I started my first WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday, sponsored by Jenn at Peas and Crayons) last week mentioning I wanted to avoid wheat for a week. I find it better if I do, and if I eat more raw foods in place of cooked foods, I feel an increase in energy, my alertness and overall well-being. I still enjoy having foods that are cooked and sometimes have turkey sandwiches for lunch or eggs for breakfast, but I feel a lot better if I start the day off with something raw (and delicious!)

I get a lot of helpful tips and raw meal ideas from Gabby at The Veggie Nook. She posted this awesome Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Green Smoothie recipe, and talk about delicious! All that creamy, cozy goodness with no added sugar and high in vitamins. I made a few modifications to suit my own tastes, and think it’ll be a new breakfast favorite:

Gabby@VeggieNook’s “Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie,” arguably the best green oatmeal ever!

This breakfast smoothie was so nice I ate it twice…but the second time around I made sure I had a big glass of water, it’s too thick to have on its own. I could only eat half of it so left the rest in the fridge for later.

A late lunch was a not-so-raw (but still nutritious) veggie-chicken soup with swiss chard, beans, pearl barley, red lentils, carrots, leek, and seasoned with a bit of Spike and a Ras en Hanout seasoning from a delicious Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe at REMCooks (thanks, Richard!):

Veggie soup is one of my favorites to make, you can throw all kinds of good stuff in it!

Since lunch was late, dinner was even later. I made one of my and my husband’s favorites, Chicken Tikka. To be honest, the only other time I’ve tried Chicken Tikka was at Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki on Oahu. They have tasty food, and I do love their fish curry, but this homemade version is better by a long shot:

(L-R): Chicken Tikka, Biriyani. Missing: lentils. :(

The recipe below is modified slightly from the cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal and serves 2. I must have read this book at least five or six times, cover to cover. Not only does it have delicious, easy-to-follow recipes and amazing photography, but a wonderful introduction to Ayurveda that gives you a good basis for understanding the importance of food as medicine, eating with the seasons, and learning more about overall well-being. (I am still learning about Ayurvedic cooking, so will probably read this book another five or six times!)

Chicken Tikka – serves 2
Allow a few hours to marinate; best if you can prep the night before. There will be more than enough marinade, and you could probably add another chicken breast or sop up all that extra sauce with some fresh baked naan. 

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
3/4 cups Greek style nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons of Chef Johnny’s Korma Powder (recipe in cookbook) or Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine yogurt through mint leaves, mixing thoroughly. Add in cut up chicken breasts, stir to coat well. Marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken with yogurt sauce  in a 8″x8″ square pan and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until top starts to brown. Serve with rice or naan.

Have a super Wednesday, everybody, and eat well!

Mini Turkey Bean Burgers - skip the buns and eat it salad-style. Sammy looks on wistfully.

Whenever we’d get together with friends for a barbecue or potluck, I’d usually bring one of my favorite easy-to-make dishes: turkey burgers. For those who may have had bad experiences in the past, I would like to reassure you that delicious turkey burgers do exist, and, with the right seasoning, anything is possible!

Basic Turkey Burger Mix

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup diced onions, sauteed with 1 or 2 garlic cloves (omit for Turkey Bean Burgers)
1 piece of bread, cut into small cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil or ghee
Add-in seasoning (below)

Directions: In a bowl, add sauteed onions, garlic, bread cubes, and salt, if using. Toss with fork to distribute evenly. Add the oil or ghee, toss with fork to mix well. Crumble raw turkey into bread & onion mixture and add in one of the seasoning options below. Mix gently until combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cooking.

Asian Style Turkey Burgers (most unique) – Omit salt from basic turkey recipe. Add 1 tablespoon nampla (fish sauce); 1″ piece ginger, peeled and grated; 1 stalk lemongrass, white part chopped finely (discard the green part or save to make tea); 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes . You can serve this with a cole slaw tossed with nampla, fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Indian Spice Turkey Burgers  – 1 tablespoon Indian seasoning mix such as Garam Masala or your own special blend. I like to use  “Chef Johnny’s Korma Powder” from the cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal. It’s a fragrant blend of cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, cardamom, poppy seeds, ginger and tumeric.

Italian Seasoning Turkey Burgers – 2 teaspoons basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Add 1/3 cup finely diced or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bean & Turkey Burgers (my favorite) – 1 cup cooked & drained beans (I use a black & pinto mix), 1/4 cup finely chopped celery, 1/4 cup finely chopped & sauteed onion, 1 teaspoon chili seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mash everything with a potato masher or mix in a food processor or blender just until beans are smashed and mixture is still chunky (if you over-blend, it’ll turn into a refried bean paste consistency. Still tasty, but the texture will be very different.)