Mexican Chickpea Lettuce Wraps

…what? Recipes like the one you are about to endure are what I like to categorize as “fridge fusion.” This cooking style is strictly reserved for nights when I am completely lazy, frugal and overdue for a trip to the grocery store – tonight being one such night.

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I realized that my only immediate food options were carbs: leftover pizza or pasta. To throw myself an extra curveball, I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet since last Tuesday (part of my 101 in 1001 list). As my buyer’s remorse set before even placing a Seamless order, I remembered a lonely can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I quickly shut my laptop and scurried the difficult five steps from my couch to my kitchen (oh, New York apartments), whipped out a pan and searched the vegetable drawer for anything still edible. I found some romaine lettuce, half a red onion and one-quarter of a yellow squash. Perfecto!

I had pre-determined that if I were to cook tonight, it would only be to provide a vehicle for my homemade Mexican seasoning. I’m obsessed – see recipe at bottom of post – so the puzzle pieces had to find a way to fit together.

Start by heating some olive oil in a medium pan and add the yellow squash (quartered) and red onion (diced).

P1010908Give them about five minutes to warm up and then add the chickpeas, and mix in one table spoon of the homemade Mexican seasoning.

P1010910Cook until heated through (maybe five more minutes? I’m sorry I didn’t keep track!), and you’re done.

P1010912I spooned these onto some romaine leaves, but would have preferred iceberg because it’s easier to wrap. I also added a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

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And then I got sick of dropping chickpeas on the ground, and shamelessly threw it all into a bowl…and added more greek yogurt…oh yea, and a spritz of lime juice.

P1010918If this recipe had been pre-meditated, there definitely would have been some cilantro and diced tomato.

Here is the Mexican seasoning recipe that carnivore me would use with a pound of meat:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

I like to double (or triple or quadruple) this, and store it in my pantry so that I don’t have to mix it as often.

Foodie Friday: My New Year’s Grocery List

So it’s that time of year again – time to start fresh with a clean slate, and new goals and ambitions for the next 12 months. I didn’t think that I had a New Year’s resolution for 2013, but today I started to remember a few healthy foods I wanted to try, and it quickly turned into a “New Year’s Grocery List,” of sorts.

I’ve decided that my resolution is the same one I land on every year: to incorporate more healthy eating and living habits into my daily life. I don’t like the idea of crash diets or putting my workout schedule into overdrive for one month – those things just don’t work for me (and I don’t think they work long-term for anyone,actually). I’m beginning my healthy habits with a shopping list of a few items I’d like to try, and possibly keep stocked, in my kitchen this year.

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Here are a few items that make the cut:

Hemp seeds – Just two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 400 milligrams of gamma-linoleic acid, an anti-inflammatory, two grams of Omega-3 fats and nine essential amino acids. You can put hemp seeds on just about everything, but I’m especially excited to mix them into some post-workout smoothies to help maximize muscle recovery.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes – Nutritional yeast flakes are a complete protein, containing 18 amino acids and 15 minerals, and they are rich in vitamin B. Nutritional yeast can be used as a condiment, and the flavor is described as nutty and cheesy. I’ve also seen them used as a cheese substitute in plenty of vegan recipes around the blogosphere. While I’m not even close to being vegan, I’d like to try my hand at vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, just for kicks.

Jicama – Jicama, also referred to as a “Mexican yam” or “Mexican turnip,” is a scary looking root vegetable. But again, this guy pops up in recipes for all of my favorite blogs, so I’d like to face my fears and give it a whirl. Jicama is low in calories, but high in fiber and anti-oxidants.

In addition to the above items which I have not tried, I’d also like to incorporate more of the healthy foods I love into my daily diet. I need to get back on my kale kick, and I’d like to try to replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes when possible. I want to get back to juicing at least a few times per week, especially juicing beets.

Do you have any food goals for 2013? I know that sounds like an odd question, hopefully some of you can relate!

The Improvised Flat Bread

Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a girls’ night in – something I view as the ultimate cure for any excess of emotion (anger, stress, frustration, sadness, etc.).

Tuesday, after four hours of sleep and a grueling 10-hour day in the office, I was on my last thread. While I normally would have gone home and slept it off, I felt I needed to do something to replace the guilt I felt for being too tired to hit the gym.

Cue a quick trip to Whole Foods, Alycia and a bottle of wine. By 10 p.m. I was cured. Conversation, vino and our improvised flat bread wound up being just what the doctor ordered.

Whole Wheat Flatbread with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I walked into Whole Foods with visions of a gorgeous fig, arugula and goat cheese flat bread in my head. Apparently, and to my dismay, figs are out of season. I grabbed the first suitable substitute I could find – a package of sun-dried tomatoes, and made my way to our foodie date. Here is the final result:

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Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (we used whole wheat dough from Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan flakes
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and prep the pizza dough according to directions on the packaging. We rolled our dough out into a nice rectangle large enough for roughly eight square slices.

Toss the arugula in the apple cider vinegar, and place aside for later.

Bake the dough for 5 minutes, then remove. Lightly coat the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the garlic evenly.

Layer the cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula on top. I know some like to hold the arugula until the flat bread is done baking, but we decided to try throwing it all in the oven.

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Next, return the flat bread to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Remove from the oven, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

This post is cross-posted from the blog Feel Good Foodies, a collaborative exploration between myself and my friend Alycia Ercums, documenting our love of fine food and our desire to balance a healthy lifestyle.