Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Once upon a time, I was allergic to bananas. And then one day, I wasn't anymore. True story.

Since we're on the topic of allergies, you should know that I also used to be allergic to mangoes. And then one day, I wasn't anymore. Coincidentally, I found out on the same day that I was no longer allergic to bananas and mangoes.

Best day ever.

Actually, this best day ever could have potentially been the worst day ever, because I had eaten an entire bowl of mango slices. But that's not important.

Side note: I am still allergic to peanut butter.

Now that you are caught up on my life story, I will now catch you up on some of my eatin'.

Late night snack:

Chopped banana topped with SunButter and lots of cinnamon! And some blueberries.
Quick energy snack! Probably not the best before sleeping, but this would be nice before a workout.

Pasta (whole wheat, of course):

Let us discuss homemade pasta sauce. It is so easy, and it has a lot less sugar/unnecessary ingredients than jar pasta sauce. 

  • olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added is best!)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • veggies of choice (spinach, mushrooms, olives)
  • oregano, salt, pepper

Saute garlic, spinach, and mushrooms in olive oil.

Add the diced tomatoes. Stir.

Add the olives and seasonings.

So easy, and so much healthier!

And I assure you, it is just as tasty.

This evening, I ate some of this:

I then proceeded to lose the feeling in my mouth completely/sweat profusely/drain all possible sinuses/look for something cold, creamy, and sweet to eat.

1 frozen banana + 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
Bananas to the rescue! If only this picture could capture how tasty this ice cream/milkshake combo was. (Seriously, blended frozen bananas really taste like ice cream).

FYI, bananas contain: 
  • Tryptophan (converts to serotonin, thus makes you feel happier)
  • High potassium + low salt (helps to lower blood pressure; potassium also helps increase oxygen to the brain and deal with stressful situations!)
  • High fiber 
  • Vitamin B6 (helps to regulate blood glucose levels)
  • Prebiotics (improves absorption of nutrients)

So what are you waiting for?! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pop 'em.

First things first: we have a winner! Thanks Akshay for coming up with the winning name, and thanks to everyone for all of the creative ideas--this was actually a really difficult decision! Unfortunately, one of the runners up could not be used because it included my last name. (Man, was that a good one though!)

So, let us begin with yet another "cookie dough" bite flavor. (This is the last time it will be called "cookie dough"! How exciting).

Toasted Coconut Pop'ums

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or maple syrup/agave/honey)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Toast the coconut by spreading it onto a baking sheet in a thin layer and placing it in the oven (325F) for 5 minutes (or more, depending on how toasted you'd like it).

Blend the cashews in a food processor to a powdery consistency. Add the vanilla, and blend more until the consistency is more clumpy.

Add the cereal and blend. Repeat with the coconut and the brown rice syrup. 

Finally, add the chocolate chips and pulse just once or twice. 

Form into bite-sized pieces.

If you like coconut, you'll definitely like these! If not, don't fret! You can always try the chocolate chip or peanut butter versions. :)

Have a flavor you'd like to see? Feel free to let me know!

I mentioned that I'd be relying on cans and blenders for the next several days. I was not kidding!! But that definitely does not translate to boring food. 

(Really) Spicy Black Bean Dip

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 jalapeno (seeds included--if you dare)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 can olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • optional: salt
  • optional: cheese for garnish

In a food processor, add the black beans, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin seeds. Blend.

Add the tomato (roughly chopped) and blend again.

Transfer to a bowl, and add the olives (chopped), lemon juice, and salt, if using. 

[Note: if you'd like this to be warm, you can cook the mixture on the stove for a few minutes, or just stick it in the microwave.]

Garnish with cheese. And a homemade baked whole wheat tortilla chip.

Wait--forgot the salsa!

Prepare to unleash your sinuses.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Thanks so much to everyone who has entered the cookie dough naming contest! If you've been out of the loop for the weekend, let me catch you up. I decided these "cookie dough" bites need a creative name. Comment on Facebook or on my blog post with your ideas, and the lucky individual whose name I've chosen for my cookie dough bites will receive some free cookie dough bites of their own.

Contest ends tomorrow (Monday) at 6pm! Can't wait to hear more of your creative ideas.

Some irony: I had a whole post planned out yesterday. In fact, I was planning on starting the post with this picture:

Ovens are dangerous.

If only I had known one hour after taking this picture that tripping on the sidewalk is also dangerous.

The number of health/injury-related events that have transpired this week is out of control. I thought I was going to go crazy not working out for three days. Now I will not be working out for at least two weeks.

The reason for telling you this is to let you know that this blog will temporarily be called The Non-Fitness Gourmet. (Insert laughter here).

One more announcement before we get to some food! I was planning on getting a squash for this week, but as a result of aforementioned events, I am unable to cut a squash. So I will be using lots of cans, bagged veggies, and blenders for the recipes. Convenient!

To finish up this week's leeks (and kale)...

"Fried" Couscous with Leeks and Kale

  • 1 leek (top portion only)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • large handful of chopped kale (~1 1/2 cups)
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice couscous

Cook the couscous. Set aside.

Chop the leeks and kale.

By the way, this is Russian kale, which looks a lot different from the regular curly kale!
In a pot, heat the olive oil with the ginger.

