Thursday, September 30, 2010

10 minute Indian meal?


I could NOT decide what to make today. And this was not a regular 5 minute indecision. It was like a whole day affair, including spending time on my laptop looking up recipes for all kinds of things during classes. NOT GOOD. Well, good for my future in cooking, I guess. Bad for my good student reputation!!

After going back and forth on which bean to even use (that was half of the indecisiveness), I decided to go with garbanzo beans. What a versatile legume. This was the other half of the problem. To roast, to skillet, to puree, to go Italian, Indian, Mediterranean...AHHHH!!! Too many choices!!! So I went the "easy" way out, considering I had already wasted too much time today.

I make shortcut Indian food. In other words, I throw together vegetables with a few Indian spices and call it Indian food. It tastes Indian and smells Indian, so there's really no problem! I also use hardly any oil, and almost never eat it with any rice (WHAT?!). Okay, guys. Calm down. There is a solution.

If anyone knows what sundal is, I got my inspiration for this recipe from that. But it turned out nothing like sundal, so I'm not really sure what to even call this.

The solution to the rice problem is quinoa. It is healthier than even brown rice, with less carbs and more protein. And yet, it's even fluffier than brown rice.

It's done in 10-15 minutes on the stove. So while that was cooking, I put in a pan about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and heated that up. Then, added some cumin seeds, some mustard seeds, 1 clove of garlic, and 1/4 cup of shredded coconut. Oh also, I am not a fan of cooked onions, so I never ever cook with onions. But if you were to want onions, this is where you would add it in.

Side note: I like to put shredded coconut in pretty much any Indian dish I make. I am obsessed. It's probably the half Kerala in me.

Then I added some arbitrary amount of frozen spinach. It was about 1/2 the bag? I really don't even know. I let that thaw for a bit, then added 1 cup of canned garbanzo beans.

To season, I added salt, turmeric, and dhania-jeera powder (aka powdered cumin and corriander seeds). By this time, the quinoa was ready!

Fluffy protein goodness!!

Then I mixed everything together. 

DONE! Indian food in 10. For realz.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beans...refreshing? Say it ain't so!!!

Oh, but it is.

You have no idea how excited I have been to make this dish. This blog is making me go even more cooking crazy than I was before. But I made way too much chili on Sunday, so I decided to wait a day. And now, I am eating this refreshing meal and listening to Anberlin (to prepare for the concert on Saturday...SO excited!!!). What could be better?

This recipe is for black bean and corn salad. Don't let the word "salad" fool you. This is just as hearty as any other meal!


  • 1 can black beans
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 small tomato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • pickled jalapeno (optional)


  • olive oil
  • lime juice
  • cumin seeds
  • salt/pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)
As for seasoning amounts, I just eyeball it. I like my dressings sour, so I add lots of lime juice and less olive oil. And I also need my food to be so spicy that I'm sweating by the time I'm finished, so I add copious amounts of hot sauce! Speaking of hot sauce, this is my favorite:

From Trader Joe's!

After mixing everything in, I let it sit for about 10 minutes in the fridge to allow the flavors to come together nicely. Def worth the wait, lemme tell ya!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beans, beans, beans...

It's the beginning of a new week...BEAN WEEK!!!

We all know how much I harp about increasing protein whenever possible. And how much I love fiber. Well beans fulfill both of these characteristics quite well. And of course, they taste good. What could be better?!

So we'll start the week off with an exceptionally easy recipe for chili. This is literally the best meal to make when you have a busy day and all you want to do is come home and eat something hearty. This happened to me today, but also because I hardly ate anything all day to punish myself for eating pizza at Zachary's last night for dinner, followed a burrito from Taco Shop at 3 in the morning.

...I never do these things. Just FYI. But a little splurging on greasy food isn't bad once in awhile. (Or so I like to tell myself).

The way I made this is with a crock pot. This appliance is magical. Seriously.

Crock pot.

I started off by defrosting my lovely Morningstar fake beef crumbles in a pan. I chopped 3 cloves of garlic and half a green bell pepper and added it into the pan. I also had half of a roma tomato that was going bad, so I chopped that and added it in as well. Note: no oil was used in the process. 

That was the hardest part of making the chili.

I opened 3 cans of pinto beans, and emptied them into the crock pot. Then, I added two cans of tomato sauce. One of which was regular, and the other Mexican style.

Then I added the crumbles/bell pepper/tomato/garlic mixture to the pot. To season, I just used black pepper, paprika, and a handful of cumin seeds. 

Turn the crock pot on low, and let it sit for 4 or more hours. I had it on for about 6. And then it was complete!

With 2% shredded cheese on top. 

Oh and if you were wondering, it is DELICIOUS!!! (I'm eating it as I type this). 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eggplant Week...incomplete without this Italian classic!


Okay, I'll admit, I've never made it before. But I've always wanted to, and eggplant week gave me a reason to try it!

It's been a productive Saturday morning. Woke up early to go to Zumba. I'm normally not a huge fan of Zumba because (this is coming from a kickboxing instructor and hence biased) it's not that fulfilling of a workout. But it is fun. Especially if you like to pump it and shake your hips. And also, boot camp kicked my butt yesterday, so I needed a break. Anyway, this particular Zumba class was a surprisingly good work out. I may have to make this a weekly Saturday morning ordeal.

