Lake House Birthday and Lamb Chops

Last weekend was my 26th birthday. I'm over a quarter of a century old. Let's all stop and soak that in for a little bit. 

Although I'm officially on the "other side" of my 20's, I'm having a blast regardless. I celebrated the weekend at my parents' lake house sans my twin. Oh, did I tell you I was a twin? Yep. I have a twin sister who is 13 minutes younger than me.

This year, however, was the first time in our lives we've celebrated a birthday separately. She headed down to the coast with her long-term boyfriend to celebrate just the two of them.

I'm not gonna lie, it was a tad strange celebrating without her, but I finally got to experience a birthday like a normal kid- it was my day!

We spent the weekend boating, tanning, and eating. Pretty much the perfect day. 

Luna and her life jacket. Doesn't she look so cute... and safe?!

Luna and her life jacket. Doesn't she look so cute... and safe?!

J and I having a blast tubing!

J and I having a blast tubing!

This past Monday I made a protein I don't typically cook, but love to eat, especially when I find it on nice restaurant menus. 

I picked up some relatively lean Lamb Rib Chops from H.E.B. and made Moroccan Lamb Chops with Couscous. You may have noticed I'm on a slow cooker fix right now because this is about the 4th slow cooker meal I've made in a little over a week. Call me "Slow Cooker Sam" from now on because I think I just found my cooking niche. 

Moroccan Lamb Chops with Couscous

Moroccan Lamb Rib Chops with Couscous.

Moroccan Lamb Rib Chops with Couscous.

Ingredients for Lamb Chops:

  • 4 lamb rib chops. The original recipe, found in

calls for 3 lb lamb shoulder chops, trimmed of most fat, however I didn't find any at the store that week.

  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • 7 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

Steps:

  1. Season the lamb with cumin, salt, and pepper. In a large frying pan, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb once the oil is hot and sear on both sides until golden brown. If you're using the rib chops, this will only be about 3 to 4 minutes. If you're using the lamb shoulder chops, it should be between 8 and 10 minutes. 
  2. Transfer the lamb to a plate once done. 
  3. Pour most off the fat from the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 
  4. Pour in wine to dislodge brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup of chicken stock. 
  5. Transfer contents of the pan to the slow cooker. Add the carrots and place the lamb on top. 
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. 

Ingredients for Couscous:

  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking couscous
  • 1 2/3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup diced dried apricots
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup slice almonds
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint

Steps:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups of chicken stock to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove from heat. 
  2. Put the couscous and apricots in a large bowl and stir in hot stock. Cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. The liquid should be absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, pepper, half of the almonds and half of the mint. 
  4. Toss to mix well. 

J and I loved the lamb and couscous! The meat was so tender and moist, and the couscous was a nice change from our normal orzo-spaghetti- rice rotation.