Creamy Cucumber Spread and Artichoke Relish on Toasted Pita by Carol from Alabama

The best of summer brings visions of children playing in sprinklers, sun-kissed cheeks and relaxation. Whether it’s a perfect summer day or sticky hot, Carol, a DaVita dietitian from Alabama, offers two light and delicious snacks that are cool and simple to make. Carol’s Creamy Cucumber Spread is ideal for tasty sandwiches or on crackers, while her zesty Artichoke Relish on Toasted Pita will satisfy your desire for a savory crunch.

Both of Carol’s cool recipes feature vegetables with impressive histories. The artichoke is a good source of vitamins and fiber and has a nutty, rich flavor.

Historians believe the artichoke was cultivated by North African Moors beginning 800 A.D. The scientific name for the artichoke is Cynara Scolymus, which refers to Greek mythology. Zeus spotted Cynara, a beautiful young mortal and made her into a goddess. Homesick, Cynara snuck back to the mortal world to visit her family and Zeus punished her by turning her into the flowering artichoke plant.  

The cucumber is actually a fruit believed to have been harvested for over 3,000 years, and is known for its relaxing qualities. The first documented use of the phrase “cool as a cucumber” was in a poem by English poet and playwright John Gay in 1732. Cucumbers are believed to be good for the skin. Before you make Carol’s Creamy Cucumber Spread, cut two cucumber slices for yourself. While the spread is cooling, lie down, and place one over each closed eye to reduce puffiness and dark circles. You and the Creamy Cucumber Spread can chill out together. 

Carol’s history is as interesting as her recipe choices. After growing up and receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she found her path in nutrition. “I became a dietitian because I was interested in the health care field and in healthy eating. A fellow dietitian introduced me to the renal field in 1996 and I have loved it ever since.” Becoming a renal dietitian has allowed Carol to follow her passion while profoundly helping people.

Listening to her patients’ stories isn’t just interesting but it helps strengthen Carol’s relationship with each person and deepens her understanding of their struggles. “The most rewarding part of my job is the one on one interaction with my patients. I make time to get to know them and learn about their lives outside dialysis so I can understand the challenges they face and how I can help.”

Carol finds that her job isn’t just about helping others, but being helped. “The thing I enjoy most about working with my patients is learning from their life experiences.” It’s educational for everyone. 

While Carol is the glue in the dietary process, every patient must be actively involved to experience positive results. “The most important things a patient can do to improve their health are to participate in their care and understand the lab values. My greatest challenge is helping patients realize how important all aspects of their care are for optimal health.”

Every patient responds differently, but Carol has found a winning combination of factual information and tender loving care that makes all the difference. “My approach is direct and simplistic. I make the difference by being compassionate, supportive, sharing myself with the patients and educating from a personal caring aspect.”  

Enjoy the warm weather with the historically rich flavors of the artichoke and cucumber. Carol’s Creamy Cucumber Spread and Artichoke Relish with Toasted Pita are scrumptious, easy to make recipes ideal for summertime or really anytime.

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