Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My pictures are piling up and it is getting out of control. But I cannot neglect to show you something I received recently.

My friends know me so well!!!

I obviously couldn't wait to open this book and made a pumpkin black bean soup inspired by a recipe from the book.

This is all I did - I blended a can of black beans and two chopped tomatoes, sautéed this mixture with some olive oil, garlic, and cumin seeds, added a can of pumpkin purée, and a few cups of vegetable broth, and cooked all of this in a large pot. I added some salt and pepper at the end, along with some pumpkin seeds for garnish.

What else have I been up to? Well, I discovered purple sweet potatoes and I think they are beautiful.

Especially when topped with butter and jalapeños.

I also like making fancy weekend brunches.

This was something like an open-faced taco with a couple of sunny side up eggs, spinach/broccoli/bell peppers, and lots of cheese. And of course topped with some salsa. It was messy to eat but so worth the mess.

Last week's workout recap:

Sunday: Zumba
Monday: Step
Tuesday: Body Pump
Wednesday: Run
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Run
Saturday: Kickboxing

Quite the productive workout week, I'd say! And so full of cardio. I like to stay active even during holidays as it helps to keep the momentum into the new year. What are your thoughts? Do you wait until the new year to start again or do you like to be one of the few in the gym during the holidays?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Squash lady.


I'd like to take a moment and tell you about my newest food obsession. It's a bit unexpected, and might I say, a bit common; but nonetheless... a lot delicious.


I don't know why, but of all cheeses I was never really that drawn to feta. I usually head straight for the Swiss, mozzarella, or cheddar. But last week, I had this great plan to make stuffed acorn squash and include some feta in the mix. I then decided to skip the fanciness and just combine the roasted squash with some wild rice and feta cheese.

If it is any indication about how awesome this dish was... I made enough for five days, and finished it in three. Success?

Since it is still winter squash season, I highly recommend giving this recipe a spin. Plus, winter squash is just awesome. (Hence the title of this post. My mom called me the squash lady once. I thought it was pretty funny).

This is what you do: cut the acorn squash in half, drizzle some olive oil into the fleshy side, and place each half face down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

While the squash is roasting, cook the wild rice. When the squash is ready, let cool, and then peel and chop into cubes. Add this to the rice, along with crumbled feta, and season with salt and oregano. You can also add some crushed red pepper for good measure :).

My favorite part of this is that when I re-heated it in the microwave, the feta bubbled. So good.

Let's re-cap last week's workouts, shall we?

Sunday: Zumba
Monday: Step + abs
Tuesday: Body pump
Wednesday: Run (2 miles)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Active rest day (I say active because I didn't do a planned workout, but I did walk about 2 miles!)
Saturday: 25 minutes elliptical, 1 mile sprint, weights, + walk ~4 miles (it was a tiring day, to say the least).

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner this year. And it involved very little "typical" thanksgiving food. Details.

I obviously Tulika-fied some things. For example, I made some wild rice stuffing:

How to prepare: cook a combination of wild rice and brown rice in vegetable broth. While doing so, sauté 1/2 chopped onion and a few chopped garlic cloves in olive oil. Add chopped carrots and celery, cook for several more minutes, and season with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the veggies and add a bit more broth.

It obviously was different from regular stuffing but I think my guests enjoyed it!

I also made a broccoli and spinach casserole instead of green been casserole.

The sauce I made was a roux, with butter, flour, and milk (and seasonings). I added this to a big dish of cooked whole wheat pasta, broccoli, and spinach, and topped with lots of shredded cheese.

We of course had some lovely sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie courtesy of my attendees :). I also made some salad and corn bread. Overall a successful dinner!

And on a completely unrelated note, please take a look at my Trader Joe's purchases of the day...

I can't help myself sometimes!

I have a new blog idea. Since it has been a seriously long while since I've done a fitness post, I am thinking of posting my workout schedule for each week. Since this week has not been figured out yet, this is what my schedule was like last week:

Sunday: abs/strength training
Monday: foam roll/yoga
Tuesday: weights (Body Pump)
Wednesday: Zumba
Thursday: rest day
Friday: run (3.6 miles)
Saturday: rest day

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumpkin this and pumpkin that.

You may have been wondering where all the pumpkin was on this blog. Never fear, my friends. Never fear. While I may have neglected to discuss my pumpkin consumption, I have been pumpkin crazy for the past month or so.

The strange part about this is that I have only cut one butternut squash so far. Why am I failing so much in the squash department?! Let me tell you. It's because one really does work for that squash. And despite the fact that I do love my winter squash... I have not found it in me to want to make the effort. This needs to be remedied ASAP.

Anyway, back to the pumpkin. I am sure you have gathered by now that I have been cheating and buying canned pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie mix).

