Does anyone know the secret to being able to live by the phrase, “all things in moderation”?
As I write this post tonight, I do it with that icky feeling in my stomach caused today by a combination of many things. For one I did not consume any actual meal to speak of. I spent the day in the bakery deal with a mass of issues causing me to run around like the world was ending and any food I saw had to be eaten. And oh, let’s not forget the out of whack hormones, ridiculous lack of sleep, unquenchable food cravings….. all translated into, bad.long.day.
If I hadn’t been so helplessly exhausted I would have cooked a healthy dinner tonight.
Something quick and easy like a lettuce wrap is always an awesome option for anyone that feels my pain after a day like this. You can get protein from your meat/beans/nuts, veggies from the obvious, and a little carbs from rice noodles. Wrap up one, two, or three in a head of iceberg and what you have is a cheap dinner that leaves you full and satiated.
… You give your veggies a hug in their wrap, and your body gets one too! (I couldn’t resist the imagery… sorry 🙂 )
This week I kept the wraps completely vegetarian.
Before you can actually wrap them up, you have to get the fixings together! (duh.)
1. This week I tried a vegetarian quinoa filling
Boil your quinoa. Right as it has almost fully absorbed the water, begin to sautee a nice combination of chopped sweet onion, red (yellow or green) bell pepper, and chopped nuts if you have them.
As the onions become translucent and you can smell the aroma of the peppers, season with salt, pepper, and then scoop in the quinoa.
To add more protein to the mix, throw in some boiled edamame beans, and finish the dish with just a small handful of minced raw beet. (not too much or your quinoa will become purple). Set this aside.
2. Pickled Cucumbers (carrots or onions).
If I had to pick my favorite things about lettuce wraps its the delicious pickled veggies that usually come along.
Slice up cucumbers into small rounds or matchsticks. Try thinly sliced carrot or red onion as well if you wish!
Leave them in a bath of brown rice vinegar, salt and sugar to taste for at least 30 minutes.
… my mouth is watering just thinking about how delicious these become!
3. Brown Rice Noodles
All they take is a quick boil. If you want to do them in advance, let them sit in a bowl with a bit of the water from the pot to keep them from sticking.
Any type of rice noodles work. I love the taste of brown rice ones though!
(I use Annie Chun’s brand – find them at Whole Foods)
4. Peanut Sauce
For some people it’s easier to buy peanut sauce but if you can make it, it’s worth it!
I used 1/2 cup peanut butter and thinned it out slowly by alternating with water and soy. You will also want to add some brown sugar and lemon juice to taste! (about a tablespoon of each).
5. Iceberg Lettuce
The only non-negotiable piece to the puzzle – remove any sloppy looking bits from the outside and then slice it through the middle so as to be able to pull apart the cups!
Wrap up and enjoy! SUCH a refreshing dinner option, and one that can be adapted endlessly. You could try to saute chicken in peanut sauce, or even grill and thinly slice an asian marinated beef. To keep it simple, this vegetarian version is light, colorful, and full of nutritious ingredients.
… I guess thinking about them is making me feel a little bit better?
Time to put this bad day to bed. In the morning I am starting baking prep for this adorable party on Monday… I’m really excited.
– and seriously, if anyone knows the secret of moderation – fill a girl in!!!!