Thursday, April 28, 2011

The "H" word.

Let's talk hummus.

...Starting with the stash I currently possess. (Plus some bean dip courtesy of my mom, but bean dip is pretty much synonymous with hummus).

Hummus is so good. It's good tasting, good for you, good for dipping, good for topping, good for spreading. It's just good all around.

Need some ideas on how to use up that tub of hummus sitting in your fridge? Never fear.

I have enough ideas to go around!

Shall we begin?

1. Sandwich spread.

My favorite lunch item: hummus, cheese, and spinach sandwich. Hummus + cheese = delicious. With the combination of those three ingredients, we have leafy greens, legumes, dairy, and tastiness all wrapped up in one convenient and portable meal.

2. Meal topper.

Pack some punch (in the form of flavor and protein!) into your carb-based meals. Rice goes oddly well with hummus. So does beet barley risotto!

3. Carrot dipper.

You probably already know by now that one of my favorite snacks is carrots and hummus. 

Continuing on with the dip trend...

4. Cracker dipper.

Those good ol' pita chips sometimes make us forget that there are other crunchy snacks that can be eaten with hummus!

And along those same lines...

5. Indian snack dipper!

At first glance, I realize this seems like a ridiculous idea. Said snack is basically spicy dough fried to crunchy perfection. But... salty anything + hummus = winner.

6. Tortilla spread/topper/dipper.

Some salsa on the side doesn't hurt, either. This could also be eaten in wrap form. I chose the tear-and-dip option for the above picture!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy hummus? Fill me in on your craziest ideas! (Seriously, because you've already seen my hummus stash I need to get through!).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beets me.

Note to self: do not go to muscle pump and then bike home.

Unless I want to get passed by everyone in the bike lane. Sad.

Note to self: do not mix yogurt and protein powder.

No matter how hungry I am after the muscle pump/biking sesh. It just does not taste good.

Note to self: cook with beets more often.

They are so good. And they never fail to photograph perfectly. Sigh, they're just the best veggie ever. #dramaqueen

Fancy Schmancy Beet Barley Risotto

  • 1/2 cup barley, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 medium sized beets, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms, cooked (I used frozen)
  • salt/pepper/garlic and herb seasoning to taste
  • garnish: walnuts and cilantro

Cook barley in a pot with one cup of water. After about 15 minutes, add the olive oil, cooked beets, and garlic to the pot. 

Stir for a few minutes over medium heat, and add the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the barley has softened (about 5-10 minutes). 

Add the vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic and herb seasoning.  Garnish with chopped walnuts and cilantro.

Oh so good. And oh so easy. You will not regret making this.

Plus, purple food is too pretty to pass up. :)

Beets: yay or nay? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who's in the beet fan club.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

"A fitness instructor's nightmare."

I love being a fitness instructor.

Hahaha, look at all the people staring at me.
I am so sad that I am teaching one more TurboKick class at the rec...ever. So sad. (Not represented in the above picture, obviously).

Today, the microphone died in the middle of the class. And I usually only allow one break during class. And my voice was not heard over the loud music. I tried hand motions but that's not very useful when there's punching and kicking involved. Awkward.

I have the coolest recipe for you today, so let's get to it.

Fauxtatoes. It's like mashed potatoes, but not made out of potatoes. What?!?! This will blow your mind. I wish I was the one who came up with this concept.

My lovely friend Pooja suggested I make this. You can thank her. :)


  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (olive oil-based, Vegenaise, etc)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Steam the cauliflower and garlic.

After the cauliflower has become soft, transfer it along with the garlic to a food processor.

Process until finely chopped, and then add the mayo and butter.

Process until the mixture is smooth, and add the seasonings. I added the nutritional yeast for a more "cheesy" flavor--I really liked it!

This is just crazy. It tastes exactly like mashed potatoes.

And it looks like mashed potatoes! And this takes about 10 minutes to make. This recipe = win. 

By the way...beets were on sale at the store. I am so excited for this week.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kitchen experiments.


