Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TFG's makeover!

A couple of announcements:

I finally had a chance to give my blog a much needed makeover. Hope you guys enjoy it and find it easier on the eyes. If you have any suggestions though, feel free to let me know.

Also, I changed the comment section. Now, when you comment, you will receive an email notification when I reply to your comments! Hopefully this will give you more motivation to comment :). Plus it's a lot more user-friendly.

In food news...

I've been eating lots of tomatoes lately! Later this week I'll do a post on the nutritional stats...since right now I'm in sort of a time crunch (about to go to Zumba!). 

Let's get this tomato party started!

Spicy Mango Salsa

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 mango
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 green onions
  • ~2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt/pepper to taste

Chop all veggies and combine in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with tortilla chips.

So refreshing. And quite spicy if you don't have numb taste buds like me! If you want this to be less spicy, I suggest using half the jalapeno and/or scooping out all of the seeds. I left some of the seeds in to make it interesting!

I hardly made a dent in the tomato stash from my dad's garden after making this salsa. It's pretty insane! Not to worry, I've come up with a ton of tomato-based recipes.

Like this recipe that takes 5 minutes to prepare. Seriously.

Tomato & Broccoli Quiche with Tortilla Crust

  • 5-6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 tomatoes
  • ~1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli 
  • 3/4 carton egg substitute (I used the Southwestern flavored kind)
  • 1 veggie burger
  • shredded cheese 
  • salt/pepper
  • non-stick spray or oil

Spray or oil an oven-proof glass dish. Place tortillas on the dish to form the crust.

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, broccoli, salt, pepper, and veggie burger (microwaved and chopped into pieces).

Pour this mixture onto the tortillas, and pour the egg on top.

Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

Serve with salsa or your favorite hot sauce.

Deelish and super hearty.

Any favorite tomato recipes you'd like to see on the blog?

Monday, May 30, 2011

True Food.

TFG will soon return to its regularly scheduled programming.

This will be my last restaurant update for a long, long time. I'm going to get back to the usual TFG-style cooking this week.

But I had to update you on my weekend eating first!

To celebrate my birthday, I got together with some of my close friends for dinner at True Food Kitchen.

I first heard about this restaurant on Mama Pea's blog, and she raved about it. Deepa suggested we try it for my birthday, so of course I was ecstatic! It is definitely my type of restaurant.

The menu is vegetarian friendly and also offers several gluten-free dishes. The first entree that caught my eye was the Organic Ricotta Ravioli with kale pesto. However, after careful thought, I decided on the Panang Curry instead.

The dish included brown rice topped with a potato/carrot/broccoli/mushroom mixture in a Thai-like coconut sauce. This particular dish was huge, but I was disappointed when I saw that the dishes my friends had ordered were a lot smaller. Fortunately, the general consensus regarding the food was positive. Phew, good thing I have friends who appreciate healthy meals full of veggies!

It's been quite awhile since I've featured a veggie of the week. This week will be tomato week! And not just any tomatoes--tomatoes my dad grows in his garden. Local and organic! Represent.

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's my birthday...

...and I'll eat doughnuts and ice cream cake if I want to.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Restaurant Adventures: The Finale.

The restaurant adventures are officially over.

Deepa and I ventured to two new ones this week: Saffron Indian Bistro and La Cocina.

Saffron is an Indian restaurant, and even though I'm usually not a huge fan of eating Indian food out, I'd heard really good reviews about this one. Specifically about the lunch buffet. Buffet?! I'm there. (After a good morning cardio sesh to work up the appetite, of course!).

On the way there, I told Deepa I couldn't wait for paneer. She told me she couldn't wait for gulab jamun or rasmalai.

To our dismay, there was no paneer, no gulab jamun, and no rasmalai. Despite this initial disappointment, the food was actually quite good!

This was my first plate: naan, rice, pakodas, potatoes in a creamy sort of sauce (they called it the special, but didn't have a name for it!), rajma (kidney beans), squash mattar, yogurt masala, and raita. I really liked the squash mattar! I think it was butternut squash because it was slightly sweet. I've never had butternut squash in an Indian dish before, so that was interesting. Good interesting, not bad interesting!

There were two desserts at the buffet: rice pudding and mango pudding.

I couldn't decide which to get, so naturally, I got both! The rice pudding was typical Indian rice pudding, and the mango pudding was super smooth, slightly sweet, and had chunks of fruit in it. I think I preferred the rice pudding, though. And my sweet tooth was satisfied after consuming these bowls!

