A Good First Step into 2011

1 01 2011

LOOK it’s baby new year wearing a cupcake hat !! LOL
Happy New Year everyone ! For us 2010 was a great year, so it will be a hard one to beat.

I was talking with my friend Jess and saying every day for me is starting from a clean slate, or in latin “tabula rasa”. I think it is important for me to remember where I was, where I want to be in the new year, and know when I have those moments of just wanting to “not care”, that it is temporary and that the new day brings a clean slate. Living with regret is not really living. I find looking at our old photos makes me remember how tired I was at that size, and just the metal fortitude it took to do simple things. It has less to do about how we looked/look now, and more to do with how easy the simple day to day has become. I am thankful for this, each and every day.

from this:

to this:

As it is the new year, I wanted to start the year off right in terms of good food, but as well, I know in certain cultures, certain foods are traditional at New Years. So I did some research and came across an online article in the NY Times about what was “lucky” food in the new year. Apparently anything that crawls backwards, like lobster, shouldn’t be eaten at New Years, as you aren’t suppose to regress, but look ahead at the coming year. As well, in certain cultures you are suppose to leave some food on your plate, to signify an abundance for the year to come. I doubt that is going to happen in our house… plate cleaner : Guilty !
What I did find was round shapes signify money, and good prosperity in the year to come. How I could turn down the thought of good fortune in the new year ?? I have had a Harira soup, a traditional Muslim soup that is eaten to break the fast of Ramadan. I always though if it breaks a fast, it must be a pretty awesome soup. What I didn’t love about the traditional Harira is the carbs… with chick peas, noodles or sometimes rice, I couldn’t do it in a traditional sense. So I decided to make it lower carb, but still use the lentils, as they are round and we don’t want to slap the hand of the prosperity ‘Gods”.

adapted from four different Moroccan recipes

1 tbsp oil, olive, canola etc.
1 lb of lamb, cut into small cubes (or beef..never pork ! this is a muslim based recipe after all )
1 cup of dried lentils, green or brown
5 cups of chicken stock, organic
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp saffron

This recipe can be made in the crock pot as well as on the stove. I was home all day, so I made it on the stovetop, as I wanted to use one of my dutch oven pans.
Saute onions in oil, throw in chopped lamb (smallish chunks) and just lightly brown. Add all dried spices, and cook the raw taste off, 2 minutes. Slowly add stock scrapping all that delicious browned material from the bottom of your dish and mixing it with the stock. Add tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and lentils. Throw in a cinnamon stick (or if you dont have one, 1 tsp cinnamon when you add the other dried spices).

You have a choice here… you can add the fresh parsley and cilantro now, but they will get wilty. This doesn’t bother me, and frankly, it is easier. Simmer for 3 hours making sure lentils are cooked.

At this part in the recipe is where rice or vermicelli would be added to thicken up the soup. As well, traditional harira starts with an “aged” flour concoction, fava beans, and chick peas, to make it all super thick, i opted for the less carby munga cake version of 1 tbsp of flour, with a bit of water, and adding it to the soup to thicken it up.

Serve with a date plunked in the middle of it. Ken’s feedback was that he didn’t complain we were having soup for dinner, and was excited because he loves lamb. He ate the bowl in record time.
This makes 8 one cup servings, WLS serving is 1 cup (if you can finish it)
Nuts are : Calories 202, Fat 8.4g, Carbs 17.2g, Fibre 7 g, Protein 16 g

From now on I am going to start to list fibre as well, especially for those who are tracking fibre, and those who use fibre against net carb or weight watcher point systems. The original recipe had 44g carbs per serving… WAY too much, so I feel like I have been successful in getting the numbers down.




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