Thursday, December 29, 2011

Energizer TFG.

Can I first just say that I now have a bedtime of 9:30pm because working out after working all day takes all the energy out of me?

I wish I were exaggerating.

But really, I usually have the blessing of being too energetic for my own liking. (And for anyone else's liking, for that matter). So I shouldn't complain about this recent turn of events.

Also, the best part about working out and coming home starving is that no matter what is in the fridge, it will be eaten. This is why the one meal I make every Sunday that lasts me until Friday works well.

Even my not-so-glamorous looking soup that I threw together in five minutes this past weekend!

But it tastes pretty glamorous, if you ask me. Hence the glamorous name.

Coconut Harvest Soup

  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked grains of choice*
  • 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen chopped greens (spinach, collards, kale, etc)
  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 medium potatoes (sweet potatoes preferred!)
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • salt/pepper

*I used this grain blend, but any combination of grains/beans would work well:

Start by cooking the grains/beans in a large pot. While this cooks, microwave the sweet potatoes, then chop them. Peeling is optional. Peel = fiber.

Then combine all ingredients in the pot with the grains. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

It may be necessary to add more coconut milk and/or broth and/or water depending on desired consistency. The next day, I found that the consistency was a lot thicker than it was the previous day. So it might be beneficial to save some broth to add just before consuming!

Wintery goodness. And quite a substantial post-weight lifting meal!

Is anyone else dreading going to the gym after January 1st? And along those lines, any new years resolutions? I'm going to be cliche and aim to reduce my sugar intake. 6 pack, here I come! (For real this time).

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26th:

a.k.a. The Day Not to Fly.

I flew across two states. And the entire process took 9 hours. Is it me, or does something not add up?

Anyway. I landed and I was hungry. Obviously. And I felt like such a college student because I had an (almost) empty fridge and wanted to eat something substantial with zero effort.


MAGGI NOODLES. The Indian equivalent of Ramen.

I know exactly what you're thinking right now. TFG eats RAMEN?! No. TFG eats Maggi, though.

Tulika-fied of course.

Along with Maggi noodles in my pantry, I had some eggs in the fridge and bags and bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer.

I boiled water and cooked the noodles in one small pot, and in a skillet, I scrambled two eggs. When the noodles were almost done cooking, I added to them a generous amount of frozen spinach.

When the eggs were cooked, I added those to the noodles along with the spice packet.

And... that's it.

I must give my sister credit for this idea, because she found a recipe for a Ramen noodle omelette and told me about it yesterday. I would have tried it, but my omelettes usually end up like scrambled eggs anyway...

In other news, I made a TJ's trip this weekend.

The powerberries are really quite good. I have yet to try the fig and pumpkin butter, but I have a feeling they will be on regular rotation for my sandwiches! As for the bag of grains, I've already made something with them that you will see soon! And by soon, I mean actually soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Tis the season... overindulge in sweets.

I will openly admit to doing so. Only because it's a huge problem.

Good thing January 1st is right around the corner, and you know what that means. New year's resolution time! And less sugar to be eaten.

Despite the ridiculous sugar consumption as of late, I've been making up for it by making my other meals extra healthy! And these days (like all days, really) I don't spend a ton of time cooking. Or any time. It works out well.

For lunch this week, I've been making the best sandwich ever. (Please excuse the cell phone picture).

Homemade jalapeno hummus, swiss cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and olives between two slices of rye. Does not get easier than that. Unless you buy the hummus..

And for my mid-afternoon snack, I've found a new go-to:

Greek yogurt! I've been experimenting with new flavors lately, and I recently discovered chocolate Greek yogurt. Goodbye, boring old strawberry. The chocolate kind reminds me of pudding! I also add grape nuts to my yogurt to make it more filling...and to add some texture. I don't think it's possible to find something crunchier than grape nuts.

As for other meals, I've rediscovered the beauty of frozen vegetables.

Throw them in a pot with spices of choice and in less than 5 minutes, it's time to feast. And if you're like me and are a fan of multitasking, you can cook your grains at the same time!

Canned and/or dried beans are the best. For the above, I threw together whatever I felt like in a large pot. The "whatever I felt like" ended up being black beans, diced tomatoes (Tex-Mex style!), frozen collard greens, frozen corn, cumin seeds, salt, pepper. At the same time, I prepared some brown rice. At them together with some salsa. Win.

Lastly, you don't even need a ton of ingredients to have a healthy dinner.

I don't know why I don't make baked sweet potatoes more often. And by baked, I mean microwaved. And of course, topped with a little butter. Delish.

So back to that topic of sugar...

