Thursday, September 29, 2011


You're probably wondering what I've been eating for dinner all week. Remember that week in a day thing I've been doing? I didn't get around to posting it

Let's ignore the fact that it's THURSDAY. Maybe now that I'm posting it at the end of the week, you'll get a chance to make this on Sunday. Maybe I secretly waited this long because I was trying to be helpful.

You're welcome.

I guess I should also give you the back story on this recipe. I had a vision. The vision didn't play out as I had envisioned. Despite that small detail, I thought it was still quite the success! Lots of you tell me you're afraid of cooking because "what if it doesn't come out right?!". My answer: you can always fix it.

Exhibit A.

Crispy Quinoa "Patties" with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup juice pulp*
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (or 2-3 eggs)
  • 1/2 chopped green chili
  • 2 regular sized cans diced tomatoes*
  • ~8 mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • salt, pepper, oregano

*If you don't have juice pulp, you could use a combination of grated carrots, finely chopped spinach or bell pepper, and parsley.

*I used cans of diced tomatoes with green chilis. This was SPICY. In the best way possible, of course.

Cook the quinoa (1 cup quinoa + two cups water, boil, cook, and let cool). I added a pinch of salt and 1/2 chopped green chili after it had cooled. Set this aside.

(If you want to multi-task, do the following while the quinoa is cooking...)

Saute the chopped mushrooms and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the diced tomatoes to the mushrooms, then season with some salt, pepper, and oregano.

Sauce = done. Easy.

Make sure the quinoa has cooled completely, and then stir in the egg whites and juice pulp. 

Heat up a skillet with some vegetable oil, form the quinoa mixture into patties, and place on the skillet.

Here's where it got a little tricky.

Flip the patties once cooked on the first side.

So...some of the patties didn't make it out alive. In fact, most of them didn't. They didn't stay together in patty form like I expected them to.

I made the best of a bad situation by doing this:

I ended up cooking it like this, and just flipping portions of this flat...thing. I kind of preferred this, because the quinoa became nice and crispy in some portions! Chewy quinoa with a hint of crispiness. Nice.

*Note: the reason I had to re-cook the quinoa was because egg whites were involved.*

Serve quinoa "patties" with the tomato/mushroom sauce.

Wait! Don't forget the cheese!

Mmm. Much better.

I actually have been eating this with some yogurt on the side because it is THAT spicy. I don't mind sweating while eating my dinner. (Unlike during breakfast. I don't know why, don't question these things).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hey there, punkin.

It's no secret that I enjoy making lists just for the sake of crossing stuff off the lists. Funnily enough, if I keep track of my to-do list in my head, it's less likely that I'll get it done. But when I write it down, I end up completing it just because I know I get to cross each task off.

Weird...I know. But it works! So this weekend, I made a workout list for the week.

I recently forgot about BodyRock and I'm sad that I did, because if you ask me, it is the most convenient way to workout. Each workout is 20 minutes or less but they really work you hard. (This is the one I did on Sunday). While I do BodyRock I just blast some fast-paced or super hardcore music on Pandora and 20 minutes later I'm drenched in sweat. Not a bad deal!

As for yoga, I've been following random youtube videos or doing just my own thing for the past few weeks. But last week, I bought a Groupon for some classes at a yoga studio. I love Groupon.

So...I promised you a themed post. Just promise me one thing...

Don't think of me as a cliche blogger!! Now that I've said that, you've probably guessed what ingredient this themed post is focused on.

PUMPKIN! (Even though you probably guessed from the title. Whatev).

I couldn't help it. Pumpkin recipes were popping up all over the place, and I wanted to join in on the fun. So I bought a large can of pureed pumpkin.

There are lots of ways to use pumpkin, but I really wanted to perfect a bowl of overnight pumpkin oats. (It's still too hot for hot oats and I hate sweating when I'm eating breakfast).

Oh and if you can't tell, most of the following pictures were taken when it was still dark outside. Yeah. I wake up at the crack of dawn. Actually, I wake up before the crack of dawn.

Pumpkin oats bowl #1:

The overnight bowl included pureed pumpkin, 1/2 cup oats, about 1 cup milk almond milk, and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In the morning, I made some banana soft serve and scooped it on top of the oats. I like to call this pumpkin pie a la mode!

Pumpkin oats bowl #2:

The overnight preparation was the same as #1 with the addition of 1 tablespoon chia seeds. Also, instead of the pumpkin pie spice I used cinnamon. In the morning, I topped this bowl with almond butter. I was obviously trying to get some protein in this particular morning. Obviously.