Add the leeks and kale.

It looked like overflow was about to occur! But no worries, two minutes later, it looked like this:

Nice. Add the couscous. (I think brown rice couscous is really a good substitute for brown rice, especially in a fried rice-type dish. It's more sticky and hence more similar in texture to white rice).

Stir to incorporate, and add soy sauce, black pepper, and perhaps some chili sauce.

I didn't realize that the top portion of leeks are very similar to onions. Noted.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a massive waffle failure. I thought I'd attempt another spontaneous waffle breakfast this weekend.

Whole wheat waffle topped with blueberry sauce (microwaved frozen blueberries), almond butter, and maple syrup!!
This time only a portion of the waffle stuck to the iron. Partial waffle fail? (This is why we should all just stick to my successful waffle recipes). 

This morning, I made the above waffle in pancake form. It was quite successful!

Batter: 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup chickpea flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 2 spoonfuls of yogurt
I got the idea to put chickpea flour in a pancake from Lauren. It was GREAT! So fluffy and didn't taste like garbanzo beans at all. 

Okay--that's it! Can't wait to hear more creative comments. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cookie Dough Series. Part II.

I was blown away by the positive feedback I received on the cookie dough balls from the last post!! Thanks everyone. (Side note: I was asked if they actually taste like cookie dough. Well, not really if you're expecting them to taste like cookie dough. However, if you keep them in the fridge, they definitely taste more like cookie dough!) As for me, I've almost demolished the batch I made.

Naturally, I've decided that this is my new favorite snack. What is there not to like? Easy to make, delicious, and healthy. The only problem? Cool snacks are found in lots of different flavors.

Naturally, I put my thinking cap (and apron) on.

I want all of you to be able to enjoy these, and obscure ingredients tend to be intimidating. I changed up the ingredients on this version a little bit--but don't worry, it's still 5 ingredients!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pop'ums

  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal (I used the brown rice version)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used SunButter because of allergies)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or maple syrup/agave/honey)
  • chocolate chips

First add the cereal to the food processor. Pulse a few times, but not too many.

Add the peanut butter. Blend until incorporated.

Apologies for the stubborn vertical picture.
 Add the syrup and vanilla.

Add the chocolate chips. Don't blend too much!

Again, sorry about the weird rotations.
Form into balls or eat as is!

I actually used only 1 tablespoon of syrup and the dough wasn't very it crumbled when I tried to form them into balls. So I definitely recommend using 2 tablespoons.

I stuck them in the freezer and ate them five minutes later. Delish!

Enjoy. :)

In other news, GO CATS! Yesterday I ate dinner at a local sushi place while watching the game. It's definitely possible to eat a normal Tulika-fied meal while out.

Brown rice topped with steamed veggies with little to no oil and very little soy sauce. Perfect!!

Have a great weekend, and stay tuned for the next version of cookie dough!

P.S. I'm trying to think of a fun name for the cookie dough balls. Comment here or on Facebook with your ideas, and the winner will receive a few cookie dough balls of their choice! (US Residents only!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Since I'm taking a few days off from working out, I decided I would spend the time I'd normally spend working out, experimenting with food!

Sounds like a good deal to me.

There is one thing I've been wanting to make for so long, and today was finally the day. Plus, I'm really in need of afternoon snacks these days. Check this out--I'm sure you guys will love this!

5 Ingredient No-Bake Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough"

Inspired by Averie and Angela

[Makes 12]

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup uncooked oats
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stuff you need (minus the vanilla...that was a last minute addition!):

Combine the oats and cashews in a food processor.

Blend to a powder-like consistency.

Add the brown rice syrup and vanilla.

Blend to incorporate. Then add the chocolate chips. 

Blend but not too much! You still want the chocolate chips to be whole.

Form the dough into balls. 



Great afternoon snack. Protein + complex carbs + healthy sweetener. FYI: brown rice syrup is a great alternative to regular sugar or other sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. Why?

Sugar (and simple carbohydrate) consumption tends to cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. This then causes rapid release of insulin which basically moves the sugars into fat storage. Not good!! (This is why complex carbs are recommended). Anyway, brown rice syrup actually consists of 50% complex carbohydrates and only 3% glucose. Hence, brown rice syrup doesn't cause the rapid increase in blood glucose levels that other sweeteners do.

And it tastes good!

Moving on...

I still had another huge leek to cook with this week! So let's get to it.

Leek & Greens Barley Risotto

Inspired by this recipe

  • 1/2 cup barley (or wheat pasta or other whole grain)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 leek (bottom portion only)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful of greens of choice (I used swiss chard/collards)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tomato
  • black pepper/oregano to taste

Cook the barley. (1/2 cup barley + 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a covered pot for about 20 minutes).

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add chopped garlic, chopped leeks, and greens.

Saute till soft. Add the tomato.

After the mixture has become juicy, add the cooked barley. 

Add the vegetable broth, black pepper, and oregano. Stir and let simmer.

Most of the liquid should be absorbed within 10 minutes.

Serve with cheese and crushed red pepper. (You don't actually have to).

I love barley, but now I love it more because it almost tastes like pasta in this dish. Success!!