I always crave Middle Eastern food when I am home in Northern Wisconsin. Multicultural fusion vegetarian restaurants are rarely found in the state, let alone in Northern Wisconsin; which is better known for fish frys, gastropub and supper club food. Spread your favorite hummus on a low carb pita or tortilla, then add a layer of my quick instant pot turmeric and curry rice, garnish with the cool and refreshing Persian mini cuke and tomato salad, and top with a generous portion of garlic tzatziki sauce. This wrap will have your taste buds jumping for joy and satisfying any vegetarian foodie like myself. Make some homemade falafels or chickpea shawarma to replace the hummus, and you can have a hearty protein-nutrient rich healthy wrap that will fuel your day.Note: I use mini Persian cukes or English cucumbers instead of regular cucumbers due to the low water content and I do not need to deseed or peel them. I recommend not using regular cucumbers in this particular recipe.
3-4eachpersian mini cukesmay substitute English cuke
1/2cupred onionslice small
3/4 cup cherry tomatoeshalve
2 tbspapple cider vinegar
1 1/2tspgarlic powder
1/2 tspzatar seasoning
1 1/4 CupPlain Full Fat Greek YogurtI prefer Chobani yogurt
1/2lemonjuiced and seeds removed
1/2 persian mini cuke mince
3 leavesmintwashed, chevron and thinly slice
salt and pepper to taste
Turmeric and Curry Rice
1 cupjasmine or basmati ricerinse rice until water runs clear, drain
1 cupvegetable broth
1 tspgarlic powder
1tsp curry powder
1 containerRoasted Garlic or Red Pepper Hummusyour favorite store brand ( I use Sabra) or you can make your own
1pkgFlax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat WrapsJoseph's Middle East Bakery Brand or any low carb pita or tortilla wraps
1bunch cilantro (chopped)optional
Make Persian Cuke and Tomato Salad
Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice and spices in a small bowl until well blended. Add cut up cukes, red onion and cherry tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Sit aside in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight to self marinade.
Make Tzatziki Sauce
Mix all ingredients in a separate bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. You can strain your greek yogurt if it is watery. I prefer Chobani yogurt and do not strain it.
Combine all ingredients in instant pot and stir until well mixed. Cook in Instant Pot for 4 minutes on HIGH pressure with a 10 minute natural release.
Gently stir and fluff rice
Layer wrap or tortilla with 1-3 tbsp hummus, 1/4 cup cooked rice, 1-3 tbsp cuke/tomato salad, dollop of tzatziki sauce on top and sprinkle with cilantro (optional). Fold pita in half or fold tortilla like a burrito and Enjoy! I usually serve with a more tzatziki sauce on the side for dipping.
I like to make a non-vegetarian version of this wrap with Grilled Chicken Shawarma. You can find this separate recipe under Recipe/Main Dish called Chicken Shawarma Tacos.
The “February Funk” has set in for many of us and we now are longing for warmer, sunnier days and all the wonderful produce we are able to cultivate, gather and forage from our gardens, forests, and farmers market.
When I had a large family garden, I couldn’t wait for the seed catalogs to arrive during the winter months. I would snuggle under a warm blanket and stare out the frosted window, drawing out my rotation plan for the garden while waiting patiently for St. Patrick’s Day to start my seedlings indoors. In fact, a few weeks ago my daughter received her first of four seed catalogs she was waiting to receive for the new year and I could help but giggle as she squealed with excitement.
With the flu/pneumonia season in high swing and daily reports of the climbing number of people testing positive and dying from the dreaded coronavirus – COVID19 and influenza; eating healthy and keeping our immune system in tip-top shape is even more important than ever. That means we need to eat more COLOR everyday.
Obviously, it’s important to get your bum off the couch, sleep at least 6-8 hours a night and practicing good hand hygiene and drink lots and lots of water. YadaYadaYada… Right? Nothing we all don’t already know but how many of us really live it daily?