The next day, Deepa and I went to La Cocina. We decided to go for appetizers, but if I ever have the chance, I am definitely going back to this restaurant for a meal. I wish I had taken a picture of the set up, because it was so unlike that of any other restaurant. Imagine three small buildings arranged closely in a circular manner, with a patio-type area in the center of the circle. This was where the restaurant seating was located. Fortunately there were lots of trees for shade!

The menu was out of control. There were too many choices! But my eyes went straight to the dessert...of course.

So intriguing! Lavender white chocolate cheesecake?! *Swoon*

Check out the appetizers and entrees:

See what I mean about too many choices? Finally, we decided on the roasted butternut squash salad, some mini tacos, and hibiscus lemonade.

The salad was so gourmet! It was also on the sweet side, as it contained butternut squash, pomegranate, pears, walnuts, and the dressing was an apple cider reduction. While the greens helped mellow out the taste, the dressing was actually quite hard to detect. Also, I love roasted butternut squash, but after eating it cold in this salad, I think I definitely prefer it warm!

But this little guy stole the show:

Notice the size of the taco compared to that slice of lime. It was so tiny! And so cute! Not only did it win me over with its looks, but this taco was so unlike any taco I've ever had. It contained pinto beans, grilled sweet potato, red cabbage slaw, and cheese on top. It sounds so simple, but all of these flavors combined with the lime and salsa was fantastic. This is one restaurant item I'm on a mission to recreate.

Today, instead of trying a new restaurant, we went to our favorite dessert stop: Allegro Gelato. I've mentioned it before, but the gelato at Allegro is the creamiest and tastiest gelato ever. Not to mention that there is a huge variety of flavors to choose from. Today, I got cinnamon and plain yogurt. Don't hate on the plain yogurt flavor...sometimes it's a nice break from the normal ice cream sugar rush!

Lastly, I wanted to share with you my workout from today. I felt I needed a break from the high-intensity cardio I've been doing lately, so I searched for yoga on youtube. I followed this video and to my surprise (but I really shouldn't have been that surprised), I was dripping sweat by the end of it! Not only that, but I'm pretty sure I sweat exponentially more during this yoga sesh than I did on the elliptical yesterday...just sayin'. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So much food...so little time!

I have less than two days left until I leave town, which means I'm still trying as many new restaurants as possible! It is (unfortunately) impossible to try every restaurant here, there are just way too many.

I'll post tomorrow about where I've gone out to eat this week. Today, I want to show you my healthy^2 lunch.

I mentioned I went home this weekend. I didn't mention that I left with a bag full of tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes--tomatoes from my dad's garden! Cool, huh?! The only problem is that it's really hard for one person to eat 10 tomatoes. So I thought of something I could make with lots and lots of tomatoes...


If you haven't heard, gazpacho is cold, raw soup. I realize if I describe it like that, it does not sound enticing at all. How about if I describe it like salsa in a bowl?

I promise it's really good, and quite refreshing!!


  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups V8 (I used V8 Spicy Hot, low sodium)
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste

Gather the veggies.

Chop them and add to the blender with V8, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt/pepper, and basil.

Remember the frozen basil cubes I found at TJ's? SO convenient!!

Also, I had to make this in batches to make sure it fit in the blender.

When blended and up to taste-tested standards, put in a container and chill in the fridge overnight.

So refreshing on a hot summer's day! It would be delish with some tortilla chips on the side! Yum.

Part two of my lunch today coming up in another post! Stay tuned :).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spinach surprise!

When I was younger, we used to go to family parties, and I could always count on the fact that certain foods would be there. 

Namely jalapeño poppers and spinach balls.

Sigh, I always looked forward to those jalapeño poppers, bursting with cream cheese as soon as I took a bite out of that crispy, fried jalapeño. 

At least the spinach balls were relatively healthy.

Today, I made those spinach balls. I don't know why I didn't make these sooner. Me + spinach = match made in heaven. 


Spinach Balls

Makes about 12

  • 3/4 of a 16 oz bag of spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or cheese of choice*
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (~1 1/2 slices of toast, ground up into bread crumbs)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • salt/pepper/oregano to taste
*I used half parmesan, half nutritional yeast.

Thaw the gigantic block of frozen spinach in the microwave. 