My favorite way to use it is also the easiest way: pumpkin pie oatmeal. Here are my ingredients of choice: uncooked oats, 1 large spoonful of pumpkin purée, chia seeds and/or ground flax seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and milk. All nicely mixed together the night before, topped with some almond butter, and chilled in the fridge. Pumpkin pie in a bowl!

(Recycled picture from last year...obviously this shows how long I have been eating this).

Last weekend, I made this pumpkin alfredo, but with brown rice penne pasta. This was so so good, even more so than the pictures would suggest. Highly recommend. And it made five-six LARGE lunch portions for me, which was perfect.

I also made some rosemary pumpkin quinoa, which was really easy, and also worked well for some pre-portioned lunches. Here is what I did:

1. Sauté veggies of choice in some olive oil. I chose garlic, red bell peppers, and mushrooms.

2. In another small pot, cook the quinoa. Once cooked, stir in 1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin purée. The amount really depends upon how pumpkin-y you'd like it to be.

3. Add the sautéed veggies to the pumpkin quinoa, and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and rosemary.

I have opened yet another can of pumpkin as of today, so we shall see what happens to that this week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Please excuse...

So...pardon my absence. I have been busy participating in Zumba events for basketball games!

Well, I was last weekend. Somehow this month has just been full of big weekend events back to back. But that was definitely a huge one!

But today, I am so sad. I spent the morning recording not one, but TWO videos to post on here today.

I played them back a while ago and found that due to technical difficulties (audio and video not synchronized), this will not be happening today. So sad!!

And now I am forced to provide to you an impromptu post with a bunch of random meals I have eaten in the recent past.


Protein pancakes. I made these with half whole wheat pancake mix, half protein powder. I prepared the batter otherwise just as usual with milk and eggs, cooked with coconut oil. The toppings helped mask the protein powder chalky taste :)

Tortilla soup. Pinto beans and black beans, chipotle diced tomatoes, spinach, corn, garlic, and seasoned with cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. The chipotle diced tomatoes provided most of the flavor which was really nice.

A Trader Joe's inspired salad (literally - every ingredient came from there) with kale, pre-cooked beets, avocados, and a pear and Gorgonzola vinaigrette. The dressing made all the difference.

A veggie burger quesadilla in corn tortillas. The veggie burger was also a TJs item, and I was a fan of the consistency because it was smashable to make it more quesadilla-esque.

Hopefully this gives you a few easy ideas for the week... And hopefully we can resolve these technical issues soon!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What I Ate...all week.

If I had to choose a favorite dish to make, it would be enchiladas. Definitely enchiladas.

Last week, I wanted to make enchiladas, but a bit different from the usual. Of course. I get bored with same old same old (surprisingly since I eat the same lunches for five days in a row).

Long story short, I made enchilada casserole. Here is the step-by-step.

Make a filling. I used black beans, corn, and spinach, sautéed with some vegetable oil and cumin seeds, seasoned with salt and smoked paprika.

Lightly grease a baking pan and then line with tortillas of choice.

Add a layer of filling atop the tortillas, and top with cheese.

Then add another later of tortillas, filling, and cheese.

Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

Serve with a side of spicy salsa and enjoy!

Side note #1: I did not use enchilada sauce but it would definitely make a good addition to the dish.

Side note #2: I did eat this for 6 days in a row and even on the 6th day I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Delish!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My favorite trader.

I have to admit something. I have been buying way too many exotic desserts lately. There's only one person to blame. Joe the Trader.

I got mochi ice cream and forgot how much I love it. And ginger chews. And chocolate chip cookies that are much more crunchy and crispy than the average chocolate chip cookie.

And TJs has only been open for a week... This is a problem.

Last week, I had one of the easiest and best dinners. Courtesy of Joe and this lovely find:

I stuffed whole wheat pitas with the red pepper spread and some homemade jalapeño hummus, along with lots of fresh spinach and broccoli slaw!

I also prepared some pseudo-Indian food. Some rajma and rice:

I made the rajma by first heating some garlic and mustard seeds in oil.

Then, I added a can of kidney beans, and a can of diced tomatoes, along with 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder, salt, and pepper.

I actually preferred this with quinoa rather than brown rice, of course :).

Now excuse me while I waste away watching tv until the work week starts again!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's here!

I have been waiting for far too long.

It opened two days ago, and when I went today the line to check out went all the way around the store. Apparently everyone else is just as excited about TJs as I am!

I came across some awesome items such as coconut water popsicles and red pepper and eggplant spread. I was too excited about everything to even think about taking pictures. Woops.

So remember how last week I got to see Giada? I was inspired after seeing one of her recipes. Funnily enough, the recipe included chicken. I changed it a little and substituted tofu for the chicken.

