarian variety! Looks delicious though!

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