On to the eggplant parmesan! I looked up several recipes for ideas and came up with my own rendition.

First I started by making the bread crumbs. Yup, you heard me, I made them, and it took all of 30 seconds. Just toast two pieces of bread slightly, let it cool, and stick it in the blender. Bread crumbs!

Then I made the coating for the eggplant. This is where different recipes varied, but since I'm a fan of increasing the protein whenever possible, I used an egg. So, one egg (beaten), plus one tablespoon of parmesan cheese, one crushed garlic clove, and salt, pepper, and oregano to season.

In the meantime, I peeled and sliced the eggplant. I used half an eggplant for this. (The other half I used on that Indian dish!) I then coated the eggplant slices first in the egg mixture, and then with bread crumbs. I put that in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, and then turned the pieces over to bake for another 5-10 minutes. (350 degrees)

Baking in action!!

While it baked, I prepared the sauce. I decided to use a regular jar of Trader Joe's tomato basil marinara sauce. To put my own spin on it, I added a TINY bit of olive oil in a pan, added the sauce, and some Morningstar fake beef crumbles.
Mmm...more protein!

I let it sit on low heat for 10 minutes.

After the eggplant was done browning, I added the sauce, and baked for ~25 minutes. 


Top it with some crushed red pepper and some more parmesan. Success!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

PB&J...or AB&D?

I've missed out on the good ol' peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my entire life. I am one of "those" who is allergic to peanuts. Everyone in elementary and middle school always brought PB&J for lunch, and instead, I had my sad little cheese and mayo sandwich.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading some health-related article that mentioned almond butter. I was intrigued, and promptly forgot about it. This weekend, I was at Trader Joe's (BEST STORE EVER) looking for walnuts in the wrong aisle and came across some jars of almond butter. I was intrigued yet again, so without a second thought, I picked it up. 

Best purchase ever.

As soon as I purchased it, I wondered how I was going to use it. I don't really buy jelly (seeing as I have no use for it as explained above). The first thing I did was slather it on some grapes. That was a bit awkward, and I would not recommend it.

Then, as I was falling asleep one night, I came up with a GENIUS idea. Almond butter and date syrup sandwich. YES. Date syrup is delicious, healthy, 100% natural, and a great substitute for sugar, maple syrup, and pretty much anything that contains artificial sugars. 

Almond butter and date syrup on Orowheat Sandwich Thins. (Highly recommend- fewer carbs, and you can actually taste the inside of your sandwich instead of a mouthful of bread!)

DELICIOUS. I'm even debating switching from the veggie burger (pfft, that is sooo last week!) to the AB&D sandwich for lunch. It is that good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Okay, I realize, two posts in one day is excessive. But I HAD to share my latest creation. And also because... it's EGGPLANT WEEK!!!

I usually hate using pre-made sauces, because it's so much more satisfying to make your own. And you can control what you put in it. But today I had to make an exception. I made the mistake of enduring two consecutive hours of fitness classes: one hour of Muscle Pump and one hour of Turbokick. Okay, Muscle Pump is insane. All I have to say is that my upper arm flab better disappear ASAP after that class.

Needless to say, all I wanted to do was eat quickly when I got home. Luckily, I had already cut the veggies beforehand (a good tip my roomie taught me!). So to make it even quicker, I decided to use this handy little Indian sauce packet. (Available at Sprouts or Sunflower Market).

I sauteed some eggplant, green bell peppers, and garlic in a little bit of oil. (Good tip: if you're putting in oil beforehand, make sure it's NOT olive oil, because it burns quickly! If you do want to use olive oil, add the veggies first, and then the olive oil). I also added Seitan, or wheat gluten. It's a really good source of protein for vegetarians who want to stray away from eating too much soy. It looks a lot like the Morningstar chicken strips and kind of tastes like it too.

Then I added the sauce, let it simmer for a bit, and done!!!

I ate with it brown rice couscous (highly recommend!), nonfat greek yogurt, and a side of lemon pickle. What? I have to make the Indian meal complete!


I cannot believe this...

I decided to start a blog. Yes, my life is just that interesting. No, it will not include my daily highlights (although there definitely would be no shortage of a following there!)

Before I begin, I'm going to have to give a shout out to mah boy Akshay (HOLLA!) for inspiring me to start this (via his own food blog). And I guess I'll also give him credit for introducing me to the ways of healthy eating. (Yep, you can blame him for my neurotic ways when it comes to food!)

I am obsessed with food. And I am obsessed with working out. Basically, I am obsessed with being healthy. But that doesn't mean that you have to skimp out on great tasting foods. Seriously.

I go insane over veggies. No joke. There are so many varieties and so many ways to make them, I don't even know where to begin! So every week, I'm going to feature a different vegetable and give you avid readers a taste (or look) of how I prepare it.

Just to give you a glimpse of what you'll be seeing...

ENCHILADAS EXTREMO! Made with whole wheat tortillas; cut leaf spinach, corn, black beans, and 2% Mexican blend shredded cheese inside; topped with extra enchilada sauce, more cheese, and jalapenos.