I haven't touched the frozen foods a.k.a. gourmet-to-go meals in a couple of days, which means you're in luck! I spent the day doing homework and the such, and took some breaks to experiment in the kitchen.

The experiments resulted in one failure and two successes. Not too bad!

First was breakfast. If you haven't noticed, I have a strange obsession with chia seeds. The texture reminds me a lot of tapioca, and I love tapioca! Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious, so I take full advantage of them. I've seen a several renditions of chia pudding (from Lori & Michelle, Gena, Ashley, to name a few) and I finally got around to trying it today--combining what I've seen into my own creation!

I combined the ingredients (3 tablespoons chia seeds + 3/4 cup almond milk + 1 scoop chocolate protein powder) in a bowl, and stirred every few minutes until the mixture became gelatinous, as shown above. It took about 20-ish minutes total. I tasted it, and I really liked the texture! I felt that it needed something more, though...

So, using my handy immersion blender, I plopped a frozen banana (chopped) into the bowl and blended away. I blended just enough that the banana had the soft serve-like consistency but the chia pudding still kept its texture.

This was SO GOOD. I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed this! It was like chocolate tapioca pudding and ice cream combined. For breakfast! I'm definitely doing this again. Probably tomorrow.

Oh, and it kept me full for a really long time. Those chia seeds are something!

Next experiment was lunch. After I was challenged me to make some vegetarian-friendly meals for Passover, I've been thinking of what could be done! One thing that came to mind was coconut. So today, I attempted to make crepes out of coconut flour.

Uh...big fail. Coconut flour does not bind well. I made the batter and put it on the skillet and it ended in a soggy crumbled mess. Gross.

I still had coconut on my mind, and crepes! So I still made crepes for lunch. Two vegan crepes, to be exact.

Vegan Whole Wheat Crepes

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cup almond milk (or rice, soy, etc)
  • 1/3 cup water 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • optional: salt, pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until batter is smooth. More water may be necessary so the batter is able to be poured. 

The first crepe I made was filled with spinach and swiss cheese! (I realize that completely negates the idea of a vegan crepe. Oh well). And it was drizzled with hot sauce.

This was the experiment crepe...which is why the filling did not stay inside the crepe. It was still delish.

The second was the dessert crepe.

Coconut Filling:

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • optional: dark chocolate chips

In a pot over medium heat, combine almond milk and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add the coconut and vanilla, stir until most liquid has been absorbed. Add chocolate chips just before pouring mixture onto crepe.

I decided to get a little fancy and shake some cinnamon on top. 

Let's take a closer look...

I may or may not have drizzled some maple syrup on top after the photo shoot.

I totally deserved it after yesterday's TurboKick sesh. Seriously. If you think TurboKick is easy (please see me and I will change your mind instantly, heh) do the workout with some 2 pound weights. I don't know why, but something possessed me yesterday to teach with weights. I know 2 pounds sounds ridiculously light (I thought so and almost picked up the 3 pound weights) but something about flailing your arms around with weights in hand makes it seem a lot heavier!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fit and cheesy.

Have any of you heard of TRX?

I've heard of it and have seen it at the rec many times, but I never knew exactly what it was. Today, I was given the opportunity to attend a free TRX class, so I jumped at it! 

TRX is a suspension training method that uses nothing but body weight (and those cords!). I had always assumed that the TRX was useful solely for upper body workouts, but I was sorely mistaken. It's a full body workout and it's amazing how difficult it can be! At one point, I felt like I was doing the hardest core workout I had ever done. We also did lots of squats--the TRX is used as sort of an assist for squats and lunges--and planks! 

I really enjoyed it! Many gyms have TRX available for use; I know that our rec has specific TRX classes available each semester as well. And we were informed today that it's a popular at-home workout (as long as you can find a place to attach the cords to the ceiling!).

Afterwards, I was hungry for some veggies.

I made a Passover-friendly side dish. (Hi, Liana!).

Frozen green beans/snap peas/butternut squash sauteed in coconut oil & garlic and sprinkled with black pepper.
This was eaten with yet another Amy's product!

