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Meet Karolina A.

Two culinary styles collide deliciously when spicy chorizo turkey meets spinach and seasoned rice. Get your flavor passport ready.

Cooking was a family affair in Karolina’s Chicago home. The 25-year-old cyber security specialist’s mother is Polish, her father Latin, and they shared their love of cooking with Karolina.

“Most meals had elements of both cultures,” says Karolina, who works at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “That’s definitely where I picked up my love of experimenting with different foods and flavors. Even my mistakes usually taste good!”

In fact, Karolina admits to harboring a secret desire to become a chef. “It’s one of the reasons I entered the Make It Mindful Taco contest,” she says. “When I was younger I wanted to be a chef—I guess I still do. It was fun to see if the judges thought my ingredient choices would go together.”

Mission accomplished. Browsing the different ingredients, she started looking for options that reminded her of all the flavors she enjoyed growing up. “I thought, why not make a Polish taco,” she says. Chorizo turkey blend sautéed with onions stand in for Polish sausage—with way less fat and calories.

The whole grain Aztec rice blend gives her taco its satisfying flavor, and an added protein boost. “I want a healthy taco, but I also want it to be filling so you’re not hungry right away,” she says.

“I’m becoming more health conscious, paying attention to how much fat, salt and sugar are in my meals,” adds Karolina, who spends her downtime reading classic fiction, playing adventure video games and teaching herself how to play the accordion.

“Mindful meals are always a nice surprise—there’s always something new to try and they’re always combining and preparing ingredients in ways you’d never think of, but that totally work,” she says. “I’d like to think my taco is the same kind of pleasant surprise.”

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