TFG recommends: Natural sugar substitutes

Monday, December 12, 2011

The grand entrance.

I'm making my grand entrance back into the blogging world. Let me re-introduce myself.

Hello there! Remember me? Good ol' TFG? 

I disappeared for a little while. In case you are curious to know what I've been up to, here is a brief summary in list form:

  • I spontaneously joined a gym. Best decision ever.
  • I baked cookies. And ate them.
  • I started juicing kale. Best decision ever #2.
  • I went on the most scenic 3.5 mile run of my whole life.
  • I started eating farina for breakfast. Fancy.
  • I had my sunflower seed butter taken away. But don't worry, I gained another.
  • I taught Turbo Kick without music. It was ...interesting. I wouldn't repeat that.
  • I got buff.

(Which of these is not like the others?)

I have a recipe for you today! I've been cooking every weekend, but I haven't been making anything worthy of putting on the blog. However, yesterday I was determined to make something somewhat fancy. And healthy. And easy. 

Which fits all three categories? Only my most favorite go-to dish ever. CHILI! 

I know. I made chili like, really recently. But I promise this chili is completely different from that chili. I promise.

Sweet Potato Chili

  • 2 cups uncooked pinto beans*
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes (or ~3-4 fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 or 1 chopped jalapeno (depending on preferred spiciness)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt/pepper

*To cook, combine 2 cups beans + 9 cups water and simmer for about 45 min or until soft. 2 cups uncooked beans makes 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Once the beans have cooked, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin seeds to the pot.

Cook the sweet potatoes. The easiest way to do so is by piercing holes in them and microwaving them. I microwaved 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes together for 10 minutes. Chop them (and peel if desired) and add to the pot.

Season with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.

And garnish with cheese (melted, of course) and salsa. Dinner of champs! Try this next time you want to spice up your usual chili recipe. 

Any holiday health goals? This time of year, it's so hard to stay on top of making healthy choices. My goal is to control my dessert consumption. Anyone with me?!

Monday, November 28, 2011

So Yesterday.

So...I have some updates from a really long time ago.

Like, a cranberry sauce recipe. I know, Thanksgiving was so 4 days ago. Hopefully you aren't sick of cranberries and decide to make it because it's a good recipe (if I say so myself). And it's free of added sugar!

I also had too much fun with the cranberry sauce photoshoot. Recipe is here.

Next, I had to share with you the mango pie my mom made for Thanksgiving. Mango pie. Enough said.

Mango pulp + evaporated milk + eggs. I'm not sure the exact ratios, but if you are interested, I could probably obtain them. She used a pre-made graham cracker crust. Mango and graham cracker make a surprisingly delicious combination.

(Not-so-fun fact for all the vegetarians: regular pie crust is made with lard. I had no idea).

Also, a few weeks ago, I made the easiest meal to take to work. I attempted to make a soup, but it turned out to be...something that was not a soup. 

I cooked 1.5 cups of green lentils in 4 cups of vegetable broth with some chopped green onions and garlic. After cooking for about 15 minutes, I added 2 cooked + chopped sweet potatoes and some frozen corn. For seasonings, I just used oregano and pepper. And a pinch of smoked paprika! It cooked for 30-40 minutes total (after soaking the lentils for a few hours).

I ate it atop some brown/wild rice. So hearty!

Lastly, this weekend, I went to a vegan coffee/pastry/frozen yogurt place. It was quite revolutionary! There was an entire menu of vegan blizzards. I of course got the s'mores kind. Of course.

Vegan "fro yo" is really light. The cup was HUGE and yet I didn't feel as heavy as I do after consuming that much regular frozen yogurt. Highly recommend. (And it was delicious. But that was a given).

Happy Monday y'all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


My metabolism is so confused this week.

I know this really shouldn't be something to complain about, but no matter how much I eat, I don't seem to get satiated. It's becoming a little ridiculous. And I'm running out of snack ideas. Somewhat. (Ideas, anyone?)

I mentioned in my last post that this week's workout schedule was going to be intense.

It was seriously insane. Every day, a different body part has been sore. Today, it's my lower half. I did a spin class yesterday, which I haven't done in...over a year. I actually really enjoyed the class I did yesterday. The reason I usually don't prefer spin classes is because I tend to peddle to the beat of the music, and when an instructor plays slow music but expects the class to be peddling at 120rpm, I just can't. Yesterday, the music went exactly with the pace of the class, which made it a lot more enjoyable, too!

Earlier this week included 4 ab workouts within a 24 hour span. Plus two kickboxing classes and Body Pump.

So now that we all know that I have the motivation for 14 people, let's talk food.