I used to be a huge fan of hot pockets (back in the day when I used to eat canned everything and soy veggie burgers Cringe cringe). This is the best substitute for those good ol' hot pockets! 

Okay, so there may not be as much cheese, but it was just as tasty with the inclusion of real ingredients and whole wheat! 

I must say I was quite disappointed when I found only one in the box, though. And it disappeared way too quickly. Just like that cake I made...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Happy) thoughts of the day.

If you are in a bad mood, just go to a Zumba class. I can assure you that you'll leave a happy person.

I went to Zumba today. This is how I felt afterwards:


It was so much fun. (Hi, Jessica!). Seriously, try it. And if you are too embarrassed to go to an actual class, start with my Zumba videos. :) 

I am really a fan of gourmet-to-go week! This is what I ate post-Zumba:

I've seen these Amy's burritos everywhere!! I finally got a chance to try it today. Let's look at the ingredients, shall we?

I love looking at ingredient lists and knowing what each ingredient is. Pronounceable ingredients are also nice.

The nutrition stats weren't too bad either!

Yum. Whole wheat tortilla. This burrito was just a win all over the place. I might have to stock up.

My workout called for two desserts. One of which was this little ball of protein:

I based this idea off of Gina's amazeballz and basically just stirred together chocolate protein powder + SunButter + chocolate chips and formed the mixture into little balls. 

Before I conclude, just a little note! I was informed by a reader, who recently made some banana soft serve, that it was really difficult to get the peel off of a frozen banana. Woops. I should have made it clear that the banana should be peeled + chopped before being placed in the freezer!! Thanks for the info, reader!

See you tomorrow--maybe I will spend more than two minutes in the kitchen and then be able to share a recipe with you! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coffee 'n' thangs.

I felt like such an adult today.

I drank unflavored drip coffee with no milk. It was interesting. It really helped me pace myself. 

...But if you know me and my coffee habits, you know that I have no problems pacing myself. You see, coffee has the worst effects on me, including jitters, horrible stomach aches, and shaking internal organs. (Okay, the last one might be a slight exaggeration). A few months ago, I finally figured out the perfect amount of coffee that keeps me focused without the bad effects. The perfect amount is something like 1/4 of a small cup.

I wish I was joking.

But today, I had to drink the whole thing because I was given my hot coffee in a mug. And I didn't want to explain to the nice guy working at the coffee shop why I couldn't drink my coffee in the small mug he gave me. That's just awkward. (And no, it's not awkward explaining this to you guys. You already accept my quirks. Or so I like to think).

The reason I'm explaining this is because one of the other strange effects coffee has on me is that it makes me really hungry. So, while I was researching the effects of aerobic exercise on muscles, (I really really get to write a research paper on that for a class...really) my mind began to wander. I started thinking about cake. Chocolate cake. 


Fortunately, I had a box of chocolate cake mix. (Seriously, who am I?). Unfortunately, I had no eggs. Fortunately, I had some tofu.

The cake was made. [1/3 block tofu + 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 box cake mix + 1/8 cup oil]

I saved some of the batter and dipped some in melted chocolate chips to make something similar to Averie's cake batter truffles

I ate some of the regular cake and too many of these frozen batter bites. 

And then I realized I should probably eat some real food.

Being sick is the best excuse to eat whatever you feel like eating. Plus, this is another one of my gourmet-to-go meals!

Don't worry, I Tulika-fied it a little bit.

Mac 'n' cheese + frozen&thawed brussels sprouts and peas!
I wish the picture did more justice to the cheesiness of the mac 'n' cheese. It was cheesy. But it's okay, because Annie's is made of real cheese--not the fake stuff!

And now I am going to do some much needed yoga, courtesy of these Women's Health articles

If I haven't made my point yet, here it is! Eat what you want to eat. It's the normal thing to do. And it's okay to sometimes eat "unhealthy" as long as it's in moderation. And as long as you're exercising or being physically active in some form or another! //end public service announcement

Monday, April 18, 2011

TFG: the movie star.