You don’t have to be a vegetarian/vegan or wait until the warmer weather returns to eat more colorfully. When I modified my daily intake of nutrition by eating low calorie and low carbohydrate foods for several months, I was eating tons of seasonal veggies. I had significant success with weight loss and my fasting blood sugars returned to normal. My psoriasis cleared up and I had more mental clarity and energy like never before.
But maintaining a very strict low calorie and low carb food diet became mundane and eventually unrealistic for any long length of time.
I realized that I felt energized with the vibrant fresh colors bouncing off my food. I no longer was eating “muddy brown” meals. The colorful food was feeding my body and my artistic soul.
Let’s take a look at two different breakfasts I ordered last summer while traveling for my job. Both meals had nutritional value and gave me plenty of morning energy. But which meal do you think is a bit healthier?
This is an example of what I call the “brown meal”. Mostly protein and carbs. It’s missing color, right? What could you add to make it more colorful? How about an avocado with a slice of tomato? Berries, citrus or melons?
This is an example of a “colorful meal”. Also, a breakfast with mostly carbs and protein but it has sweet potatoes, red peppers, green spinach and a vibrant yellow hollandaise sauce.
When choosing or planning your meals, think COLOR.
Do you like peanut butter toast? Who doesn’t, right? But it’s pretty “brown”. Why not add “colorful” fruit to the top instead of honey or jam/jelly.
How about avocado toast? Pretty healthy right? But what if you add some thinly sliced tomato slices, cucumber, RAW yellow zucchini or carrot. (Use a mandolin or a veggie peeler and beautiful veggie ribbons) Be creative!
Take it up a notch! Emeril Lagasse would say.
Do you like waffles, pancakes, oatmeal? Add a triad (a set of three) of colorful fruit or more.
I make a beautiful and delicious Rainbow Oatmeal. Vanilla essence and the fruit provide all the natural sweetener you’ll need.
I can hear many of you saying, “I don’t have the time”, “My kids hate veggies”, “Fresh veggies and fruits are expensive”, “I don’t have a green thumb” .
YOU ARE WORTH IT! Your health and family’s health is what makes my job as a nurse so damn important. Food can be healthy medicine for your body just by adding more color to your meals.
I’m not going to get all science geek here. But there are tons of information bombarding techno-land with Infomercials, Pinterest Pins, Google Search, YouTube, etc. about the importance of eating a rainbow of colors everyday. Micro-nutrients can heal the body from the inside out.
But how can you make simple changes that don’t eat up paychecks or make you buy lots of expensive pre-made meals or supplements that just leave you wanting to do this:
Below are 5 easy steps to get you and your family to eat more color. *
Go invest in a color wheel or print one off from online. Take it shopping with you and make it a game. How many colorful foods can you find?
Stick with fresh or frozen veggies/fruits. Canned foods are okay, but they do have less minerals and vitamins due to the high heat needed to safely process for a longer shelf life. Just read those labels and look for low sugar/low salt varieties preferably BPA free.
Do a 30-day challenge. Pick one meal, (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and plan a menu. Make what you would normally eat for that meal but the goal will be to add at least 3 colorful fruits or veggies. Example: Mac and Cheese (box dinner) but add no less than three colorful veggies to that meal.
Add a colorful fruit for dessert maybe with a little dab of Greek yogurt. For the kiddos, cut fruit out with cookie cutters or make “Ants on a Log” or Apple/Peanut Butter smiles. Make it fun!
Track your progress. Make a color chart. Hang where you can see it and check off each time you eat something of that particular color. Here you will notice patterns. Are you eating a lot of greener things but less orange? How about purple and blue foods? Greek olives or pickled veggies are a great way to get those unique colors into your diet.
*If you are taking medicine that requires special dietary restrictions, please consult with your primary care provider.
Feel free to like and share this 30-day challenge with others. Please subscribe and share your comments and pictures with me about your experience after adding more color to your meals.