Sunday, July 31, 2011

Segues (and segways).

Have you ever driven through an Arizona rain storm?

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering why I'm asking such an unnecessary, oxymoronic question.

They are real. Arizona rain storms. They exist! Okay, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you about driving through one.

Scary is an understatement. I almost saw my life flash before my eyes when I was unable to see the car in front of me...despite the fact that its headlights were on. I hope that paints a nice picture for you. Let's also quickly discuss the fact that I saw 14 tumbleweeds flying across the highway when the visibility level had slightly improved.

So...about those rainy days. All you want is soup, right?

Oh wait. I also forgot the fact that the storm ended quite abruptly and suddenly the ominously clouded sky transformed into a crisp, clear, sunny day in a matter of seconds.

Yeah. I would have laughed, but I'd just survived traumatizing events.

So...about those sunny days. All you want is something cold and refreshing, right?

But wait! What if you could have a cold and refreshing soup to satisfy both those rainy day and sunny day cravings?!

(Best segue ever, don't you think?)

Chilled Star Squash Soup

Gluten-free & easily made vegan

  • 1 star squash
  • 2 cups water + more if necessary
  • 1 cup milk (use unsweetened almond milk to make vegan)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper/oregano/parsley 

Cook the star squash beforehand by piercing it a few times with a fork and microwaving it for 5 minutes. Then, chop it up. 

Pour the olive oil into a large pot and add the garlic. Heat over medium on the stove for a minute and then add the chopped star squash and salt. Toss to ensure that the squash does not stick to the bottom of the pot. 

Add the water and milk and then stir. I heated it up until the mixture became foamy, then I turned off the stove. 

Add the rest of the seasonings and then let cool. 

Blend the mixture either with a regular blender or an immersion blender.

Serve chilled!

Preferably alongside some cauliflower millet bake!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Woops...I know I said I'd be posting every day this week. But some things got in the way.

Like couch chillin' and as I mentioned on Facebook last night, watching 90's Nickelodeon tv shows. Can you believe they are finally airing those classic shows again?! I was up late just so I could finish watching All That. What a hilarious show. I even tweeted about it. Hashtags and all! If you weren't aware, when I tweet, it's a big deal. Because I don't think of myself as trendy enough to be a real twitter user.

Uhhh...that was a strange digression.

Anyway, I had about 1/4 of that large jicama left over, and had no plans whatsoever for it. I was maybe thinking about making a kale salad and somehow including the jicama. But my mom was making sambar today (!!) and asked me if she could use the jicama for it. So there goes the rest of the jicama. And unfortunately, I wasn't documenting her sambar recipe, so I guess we're all out of luck. The good news is, she gave me permission to document her cooking the next time she makes dal.

The point is, we won't be discussing jicama today. Instead, I'd like to introduce you to something really cool I stumbled upon at the store the other day.


I really wanted to do something exciting with this. I hope you like what I came up with.

Cauliflower Lasagna Millet Bake

  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 1 purple (or regular) cauliflower
  • ricotta cheese
  • shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 small cans tomato paste
  • 3 small cans tomato juice (each can is 5.5 oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons chopped basil (or frozen basil)
  • salt/pepper/oregano

Cook the millet by boiling it with 2 cups water. Set aside.

Chop the cauliflower and put it in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water. Then, cook it by microwaving it for about three minutes.


In a large pot, combine the olive oil, tomato paste, tomato juice, water, and seasonings. The tomato juice I used looks like this:

Heat all ingredients over low on the stove.

The consistency should be similar to a regular tomato sauce, but taste-wise should be a bit more tomato-y!

Add the cauliflower to the sauce.

Lightly grease a large baking dish, and then spread about half of the millet mixture in it. Top with desired amount of ricotta.

Pour the sauce mixture over the millet base, and then layer with more millet, sauce, and ricotta.

Top with shredded cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with salad or soup. (Soup recipe coming up in a different post!)

I thought purple cauliflower would taste different from white cauliflower. It actually doesn't, but at least it looks pretty!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Sometimes, the recipes I come up with are referred to as "weird."

My dad calls them "revolutionary." I like that term better! 

The recipe I am posting today is definitely revolutionary. But, if it makes you feel better, my mom ate it and had no idea what it was. In fact, she thought it was made out of coconut. 