In the mean time, heat the olive oil and throw in the garlic cloves until lightly browned. When the spinach has thawed, beat the egg into it and add the olive oil/garlic mixture.

Add the bread crumbs.

Mix in the cheese and seasonings, and form the mixture into balls. Also, I recommend lightly greasing the baking sheet!

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. 

I guarantee that if you don't normally like spinach, you will like this snack!!

I can't get enough of my spinach. Lately, I've been adding a handful of spinach to my smoothies. 

This specific one included almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, and lots of frozen berries. I promise, the spinach taste is non-existent when blended into a smoothie.

I also put a dollop of sunflower seed butter on top of this smoothie. I realize the color of this smoothie is a little questionable...but oh well.

Lastly, I have a surprise for you!

I told you I would be having teaching withdrawals resulting in a plethora of new fitness videos. I had too much fun with this song!! But I do have some advice for you: practice your Zumba with shoes on...otherwise the bottoms of your feet will be in lots of pain. Woops.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I think I can.


You're probably wondering what I've been up to lately. I'm wondering the same thing.


Okay, I guess I've been sort of productive. I went home this weekend and got to work out with my parents and didn't cook anything. More on that in a bit.

I promised you guys some ideas on how to change up your workouts. One of the best ways to keep in shape is to cross train. In other words, doing a variety workouts as much as possible. For example, running one day, yoga the next, kickboxing the next, etc. If you don't have access to fitness classes such as yoga or kickboxing, not to worry. You can do a lot with cardio machines and weights at the gym.

The other day, I did the stairmaster for the first time in several months. I forgot that it actually is quite a killer workout!

Side note: the important thing to remember about the stairmaster is not to hold onto the bars. The point of the stairmaster is to simulate climbing stairs, and your entire lower body is doing the work. Holding onto the bars provides less of your body weight for your legs to work, and hence decreases the effectiveness of the workout.

Anyway, 30 minutes on the stairmaster is definitely do-able and really gets your sweat on! If the stairmaster isn't your thing, the elliptical and treadmill can also be your close friends!

If you find that cardio machines are boring, here is a tip: find a machine close to the free weights (or weight machines), and get in some cardio/strength intervals. For example: 5-7 minute run on the treadmill followed by weighted squats and planks or push ups; another 5-7 minute run, followed by weighted lunges and shoulder presses; and so on. This makes it a lot more interesting and also keeps your body guessing what the next fun set is!

And as I always mention, there are some great resources online for convenient workouts at home (YogaDownload, BodyRock). YouTube also has some good stuff!!

Hopefully that's enough motivation to last you awhile. :)

I mentioned that I didn't cook anything this weekend. I did eat a lot, though! For lunch today, my mom made a hearty salad and grilled eggplant sandwiches.


Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, corn, and dried cranberries, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper.

Mmm...so refreshing (especially after doing some Zumba)!

The grilled eggplant sandwich:

The sandwich consisted of: eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese, and ciabatta bread. Super easy and so delish!

For the grilled eggplant, slice an eggplant, drizzle the slices with olive oil, and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

For the tomato sauce, prepared tomato sauce works, but homemade tomato sauce is healthier and definitely tastier!

This tomato sauce included fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. No water or canned tomato sauce necessary.

After toasting the ciabatta bread, assemble the sandwiches and add the cheese. Also, since ciabatta is so thick, it's a good idea to prepare the sandwiches beforehand to let the sauce soak into the bread. Yummmm.

If you don't like eggplant...please reconsider!! I am seriously considering featuring eggplant for a week again after eating this sandwich!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hot dog.

I don't know what's going on with my blogging schedule. It's been quite spontaneous lately, just like my fitness schedule.

Seriously, I need some scheduling in my life. It's too weird not having a schedule. I blame it on no school.

I also blame it on the fact that I have been packing every single day, and discovering things I didn't even know I owned.

Like 200 headbands. Huh.

How did that happen? I haven't worn headbands since 2008. Maybe I'll bring them back. 2011 style.

I'm still racing against time to experience as many new restaurants here as I can. Last night, I went to Magpies for the first time. They had quite the vegetarian selection! I love/hate when there are too many options. But I actually love when a pizza place offers whole wheat crust!!! Magpies is also pretty awesome in that there is a section of the menu dedicated to lighter pizzas with less cheese and more veggies. Count me in!

I ended up splitting one of the lighter pizzas with whole wheat crust.

