ringing in the new year

Happy New Years Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to 2011. I’ve got some pretty major life changes happening, I’ve made some great goals for myself that I’m excited about accomplishing and I just have a really good feeling about this new year!

I really wanted to share a champagne recipe with you all but when I got home last night we didn’t have any! We received so many bottles of champagne after our engagement that I thought we definitely had some but alas, no such luck. So I had a little wine to give you all a virtual cheers!

I also ate some pickled herring to bring good luck! (This is the first time I’ve really kind of liked it but I was a little nervous…) Do you eat special foods on New Years Eve or Day to bring good luck?

Enjoy your New Years Eve festivities, what are your plans? We are expecting a really bad snow storm so I secretly (or not so secretly) hope we get snowed in, otherwise we’ll be heading to a friend’s party!

picky lunches

I am admittedly picky about my lunch selections. I like them to be:

  • Preferably vegan or vegetarian
  • Full of vegetables
  • But not frozen vegetables as they are never as good heated, cooled and then microwaved
  • Heatable in a microwave
  • Preferably warm in the winter, not in the summer
  • Must be full of protein and good fat to keep me satisfied
  • Preferably not bread based, since I have toast often in the morning
  • Each meal can only be repeated 2x/week
  • Something fun and exciting!

As you can see this leaves me in quite the predicament and does not leave many options for eating out either. This also leaves me pulling out my hair on a weekly basis as I try to plan my meals for the next week.

So do you have any ideas for me? :)

lamb ragù

This is the kind of meal that will make the men in your life very, very happy. I can’t necessarily guarantee diamonds or a vacation to Fiji but if your men eat meat, it’s certainly worth a try! ;)

It involves a lot of meat, that unmistakable slow-cooked flavor and I mentioned meat, right? Making this ragù also taught me about a sofrito. The term varies by culture, but typically consists of chopped onion and garlic and then other additions like carrots, celery, peppers, tomato, etc. My sofrito contained onions, leeks, carrots and shallots. (I was out of garlic – the horror!) Regardless of the sofrito you use, this dish is an incredibly filling and satisfying winter meal.

Lamb Ragù

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp greek seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • feta cheese

Heat oil in large pan. Add sofrito mix to pan (onion, leeks, shallot and carrots) and let vegetables sweat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.

Add all spices and lamb, stirring to break up meat. When meat has browned, about 4-5 minutes, add wine, half & half, tomato paste and the bay leaf. Lower heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with feta if desired.

In between bites the Taster said, “You can make this anytime you want.” And I just might do that. I’m still waiting on that trip to Fiji. ;)

PS. Congratulations to Samantha, the winner of the bean pasta giveaway! Please email me your mailing address!

welcome back

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or long weekend if you don’t celebrate!) I had an amazing weekend with family and soon-to-be family. I ate a lot of delicious food (think scallop chowder, pork roll breakfast sandwiches, beef tenderloin and home made eggnog) and enjoyed every minute of it! Please tell me you did one thing from my Holiday Health: Enjoying the Holidays post! (Thank you all for the wonderful feedback on my list of what you should do over the Holidays – I’m so glad you enjoyed it!)

I also decided to extend the bean pasta giveaway another day because of the Holiday weekend, so I will choose the winner tonight!

What was the best thing you ate over the weekend?