That's definitely a compliment. 

So here we go...jicama recipe #2!

Pasta with Creamy Jicama Sauce


  • 1/2 jicama, peeled & chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped swiss chard
  • 1 can cannellini beans 
  • salt/pepper/Italian seasonings

With a blender (regular or immersion), blend the jicama and water until completely smooth. 

Set this aside.

Heat up the swiss chard in a large pot with some olive oil. Saute until the swiss chard has wilted slightly, and add the cannellini beans. 

I've always wanted to try these, and I finally found them! Cannellini beans are white kidney beans, but I think they have a much creamier texture than kidney beans. 

Add the blended jicama mixture.

If the sauce is too thick, add more water until it becomes more sauce-like. Then, add the seasonings. Heat over low until everything is combined, and then serve with pasta, rice, or grain of choice.

Good stuff! And veggie haters would never even know that this sauce was made of a strange sounding vegetable. 

Speaking of veggie haters...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attractive things.

Apparently some of you are fans of the vegetable of the week posts. So, this is for you!

Drum roll, please...

And the vegetable of the week is...jicama!

I can't say it's the most attractive looking thing, but this is what it looks like:

It's even more attractive when it's peeled.

It looks like a gigantic onion. Barf. 

Good thing it doesn't taste like an onion!!! In fact, it has the texture of an apple/pear but it's not sweet at all. I really like it! And I really like the fact that it's fibrous. Bonus!

Since I've never really cooked with jicama, I decided my safest bet was to make a salad.

So, I cut the jicama into halves and then quarters, and chopped it up.

For this particular salad, I used half of the jicama. And then I added some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mangoes, and walnuts. For the dressing, I squeezed in some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

I would also recommend adding garbanzo beans to this salad! Maybe next time.

Have you tried jicama? What's your favorite way of eating it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the road.

Life = BUSY!!!

Apologies for the lack of posting this weekend. I actually am quite behind on posts, so I'm going to be blogging every day this week. Hooray!

If you didn't get a chance to read my previous post with my special guest...GO!

And once you're done, come back and read the rest of this one :). So demanding for a Monday, I know.

My last themed week focused on late night snacking. Well, today, I'm going to focus on travel snacks. Because we all know that getting any sort of food on a flight is a lost cause. Although I would like to mention that I got some complimentary baked pita chips! But besides that, quite the lost cause.

My stash o' snacks:

Clockwise starting from the top:

  • Sunflower seed butter filled dates*
  • Almond butter + banana + honey sandwich
  • Carrots**
  • Dark chocolate
  • Individual instant coffee packet
  • Walnuts
  • Salty mixture***

*For the dates, I just pitted regular dates and scooped in some sunflower seed butter. Such a sweet and satisfying snack!

**I ended up forgetting to take the carrots with me because I left them in the fridge. Fail.

***The salty mixture is my mom's recipe. I documented her making it the other day, because I thought some of you guys would be interested in it! Indian salty mixtures are typically fried, but my mom's version is actually a lot healthier!

She called this the secret ingredient:

Asafoetida powder-- this is available at any Asian/Indian store.

Other secret ingredients:

Curry leaves and spicy red chili peppers.

To make the mixture, start off by heating 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot, and add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilis, and asafoetida powder. Heat over medium-low until the seeds begin to splutter. 

Then add the puffed rice. For this mixture, we used puffed basmati rice (available at any Asian/Indian store), but you could use puffed brown rice (available at Sprouts/Sunflower Market) or even Rice Krispies.

For other mix-ins, the possibilities are endless!! This mixture included roasted & salted peas, dried cranberries, and peanuts.

The roasted, salted peas are available at Sprouts/Sunflower Market as well.

Combine the mix-ins and desired amount of salt in the pot with the puffed rice and stir, stir, stir to ensure the puffed rice doesn't burn.

Easy, right?! 

Oh, and about the coffee. I'm sure you know by now that coffee has some strange effects on my body!! Luckily, I didn't end up using that packet...despite the fact that I woke up at 4:30AM AZ time. Time to go take a nap. Or go workout. I can't decide. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

TFG Special Guest Appearance

I've really been building this post up for awhile. First with a blooper, and then with an amusing shake-shake-shake video.

