It is funny how things work out. I had this post and recipe all ready to go and then stumbled on this article in the New York Times that says”About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.”
I have read similar studies about the Mediterranean diet but this seems to be an even larger study. I knew my 85 year old Grandma was still golfing, playing bridge and volunteering on a daily basis for a reason and it isn’t just good genes. There is something about that Mediterranean food.
Now I wanted to give you a quick glance into one of my weekday mornings (and I am sure this is true for others too). Wake up. Dress kids. Shower. Get dressed. Feed the family breakfast. Sip coffee. Make lunches. Get everyone out of the door on time. Get to work on time yourself. Oh, and throw in a toddler melt down somewhere in there (terrible twos are fast approaching).
A lot of my weekday mornings start this way. Last August when my family went from two to three, getting out the door became a
little bit lot harder. Organization and planning are two things that keep me sane. Meal planning for the week has become a must for me, my saving grace. Slowly but surely I am figuring out what works (like having two slow cookers cooking on a Sunday). The Friday before a new week I sit down and think about what food I want to cook and what I can make in big batches to use for leftovers throughout the week (or freeze).
This usually includes cooking up a big pot of chicken noodle soup or chili for the week, maybe making slow cooker pulled pork to use for sandwiches, throwing together a couple of pasta salads (like Mexican Pasta Salad or Greek Pasta Salad). Having healthy options in my house at a moment’s notice is important to me.
If you have been following along with A Cedar Spoon since it began in August you might have noticed that I love salads and soups. During the week I try to pack salads as much as I can. Salads are not only healthy (especially with homemade dressing) but there are endless ways to spice them up and try new things. Middle Eastern inspired salads are among my favorites. Tabbouleh, Fattoush & Pita Bread Salad rank among the best of them for me.
Along those lines comes this Chopped Middle Eastern Salad which is inspired by parts of each of these salads with the addition of chickpeas for added protein (I am a big fan of adding chickpeas into salads). I make this salad on a Sunday night to have with a meal (maybe chicken, hummus and pita) and then eat the leftovers for a couple of lunches at work. Portion it out the night before and you are ready to go!
- 1 cucumber, chopped (I leave the skin on and use an English cucumber but whatever kind works)
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 3 roma tomatoes)
- 3 radishes, sliced thin
- ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup of scallions, sliced thin
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sumac or Za’atar sprinkled on at the end (optional)
- Combine all chopped vegetables in a large serving bowl. Add the drained chickpeas and mix together.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice and whisk.
- Pour the olive oil and lemon mixture over the salad and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the serving bowl in the refrigerator for an hour to let the salad marinade.
- Optional: sprinkle a little bit of sumar or za’atar on the salad before serving.
- Serve with pita bread or pita chips.
Have a great day & if you like in the Midwest stay safe and warm (there is a bad snow storm approaching)!