Pumpkin oats bowl #3:

Same as #2, but this time I topped it with almond butter and plain yogurt. AND WE FOUND A WINNER!

I don't know why but I've suddenly become a fan of this pumpkin + yogurt combination. Ever since bowl #3, I've been eating overnight pumpkin oats topped with just plain yogurt. Every. Day. (Until I run out of pumpkin). I'll probably get sick of it soon.

Oh and then this weekend I made pumpkin french toast, just to switch things up a little. A girl needs some change in life.

How do you make pumpkin french toast, you ask? It's easier than you think. I mixed pumpkin puree with egg whites and a splash of milk, dipped the bread in that mixture, and heat it on the skillet until slightly crispy. And then topped the french toast with almond butter and maple syrup. Another winner!!

I just realized that I've been consuming a lot of orange lately.

Carrot juice. I will never get sick of my juicer!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Juicing extravaganza.

I've had a little "wish list" going for awhile...and I finally bought the item that's been number one on the list.

Let me introduce you to my new JUICER!

You can't really tell from the picture, but it's super cute and small. Just the right size for it to fit on my counter!

I was so excited to break it in, I went and bought all kinds of produce. Including 5 lbs of carrots! (It was only 50 cents more to buy 5 lbs versus 3 why not?!). For my first juicing experience, I made it super simple with a few carrots, a couple of cups of spinach, a small handful of parsley, and two sticks of celery.

A few minutes later, vegetable juice. 

The downside: figuring out what to do with the pulp.

I refuse to waste this stuff! It's still veggie, but just a little dry. After some Googling, I think I've decided what to do with it. For now, it's sitting in the fridge.

And as for the juice? I drank it up in 3 seconds. The carrot made it so sweet and the parsley gave it a touch of spice. Yumyum.

A few hours later, I was feeling a cold coming on. Ironically, I had been looking up juicer recipes and one of them was a juice for treating the common cold. As you already know, (and if you don't, you will now) I hate taking medicine. And I really like learning how different dietary combinations can help treat illnesses!

For my second juice, I used red cabbage, romaine lettuce, 1 inch of ginger, half a lemon (with peel!), and carrot. I'd like to think it actually worked. But really, I did feel a bit better. Instant vitamins!

Speaking of things I bought recently...guess what else I got?

3 LBS of chia seeds! I got an awesome deal on Amazon. It's going to take me two years to finish it. The package also came with these tiny sample bags.

I've never tried white chia seeds before, so I was definitely excited about this. I don't know why I got a sample bag of regular chia seeds. As if I didn't buy enough.

I have a themed post coming up soon! Hold onto your seats...there's gonna be a LOT of one ingredient in there. Can you guess what it is? Hint: it's not chia seeds.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Blogiversary!

Can you believe it!?

One year ago, I started this blog. One YEAR! I would have made a cake to celebrate, but considering I work all day long, no cake baking happened. However, I can say that some Ferrero Rocher eating happened.

I kind of feel like this is the better alternative anyway. :)

So...a lot has happened this past year. Shall we re-cap?

TFG and friends: lots of guests helped me cook delicious meals! Here, here, here, and here.

Speaking of guests, I featured a couple of very special guests. A Costa Rican chef and a fantastic Zumba instructor.

Speaking of Zumba, when I first started my blog, I was not a huge fan. I thought it wasn't enough of a workout (especially compared to my favorite TurboKick!!). Then I really began to enjoy it. And somewhere in between I also got certified to teach Zumba.

I talked fitness. And made some entertaining yet educational videos, too. And eventually put them all on youtube.

A TFG Android app was made. (Don't worry, the iPhone app is on its way soon!)

Of course, we can't forget the delicious food I ate, made, and talked excessively about. Despite the fact that it might have sometimes been a bit too "weird" for you. Or too fibrous. Or too full of chia seeds.

And who knew that my pop'ums would become so popular? Not I.

I guess I just want to say a big thank you to every single one of you who has kept TFG going strong for a year, (I'm never joking when I say to give me your ideas. I like to steal them...seriously) and I sure hope you stick around for another year of my shenanigans!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Make-ahead meals. Part II.

Since my last post, I have been working hard to squeeze my workouts in! In case you were concerned.

I've also been working hard to write my blog posts more regularly. Dear readers, please forgive me as I work to improve my time management. But I must say that I'm slowly but surely getting used to sitting all day. I've found that it helps to get out during the lunch hour just to get my circulation back to normal.