Sleepless in T-town.

It's a new movie, featuring TFG with her lack-of-a-voice and a cough that keeps her up at night. 

Quite the annoyance. 

Not the voice part, because I still manage to speak as much as I usually do, if not more. My classmates kept telling me to stop talking today. They also told me I sounded like I was crying. Thanks, guys. 

This morning, I woke up unable to swallow. Quite the inconvenience, considering I can't survive without eating breakfast. So I did the logical thing. I blended my breakfast.

I simply prepared my overnight oats (oats + milk + chia seeds + frozen blueberries) last night, and this morning, I added more milk to the bowl and blended till smooth. I stirred in some cinnamon and topped it all with a nice dollop of SunButter.

It was thick and tasty. The last time I blended oats was during my spinach challenge. I prefer today's oat smoothie to the spinach oat smoothie. Something about spinach for breakfast is kind of strange, even for me.

Not to worry, I did consume my spinach quota for the day!

Just a plain spinach salad with some balsamic. I had this for dinner, along with this:

One of my "gourmet-to-go" meals I picked up at the store yesterday! (I was requested to call these frozen meals "gourmet-to-go" meals instead--haha!).

I'm usually skeptical about pre-made Indian food. It just doesn't taste the same as homemade Indian food! But this sounded way too interesting to pass up.

Plus, I got a chance to eat something with my raita!

What did I think? It was great!! It was filling, healthy, and just the right amount of spicy. The best parts were that it had very little oil, and it tasted like MANCHURIAN! (I'm sorry if you've never had manchurian. You need to try it ASAP).

I'm two for two so far. Let's hope the rest of these gourmet-to-go items are just as good!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Frozen foods and (VIDEO)!

Before you read the rest of this post...

When I went to the doctor, I was told to eat soup, mashed potatoes, and ICE CREAM. I asked her a million times if she really meant that. She said, "If eating ice cream makes you feel better, then sure. Why not?" 

I was excited. {I just stopped writing to go eat some ice cream}.

I was so excited, that I took the excitement to a new level and went to the grocery store and picked up all kinds of "comfort food." I'm not cooking this week. At the very least, I'm not cooking anything very extravagant. So...this is what I left with:

Lots of frozen stuff, crackers, and a bag of spinach. Who am I? I don't even know anymore. 

But really, the thought of chewing and swallowing carrots is quite unpleasant. And the thought of opening up a box and microwaving it and eating it 1 minute later is just delightful. #Dramatic.

I'll also have you know that I spent 20 minutes in the frozen section debating about which items to get. And then went to the other side of the store and came back to the frozen section to make sure I bought the right items. I'm sure the other customers at Sunflower Market thought I was a complete weirdo. I'm just thorough when I buy things. Too thorough.

Anyway, I put one of my frozen purchases to use for lunch today.

If you are skeptical about the ingredients in this, don't be. I checked them, and they are entirely legit. The ingredients are all natural and all organic.

And it was tasty.

The only downside is that pre-packaged food does not fill me up like my own food does. I have to do something about this.

So I obviously had to eat some dessert afterwards. Dessert and ice cream are not the same thing, by the way.

Sort of like a cinnamon roll...but with chocolate instead!
This week, I'll be documenting a lot of my eats rather than giving you recipes. I'll also make sure to add in a joke or two. :) But in all seriousness, for those of you who are short on time and wouldn't mind purchasing frozen foods, hopefully the next few review posts will be helpful to you. 

I received an interesting comment from Liana in yesterday's post. She requested, since Passover starts tomorrow night, that I come up with some filling recipe ideas for Passover. According to Liana, this means "meals without bread (and bread products, anything leavened), barley, wheat, rye, oats, rice, beans (and other legumes), corn, pasta, soy." When I first read that, I couldn't think of ANYTHING that would fit that criteria! Since then, I've come up with a few ideas. However, I may have to start this challenge later this week when I get to cooking again. 

I love all of your ideas! Keep them coming!