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African Groundnut Stew

African Groundnut Stew

Did you know there are certain foods that are supposed to bring you luck in the new year if you eat them? I think it’s a tradition mainly followed in the south. While I’m not Southern, I did learn about this concept and thought it was a fun idea so I’ve been incorporating it in my family for the past several years. I think most southerners that follow this eat collard greens with black-eyed peas cooked in ham. This is my own interpretation of lucky food for the new year. Our New Year’s Day tradition is to eat African Groundnut Stew, although this is yummy to eat at any time, so don’t just limit it to one day.

  • Eating greens is thought to increase wealth
  • Black eyed peas represent prosperity, I’ve heard because they resemble coins (in someone’s mind.)
  • Grains are supposed to represent long life and/or abundance.

My husband really likes this, it’s great because it’s not tomato based. He hates tomatoes, there are too many tomato based soups! (I love tomatoes though.) And I’m happy with it because it has a rich, thick feel without being cream/dairy based. I’m not a chef or a food photographer, but here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

African Groundnut Stew

African Groundnut Stew
Recipe type: Stew
Serves: 4-6
A hearty stew full of nutrition and ingredients thought to bring luck in a new year.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1½ cups cooked black eyed peas (a can drained and rinsed would work)
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, chiles, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon and cumin. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with the spices.
  5. Add 1½ cups of water. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  6. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl and slowly ¼ cup water, stirring until smooth. Add the peanut butter mixture into the stew. Simmer about 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
  7. Add the black-eyed peas and spinach. Simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Before serving, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  9. Garnish with peanuts, chopped or whole.
Serve with cornbread on the side.

Staying Healthy in the New Year? Relax!

What is my key to staying healthy in the New Year?


Alright, this isn’t something that I’m very good at yet, but whenever I have a streak where I can let myself relax, everything seems to go more smoothly.  I’m not just talking about doing a relaxing activity, because there are times when I try to sit down with a magazine or watch a movie, but all I can do is think about the myriad other things I should/could be doing.  I mean REALLY relaxing into an activity.  I’m going to try to use this more throughout 2011.  Here are areas that I see relaxation being beneficial for me, as well as for others:

Let’s face it, every job has stress.  And letting the stress build up over time is a recipe for disaster.  It’s like the kitchen trash can… it can only hold so much.  If you keep piling it on eventually the whole thing spills over and the house starts to stink.  (Yes, I just compared myself to a trash can! I’m so creative!)  But remembering to empty it on regular intervals prevents the disaster.
The fix: regular stretch breaks throughout the day, taking my full lunch hour, not working unreasonable self-imposed hours.

If I’m wound so tight that I’m ready to snap at the slightest motion, it certainly doesn’t make me a pleasant person to be around.  And you know, I kind of like my family and friends… I don’t want to scare them away by being the girl with the explosive temper. Or at least the sullen girl who is drained and remote.  I don’t really get very “explosive”.
The fix: Regular massages,  “play dates”, vacations

Let’s face it, running is easier when it is fun.  When it feels like drudgery or punishment, the whole thing drags.  And when you’re not having fun, you’re more likely to compensate on your form in some way: hunch over, tensing shoulders, shuffling… all of which will generate future pain and more unhappiness from discomfort or injury.
The fix: Running new routes, fartleks, group runs AND solo runs, new tunes & audiobooks

It’s an integral part of the training cycle, but I know most runners look at it as an annoyance…  we all need rest.  Whether that is from a rest day or sleep each night, rest is REQUIRED of us to function.  But when my mind is fluttering around like a trapped bird, it is nigh unto impossible to get some rest.  Learning to relax will help me to drift off at night as well as be comfortable with taking some time to sit around reading my Kindle.
The fix: Journal my thoughts to get them out of my head, meditation, Bucky 40 Blinks eye mask to block out sensory disruptions

Nike Women Make Yourself MovementI am part of the Nike Women Make Yourself Movement. This is the second post on my blog in response to one of their topics. [Read the first one: How did I make myself… Healthy?]  This month’s topic (Look, I have my yellow “belt” badge!) was to share a secret/professional tip for health/fitness in the new year.  Is this a professional tip? No, but it is a personal tip from a gal who has battered herself to pieces and lived to tell the tale.  Is it a secret tip? It would seem like it the way our society is so overworked & overstressed lately, but it’s really not.  Is it for health/fitness?  Absolutely!

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Share your Health/Fitness Tips for the New Year in the comments!

* Yes, my husband and I are wearing Snuggies in that photo… Yes, that picture was staged, to show how we can do things like read and use a phone that you can’t do with a normal blanket! JadeTheBoxer really likes the Snuggies, she might need her own so we can look like a weird little cult family.