I made two huge meals last weekend, which took 1.5 hours total and I had lunch and dinner ready for every day this week! I was going to post one of these recipes, but decided I was not happy with the pictures (which you will likely see in the next post, but details). So today, I shall catch you up on some foodie items/eating out adventures I have had.

Let us begin!

Tacos are really prevalent here, especially breakfast tacos, which I had never had before. Until this! Above: one fried avocado taco and one egg/cheese taco with avocado. I love avocado. And now I love breakfast tacos.

Coconut milk greek yogurt. I've been wanting to try this for awhile, and this was just as creamy and delicious as I expected it to be. And it's not that coconutty! But I definitely wouldn't make this a's a little pricey.

This was a BBQ tofu dish from an all-vegetarian restaurant. It sounded really cool on the menu so I ordered it...but I was a bit disappointed. It was basically a block of tofu in tomato paste. I think it would have been more interesting had it had a bit more of the BBQ flavor and maybe something more than just the tofu. I'm determined to re-create this in Tulika-fied form. The mashed potatoes were good, though!

I got this egg/goat cheese/potato pizza for brunch. Sounds fancy, right? And looks even fancier! And it was. The only issue I had was that there was no sauce...which was a little strange. But I think this would have been perfect with pesto!

Vegan jerky. How cool is that?! Quick+filling snack, sign me up! I read about this several weeks ago and decided I was on a mission to try them. The only place that carries these is Whole Foods (of course). I tried three different flavors, each made with a different ingredient. I was a fan of all of them.

Before I tell you what the above picture is, let me first tell you that the key to a healthy lifestyle is moderation. And as you can see, I definitely don't mind "splurging" on unhealthy foods when I eat out. Only because I don't eat out all that often! Plus it makes life more exciting.

Now that I've provided you with that disclaimer...the above was an absolutely delicious (and ridiculous) item I got for another brunch. French toast creme brulee croissants. They were as decadent as they sound. And so worth it.

TFG recommends: In a fitness rut? This might help!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Darkness and stuff.

I don't know about y'all, but my sleep got completely disrupted this weekend.

The only explanation is: FULL MOON. At least, I like to attribute my lack of sleep to that.

Oh and please refrain from any judgement of my usage of the word "ya'll." I was just testing it out.

So, now that daylight savings has occurred, it gets dark shortly after 5pm. This is relevant because the pictures I take of my food are all taken when it's dark outside now. And hence the picture quality.

Now that that is out of the way, I'd like to announce that I ran two miles in my new vibrams yesterday, and it was quite a success, meaning that my knees did not experience any kind of pain! My feet, however, experienced some blistering action. Not pleasant.

This week, I'm going to be a workout machine, so I decided to plan my meals accordingly. I cooked up a storm today, and it only took 1.5 hours! Lunch + dinner for the entire week = complete. It's so worth it to plan meals and take the time on Sunday and not have to worry about meals for the next 5 days. This past week, this is what I ate:

(Don't say I didn't warn you about the lighting situation).

This meal took so little time to cook last weekend. This is what the kitchen looked like:

I made one pot of a wild rice/brown rice blend, and some "grilled" eggplant in a skillet. The eggplant wasn't anything fancy; all I did was drizzle the eggplant slices with some olive oil and salt, and then added 1/2 can of diced tomatoes and some garlic powder.

And then I ate them together. With some of my fancy goat gouda!

I think I am a huge fan of wild rice. It's quite substantial and has a really interesting texture.

See you from the other side of my intense workout week!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Turning orange.

I know it's beginning to feel like winter in most places. But here, it's not. I'm kind of loving the fact that it's still 80 degrees outside.

The point is, it's still pumpkin season. And I bet you've run out of ways to use your pumpkins.

But fear not, my friends. This isn't another pumpkin oatmeal recipe. This is...creamy deliciousness. For lack of a better description.

And I might be turning orange soon.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup skim milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4-5 sage leaves, chopped
  • salt/pepper
  • optional toppings: crushed red pepper, shredded cheese

Start by lightly sauteing the finely chopped garlic and sage leaves in the olive oil for a minute or so.

Then add the milk, pumpkin puree, and ricotta cheese.

Give it a little stir and let it heat up (medium-low heat). Then stir again until it has the consistency of a thick sauce.

Then add the salt and pepper. Since pumpkin doesn't have a very strong flavor, it's best to add more salt than usual for this sauce. Also, depending on the desired consistency, you may add more milk or water to thin the sauce out a bit.

Pour over pasta of choice. I used my quinoa pasta!

I also topped this with some goat gouda I bought last weekend. That put this dish WAY over the top. I was a fan.

