Girl Talk and Tomato Oatmeal Soup

My best friend, Fatima, lives in Kuwait.

I never see her anymore… but we talk almost every single week.

This is a picture from a Christmas party several years ago. Fatima and I are on the far left. (Laura is on the right. She was our other accomplice in the dietetic group). Unfortunately, we’re not the best at making gingerbread houses with integrity.

Even though Fatima and I have not seen each other for more than a few days over the past 5 years, we remain incredibly close.

Our Plans for Reuniting.

I know I’ll see Fatima a few times in the next 50 years. We’ll both try to make it to each others wedding and we might make it half way across the world to visit maybe a handful of times – it depends on how rich our prospective husbands are…

That being said, we DO have plenty of plans for when we’re very old. Fatima and I have a deal that we’ll both outlive our future husbands by eating healthy and exercising so that we can move to a new country to live together as crazy old women.

Since I live in the United States and she lives in Kuwait, we thought the coast of Spain might be a nice compromise.We’ll probably grow plants out of the cracks of our beautiful Spanish house. We’ll have great dinner parties with our other friends. We’ll invite our sisters out for holidays. We’ll sneak goodies to all the kids. We’ll flirt with the old (and young) men and then wave goodbye. We’ll stay young while we’re old. Most of all, I’m sure it will be perfect because we’ll be together.

Since she is so wonderful, I thought I would give you some tips on how we can all learn from her…

Tips to Being as Awesome as Fatima…

1) Loving what You See and Don’t See in the Other Person

Fatima and I like each other for more than just our shared professions (although that helps). We see each other for what we ARE currently, and also what we CAN be potentially.

You know you’ve found someone special when they can see the best and worst in you- and continue to love you anyways. Instead of making each other feel bad for our weaknesses, we encourage and compensate for each other. If I’m having a bad day, Fatima allows me to have a small moment of feeling sorry for myself and then she gets tough with me, giving me a boost of confidence to go out and face it. I do the same for her.

2) Believe Love/Goodness can Overcome Evil

We’re not enablers and gossipers. We’re pushers and believers. I think we can do more in life because we encourage each other to do those hard things life demands of us.

3) Don’t be Easily Shaken

There is nothing Fatima could say or do that would make me love her less, and vice versa. We knows this; and that’s why we can tell each other anything – even the stuff we’re not proud of.

4) Practice Tough Love

She reminds of me, at my weakest (least impressive) points in time, that there is so much good left in me. I just need to start tapping into it.

I know she’s right. Sometimes, I just need her to yell at me a bit to get it started. It’s nice yelling though. The kind that comes out when someone’s frustrated because they believe you can be better. Not because they believe you are worthless.

Recipe: Tomato Oatmeal Soup

This recipe is one that I learned from Fatima several years ago. In the Middle East, it’s common to use oatmeal as a thickener in soup. You might think it’s going to be really strange, but give it a shot.

It might just surprise you.

Tomato Oatmeal Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce (I suggest Hunt’s because they do such a lovely job)
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 Cups of Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 Cups green cabbage, raw, large chop
  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (optional – Fatima does not eat pork, so she certainly didn’t tell me to put this into the recipe…)
  • 2/3 to 1 C dry Old-Fashioned Oats (more for thicker soup, less for thinner soup)

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Cook until slightly soft and then add the (uncooked) sweet Italian sausage broken into small pieces.
  2. Brown the meat. Once brown (but not necessarily cooked all the way through), add the chicken stock, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, add the oats. Cook for 3-5 additional minutes or until the soup begins to thicken.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage and simmer over very low heat for 3-5 minutes or until cabbage is slightly cooked. Serve hot.

Notes to the Diabetic: I would count this soup as 15grams of carbohydrate per cup. Feel free to have seconds, or thirds. No crackers necessary. One idea for a meal might be 2 C soup – 30 grams, 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich -15g, and salad with light vinegar and oil dressing – 0g.

Thanks for being so good to me, Fatima. You’re one of the best.

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