When it comes to group fitness, some of you have told me you enjoy it. However, others have told me they are too intimidated, or not coordinated enough, to try it. If you aren't a seasoned group fitness participant, jumping into one of these class really is intimidating. It seems like everyone knows what they are doing, and you don't want to be that one person running to the right when everyone else is running to the left.

So, I asked my friend Carlos Tapia, who is an amazing Zumba instructor, to do some Zumba videos just for you TFG readers! But these aren't just regular Zumba videos, like the ones I've posted in the past.

In these videos, Carlos goes through two different songs, and there are two parts to each song. The first song is Shakira's Waka Waka and the other one is a fun, fast-paced salsa song called Los Campeones de la Salsa. In the first part, Carlos breaks down the choreography and explains the steps, and the second part is the entire song with all of the choreography.

So, without further ado, let's welcome Carlos to TFG!!

Hope you enjoyed the videos as much as I did! If you are interested in seeing more of Carlos's Zumba, there are a ton of videos on youtube of him teaching (just search Carlos Tapia Zumba).

Thanks again, Carlos!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stuff I Like.

Some stuff I like:

1. Cheap pizza dough.

I got this from Fresh & Easy for $1.49. It makes one large pizza crust, and the only other things you need are pizza sauce and toppings of choice. 

Homemade pizza sauce: tomato paste + water to thin it out + salt/pepper/oregano + olive oil

2. Pizza in general.

Especially with artichokes. 
3. Dessert.

Chocolate cupcakes topped with mocha buttercream.
I wish I could say I made the cupcakes, but I didn't. I did, however, eat way too many of them in a 24 hour span. Moderation fail. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just shakin' it.

I have another video teaser for you.

Hope ya don't mind. But it's pretty hilarious.

If you like watching guys dance, you're in luck. If you like watching girls dance, you're also in luck.

Win-win situation over here!!

Like I said, I have some cool stuff coming up soon. And by soon, I mean Friday. So in the mean time, feel free to shake it with this video. (The video quality is a million times better than the blooper I posted the other day, if it gives you any incentive to watch!).


Monday, July 18, 2011


I love having such eventful days during summer!! It really makes me realize how un-mundane my life is.

Today, I leisurely woke up at 8:00AM. (Save the commentary on how early I wake up. That's not the point of the story). At 8:15AM, I found out I was to teach a Zumba class at 9:45AM. 

So much for a leisurely morning. The leisurely morning quickly became a sweat-fest morning. Fun times!

Speaking of eventful, the TFG Android App has been updated a lot a lot. I hope the a lot was emphasized enough. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the newest version. It includes not just a list of ingredients for your favorite recipes (which will be changed often) but also audio! Yours truly (me) tells you exactly what to do for each recipe. So for those of you who have Androids, head on over to the TFG Mobile page and download the newest version! Please? :) for the moment you've all been waiting for. Finally, a new recipe! 

*Applause* *Whistles* *Shouts of appreciation*

I've made veggie burgers before, but this veggie burger is definitely the best I've made-- not just in terms of taste, but also in terms of nutritious value. Success^2!

The Falafel-esque Veggie Burger

Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked millet
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Ever seen millet before?

This little grain is the star of the show. If it seems weird to you, it's not. I promise. 

Cook the millet by mixing 1 cup millet + 2 cups water in a pot. Allow it to come to a boil, then turn down the heat slightly until the water has been completely absorbed. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, defrost the frozen spinach. Then pour the garbanzo beans into the bowl and mash.

Make sure there is still some texture left in the garbanzo beans!

Add the ground flax (I usually grind whole flax seeds in the blender), nutritional yeast, and olive oil.

Then add the millet and seasonings. Mix well.

Heat up a skillet on the stove. Form the mixture into balls, then place them on the skillet and flatten them slightly with a spatula. The patties will brown and crisp up a little.

Stack 'em up!

I ate these by filling them inside pita pockets with some baba ghanoush, lettuce, tomato, and sriracha.

SO good! And I promise, no one will ever know these are vegan, gluten-free, or that they contain a grain called millet. 

Interested in that baba ghanoush recipe? That's another recipe for another eventful day!