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!