It included regular tomato sauce with stewed tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and romano cheese. The pizza was so flavorful, I didn't even notice that it didn't have any mozzarella! The best part was that I ate half of this large pizza and didn't feel as heavy as I normally would after eating pizza. Success!

Remember the time I bought a cabbage and thought I could finish it in less than a week? Fail. But I did make something pretty cool today.

I made sauerkraut, based on this recipe from Bobby Flay!

My version included:
  • 1/4 red cabbage, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


I combined the water, vinegar, and oil in a pot over medium heat, and then added the cabbage, mustard seeds, and garlic. I allowed the mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then I let it cool and refrigerated it until I decided how to use it. 

I decided to go the classic route. And a little out of the way of my usual eating habits.

Hot dogs. Veggie dogs! TFG style, of course.

Instead of using veggie dogs (they are so difficult to find these days!), I decided to pick up a new-to-me product: Gimme Lean Sausage. It was super easy to prepare--just cut it into slices, and heat it on a skillet with a splash of olive oil until browned.

I served it on a whole wheat bun with the sauerkraut, some lightly sauteed mushrooms, ketchup, and mustard. And a pickle on the side!

Chomp chomp. The veggie hot dog disappeared in no time. I really liked the flavor of the "sausage." It was a bit spicy; I think I prefer it over regular veggie dogs actually!

And sometimes it's okay to indulge!! For dessert, a cupcake:

But not just any cupcake. A cupcake from Red Velvet Cupcakery! This one was an almond-scented cupcake topped with milk chocolate frosting. 

Yum yum yum! What a nice couple of days of food. 

Next post will definitely include some fitness. As I mentioned, I've been doing a variety of workouts lately that haven't involved any group fitness classes...it's so different and really takes a lot more motivation!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New! {Photos and Videos}

Lately, I've been focusing on things I've been wanting to do for awhile and haven't had the chance.

Like recording some fitness videos in the rec fitness room.

New Zumba video:

A couple of new TurboKick videos:

I got a little too into it when I was cueing the finale video. Hopefully it will give you motivation if you decide to follow along!!

I've also been receiving some photography lessons from my sister. Much needed photography lessons! She also took some pictures for me and edited them. Hence why some pictures on this post are infinitely better than others!

I decided to make this week cabbage week, despite the fact that I've dedicated a week to cabbage before. A few days ago, my mom asked me for cabbage recipe ideas, and I was suddenly inspired to buy a cabbage. And now I have this gigantic head of red cabbage to finish. If you weren't aware, it's really difficult for one person to finish a whole cabbage. 

So here are a couple of ways I've been including cabbage:

Cabbage + tempeh bacon tacos.

If you haven't noticed, I've been putting that tempeh bacon on everything. It's so versatile and adds a ton of protein! This taco included sauteed black beans/cabbage/spinach, tempeh bacon, shredded cheese, and salsa on a corn tortilla.


Red Cabbage and Spinach Coleslaw

  • 1/4 red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh spinach (~1 cups), chopped
  • 3 baby carrots, grated
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • a little over 1/8 cup mayonaisse (I used olive oil-based, Veganaise will also work well)
  • black pepper/oregano to taste

In a bowl, combine the chopped veggies. In a separate bowl, mix together almond milk, vinegar, mayo, pepper, and oregano to a sauce-like consistency. Pour the creamy sauce into the veggie bowl.

Toss and refrigerate until ready to eat.


I stuffed two pita halves with coleslaw and a Morningstar "California Turk'y" veggie burger. I hardly ever eat veggie burgers anymore, but this was so good!! Don't worry, I probably won't revert back to my old ways of daily veggie burger consumption.

I've been eating some non-cabbage items also. I don't want to get sick of cabbage before finishing the entire head. Seriously, I still have over half of the cabbage left. 

Summer fruit.

Watermelon! If it's in front of me, I find it incredibly difficult not to eat the entire thing. At least it's a good form of hydration?

Rice and veggies.

And the making of other bloggers' recipes, such as Mama Pea's Mmm Sauce. I've been wanting to try this sauce since the day she posted the recipe, and I finally got around to it. I actually ate spoonfuls of it after making it. 

And then I used it in a productive manner on top of some brown rice and veggies (black beans, corn, olive, and spinach). With a splash of salsa.

I think this is enough reading (and watching!) material for you for today. 

But one last thing...

Cabbage recipe ideas? Anyone?