Tofu Nuggets


  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup (scant) corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dry and press the tofu. I did a quick manual press using paper towels and some arm strength. Otherwise, the best way to press tofu is to leave it for an hour or more, in between lots f paper towels and with a weight on top. That is, if you don't have a tofu press on hand.

Once pressed, slice the tofu and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Then, add the corn meal, rosemary, thyme, and salt/pepper.

Stir gently to cost the tofu well. Then, transfer the coated cubes to a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake at 350*. After 10 minutes, flip the cubes and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tofu is crispy.

Enjoy dipped in ketchup! Or in a stir fry or salad...get creative!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Star struck.

Guess who I got the pleasure of seeing in person yesterday?

Giada de Laurentiis! From the Food Network!

I didn't actually meet her but I did get about 10 feet away... Close enough, right? I also got to see her do a cooking demonstration and a Q & A session. Overall, a very cool experience.

And I was so inspired by one of her recipes that I tried a Tulika-fied version today, which actually turned out awesomely.

But for today, I have a different recipe to share with you.

This is what I made last weekend and ate for lunch every day last week. It was so good, I did not get sick of it, even by Friday.

Quinoa "Lasagna"


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (or make your own!)
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • Frozen or fresh spinach and broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

Start by roasting the eggplant and zucchini. I chopped these up, and mixed them up with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and roasted them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the quinoa and then set it said. If making marinara sauce, make this and also set it aside. It was out of character for me to use jarred sauce but sometimes it is just much more convenient!

Thaw the spinach and broccoli if using the frozen variety. Then, add these to a large baking dish along with the roasted eggplant and zucchini.

Stir in the quinoa,

Then add the marinara sauce, and finally top with cheese.

Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes.

Top with some crushed red pepper (or sriracha!) and enjoy for five days.

Note: because this dish is made with quinoa rather than pasta, it does not stay together as well as pasta does, but it was quite lasagna-esque in taste!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend... Where did you go?

Don't mind me. I am just mourning the loss of my weekend. I miss last week's 3 day weekend.

Speaking of last weekend, check this out.

Free yoga day! There were hundreds of people ready with their yoga mats outside in this park to do some yoga bright and early last Monday. The class was an hour and a half long, and it was a tough workout with lots and lots of plank and lunges! That, and the fact that the humidity is something like 99% here. Needless to say, the sweat kept coming...

And needless to say, I was ready for a refreshing salad.

I made my own salad dressing by blending Greek yogurt + dill + a couple small slices of cucumber + pinch of salt.

Oh and check this out. I paired this with some baked zucchini sticks! (I used this recipe).

Lovely post-sweat sesh lunch if I say so myself!

Looking for another vegetable to add to your salad rotations?

Try some jicama.

This bowl included jicama, corn, cucumber, cilantro, and tomato. I dressed it with lemon juice and salt/pepper.

And just like most of my salad creations, I mixed in some quinoa.

Have I mentioned I can't get enough quinoa? I think I could eat it for every meal.

Time to go veg on the couch for what's left of the weekend!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Recipe alert!

It's a long weekend, and after spending the first half of my weekend doing a lot of nothing (which was much deserved, in my opinion), I decided that since I have an extra day, I should take advantage of it and spend some time with my kitchen. And my Ninja.

That sentence was far too long. Run-on sentence, alert?

So today, along with really wanting to make some baked zucchini sticks*, I decided that my goal was to come up with some sort of quinoa casserole. With a delicious sauce.

Not just any sauce, but I was thinking of a "cheeze" sauce. If you haven't heard of this term, it's basically a non-dairy version of cheese.

I've made a version once before with butternut squash, but haven't made it with cashews. Today was the day!

Quinoa Casserole with Cashew Cheeze Sauce


For the casserole:
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • Frozen cauliflower and broccoli
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil

For the sauce:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 heaping teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • ~1/2 cup water (may need more depending on desired consistency)
  • Salt
  • Handful of parsley
  • Oregano
Optional: chili powder or jalapeño for a slight kick

First,  cook the quinoa and the frozen vegetables, and set these aside.

Combine cashews and water in a food processor and blend.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice,and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth. Then add the parsley, salt, and oregano.

Blend, and add more water if necessary. The result should have a sauce-like consistency.

Prepare a baking pan by spraying or spreading a bit of olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the quinoa and vegetables to the pan.

Add the sauce to the quinoa mixture. I mixed it in since I am a fan of uniformity.

Here is where you could get creative and add some breadcrumbs, more seasonings, cheese, etc. I went with the basics.

Note: I added some water to this to avoid the casserole becoming too dry in the oven.

Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes.


*The zucchini sticks unfortunately did not happen. But that's what tomorrow is for!