I think it's time I start experimenting with other winter gourds. (Don't worry, I won't be roasting various squashes and posting them every day like I did last winter. Even though it was fun).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Indian Food Thursday.

Let's talk about how I taught Turbo Kick today for the first time in approximately 6 months. It went well, for the most part. The only thing is...I tend to scream a LOT when I teach kickboxing. Motivational screaming, of course (mostly motivational cueing, but same thing). And I also tend to play the music really loudly.

Motivational screaming/cueing + loud music + no microphone = Tulika is going to lose her voice very soon.

I already feel a little scratchiness in my throat. Something needs to change. Although I'm sure you already know how much I like when my voice gets raspy. Strange. I know.

On a completely unrelated note, I made Tulika-fied Indian food last week. Two Sundays ago, to be exact. This meal is perfect for anyone who doesn't understand how to use Indian spices. This involves two types of spices, for both items. That's it!

Chana Masala

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 small tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ~1/2 cup water (or more if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin-corriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt/pepper
  • optional: green chilies

Heat the vegetable oil with the garlic and chopped tomatoes over medium. If using green chilies, add these in as well.

Stir often, until the tomatoes have released a good amount of water. Then add the garbanzo beans.

Add the tomato paste, water, cumin-corriander powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for several minutes and then serve.

So easy, right?! The next recipe is even easier.

Okra Curry

  • 2-3 cups chopped okra
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin-corriander powder
  • salt

This recipe works best in a non-stick or iron skillet! Heat up the okra with the oil on the skillet (medium heat) with a pinch of salt. The okra will get slimy after several minutes, then add the spices.

Stir to make sure the spices distribute evenly.  Decrease the heat just a bit and allow the okra to eventually become slightly crispy. Don't keep your eyes off of them though, as you don't want them to burn!

One important point: make sure when you buy your okra that it isn't too ripe. Some of mine were hard in texture, and it's best when they are slimy. (Really).

Serve with tortilla or chapati or rice. 

Don't forget the side of yogurt, either!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Foodie Finds {Video}

I have not one, but TWO video posts for you today.

I only planned on doing one, but I was in the mood to dance...hence the second one. Also, it looks like I have dirt on my face because that was part of my Halloween costume.

Lastly, please hold the judgement on the extreme cheesiness of the content that follows. It's a little ridiculous.

Okay, enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Punkin.

This is going to be a short post because I am ill-prepared to write a real post.

But remember the time I posted this picture?

The recipe for my pumpkin pie smoothie is at Greatist! Go check it out. It's a nice and filling snack for an autumn day. Or any day, really.

This week has been a whirlwind. Literally. I don't know where it went and what I did, but it's Friday tomorrow. (Don't you love when that happens?)

Also, I cooked an Indian meal on Sunday and have been eating it everyday for dinner this week. When I get the chance to look through my pictures, a post with both recipes will be up very soon. But here is a teaser: if you are a fan of garbanzo beans and/or okra, you are in luck! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Heart Beets.

Hi. My name is Tulika and I have a strange obsession with beets.

Now that that's out of the way, let's discuss today's week-in-a-day! The past couple of weeks have been full of not so common ingredients, and for those of you who aren't fans of quinoa polenta, this is for you.

So I had beets, spinach, and tomatoes that needed to be used. Oh, and some basil.

What does one do with that combination? Make pasta sauce, of course. And I didn't use just any pasta...I experimented with brown rice pasta. It tasted a lot like regular pasta and less like whole wheat pasta. I was quite a fan. Healthy food tasting unhealthy? Sign me up!

Beet & Basil Pasta Sauce

  • 2 beets
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper/oregano

Boil the beets for about 5-8 minutes, let cool, and peel/chop them. Also, chop the tomatoes, spinach, basil, and garlic and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into a medium-sized pot, and add the garlic. Heat the pot on the stove over medium, and add the tomatoes, spinach, and beets. Continue to do so until the spinach has wilted, then add the basil. Then add the tomato sauce and seasonings. Lower the heat and let the flavors mix for another few minutes.

Super easy one-pot pasta sauce! And it lasts for quite awhile. I still have leftovers, but I happily put them in the freezer for another time. 

It's also really, really good topped with melted cheese. In case you needed confirmation on that.

On a completely different note, I know I promised a new Zumba video a few weeks ago. However, plans have changed...because I am going to be teaching TURBO KICK again! I haven't taught kickboxing in almost 6 months, so I've been practicing my routines non-stop. Have I ever mentioned how incredible of a workout Turbo Kick is? I'm thinking the 6 pack might make a comeback? (Wishful thinking).