The words “twenty fourteen” still feel foreign and strange as they hesitantly roll off my tongue.
My hands still scribble the date with “2013” at the end, and then I strike the numbers out, writing in the New Year, our new year, my new year.
Why, hello 2014!
I’m of the belief that if you enter the year ringing bells of victory, being certain it’s going to be a year of abundance, goodness and dreams fulfilled, it will be as you imagine.
In my opinion, it’s as easy as this. If you proclaim 12 months of beauty, of love and of health, it will come to pass, because faith is the belief of things unseen, and speaking out your faith has the power to make it come to pass.
I’ve come to the conclusion why most people (at least me) find the start of a new year so thrilling.
It’s the idea of a fresh, bright start, a clean slate not marked with previous writing, it’s a new beginning. It’s like switching on the restart button of your computer – “Ctrl + Alt + Del” and there you have it, brand new once more.
As much as it’s hard to say goodbye to the holiday season – one month of constant celebration and reunion with loved ones and friends, there’s also something so incredibly exhilarating about being presented with a completely new year. It’s like getting a pretty moleskin notebook to take notes in; or a sparkling new journal with a hand-written note from your best friend – meant for you to tell your stories in.
Simply writing this is making me excited, because there’s a feeling of thrill rising inside of me – like the fizzy bubbles in ice-cold champagne, an effervescence of great things to come. While there are so many dreams still hazy and in the making, while we don’t have confirmed plans nor routes planned out (unlike our friends Wiw and Michael who are now travelling in their campervan on a very well-planned one-year trip from South America to Canada), there are good vibes.
I believe there are continents for us to explore this year – in a way that isn’t simply that of a country-hopping tourist. I believe there will be a new city that we can call home, somewhere more stable economically and nearer my homeland, Singapore. And I believe life will be fuller, richer, more abundant – in love, in health and every good gift tangible and intangible.
Among my top resolutions, which obviously include writing more and writing better, is to eat better.
(Of course I had to have food in one of my resolutions, since it’s become such an essential part of me.)
So my resolution is to eat real foods, which means foods which are as close to their natural state as possible, and reduce foods that come in packages or boxes, with ingredients whose names I cannot pronounce nor even recognize.
In this quest of eating more real foods and less processed foods, I’m also welcoming the inevitable need to cook more – because cooking your own food is one of the surest ways to know what goes into what you eat. And of course, this also means having to open up my cooking and eating mindset to include foods that I might not have initially thought to eat.
One of those foods that I’d always been intrigued by but never really put my mind to trying was zucchini noodles – those green spaghetti-looking noodles that are actually made of zucchini, not wheat.
I know, sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it?
It took me a couple of months to warm up to the idea of zucchini noodles – what about the familiar taste of wheat? Where would I get my comfort pasta from?
But as with most uncommon foods, which I eventually get drawn to, I found myself thinking about cooking it more and more, until one day, I just stopped thinking and got down to making it.
It was…..good, really good.
You know the kind of food which doesn’t leave you in pools of guilt after stuffing yourself full with it?
This was precisely the type of comforting food that was full of fiber and texture, shredded with a julienne peeler, and then sauteed in olive oil and hints of garlic, with chunks of Italian sausage and sliced button mushrooms intertwined in between.
Because of its neutral flavor, zucchini can be cooked with many types of ingredients – in this case, I chose mushrooms and Italian sausage for their distinct flavors which gave the zucchini noodles a kick. You could go with chicken or beef cut into slices, or you could eat these noodles aglio olio.
But try it, won’t you? It’ll take the definition of “noodles” to a whole new dimension.
Meanwhile, Happy New Year and join me in ringing bells of victory!
MUSHROOM & SAUSAGE ZUCCHINI NOODLES
(Serves 1 very hungry person)
1) 200g of fresh button mushrooms, sliced thinly
2) 4 small Italian sausage links
3) 1 garlic clove, minced
4) 2 medium-sized zucchini, shredded
5) 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
6) Salt & pepper to taste
1) Clean and slice the fresh button mushrooms and mince the garlic
2) Shred the zucchini (I used this very practical julienne peeler )
3) Wash and separate the Italian sausage links, then fry them with very little oil in a pan. Once cooked, remove them from the pan, and slice into small pieces
4) Saute sliced button mushrooms in the oil left from the sausages, until they turn golden brown, then flip them to the other side. Once cooked, remove from pan.
5) Heat up 3 – 4 tablespoons of oil and fry garlic quickly. Before garlic turns too brown, add shredded zucchini and stir well, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until it softens and has cooked.
6) Return the cooked mushrooms and sausages to the pan and mix with zucchini
7) Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm
* Note: I strongly recommend using this julienne peeler (see picture below) if you don’t already have one. It has made my life so much easier whenever I want to make noodles from vegetables, such as zucchini noodles or these eggplant noodles!!