All drama aside, I'm still cooking in bulk on the weekends to ensure that little effort should be made for my weekday meals. As boring as it sounds to eat the same thing every night for dinner, it's actually not! I've also been freezing some random meals here and there just to change things up when I feel like it. 

Speaking of freezing things, the freezer is my best friend (as I mentioned before). I love how I don't have to race against time to finish my produce when it's frozen. Not being dramatic about this one. 

As I was saying, bulk cooking! My latest is nothing fancy, but it definitely goes a long way. 

(I had a suggestion to write my recipes written out like traditional recipes, so I will be incorporating that format today!)

Egg "Fried" Brown Rice

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
  • Assorted vegetables of choice (ex: spinach, broccoli, carrot)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce (or more, depending on desired taste)

Cook the rice and set aside. In a separate skillet, scramble the eggs and set this aside.

In another pot or large skillet, heat the oil (medium heat) and add the ginger. After the ginger becomes more fragrant (takes about a minute), add the vegetables. Stir-fry the vegetables in the oil until they have cooked. Then, add the cooked rice to this ginger/vegetable mixture and then add the scrambled eggs. Season with rice vinegar and soy sauce and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve with chili paste or hot sauce.

This took less than an hour to make and my entire week's worth of dinners was complete! If you're feeling adventurous, you could definitely make a couple of sides to go with this. I usually just eat a small dessert afterwards :).

What's your favorite make-ahead meal? And do you like the traditional recipe format or the step-by-step with pictures that I usually do? Don't be shy! You guys are the most important part of my blog, so I really like hearing your opinions/suggestions!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Appreciation day.

I have a new-found appreciation for people who work full-time and still manage to workout on a consistent basis. Because seriously, my workouts are extremely inconsistent these days. It would probably help if I were teaching some aerobics classes, but I'm not. I've also been holding out on getting a gym membership because there's a gym at work. With fitness classes. And TAI CHI.

YEAH. I know, I shouldn't even be complaining. But someone, please explain to me why sitting for 8-9 hours a day makes me so exhausted? It just does not add up.

Today, I got my workout in by jumping around to some aerobics videos on youtube. As long as it's fun and I'm sweating, it works for me! If only I could make this happen every day.

As far as eating goes, I've still been maintaining the healthy diet. (Of course!). So I thought today, I'd share with you some of my insight on eating healthy on a busy schedule.

Breakfast: overnight oats.

Overnight oats are the BEST for busy mornings. And I'm sure you have the main ingredients on hand: oats and milk. Nowadays, to keep myself full longer, I add in some chocolate protein powder. I mix the oats, milk, and protein powder in a bowl the night before and keep it in the fridge. To make it even more substantial, you can always add some nut butter or fruit in the morning. Lately, I've been blending frozen banana + frozen cherries (aka cherry-banana softserve!) and adding it to the top of my overnight oats. So delicious, and it keeps me full until lunch time. Oh, and I always complement my breakfast with a side of green tea. Always!

Moving on to lunch, I've found that the key is to bring lunch. It's so easy to wake up a few minutes later and not have to worry about packing a lunch. And sometimes, eating out sounds a million times better than boring packed food. But I promise, it's worth it!! I've found that I feel so much better during the afternoon when I eat my own food versus when I eat out.

For lunch, I've been doing a variety of things. Sometimes, it's leftover dinner items with a side salad and some fruit. Other times, it's a sandwich. Today, I had this awesome idea.

Whole grain bread + laughing cow swiss cheese + tomato paste + spinach. I was so proud of my idea to use tomato paste as a spread.

I don't know about you, but sitting all day makes me hungry for snacks. So I also pack snacks. Lately, I'm on this weird frozen snack kick.

It could be the humidity. I don't know. All I know is that I like sticking things in the freezer to see how they turn out.

Snack Exhibit A: frozen grapes.

Try it! They taste like sweet ice cubes. I don't recommend them if you have sensitive teeth though. Biting into one gives you a bit of a shock the first time!

Snack Exhibit B: frozen yogurt.

Literally. Frozen yogurt! It doesn't taste like ACTUAL frozen yogurt, but I think it's a good way to add some variety to my snack stash.

Hopefully this helps, for those of you who work full-time and can't seem to get into the healthy groove. But for those of you on top of your game and are able to squeeze your daily workout in, please enlighten me as to how you do this?! 

Monday, September 12, 2011


I was typing up a post which was to compile the photos from the eating out I did this summer. Only to look through my food pictures folder and find that I deleted all of the pictures I didn't use.

Big fail. (Anyone get my failblog reference? Hah!)

I'm pretty sure I deleted those pictures because they were blurry, so maybe it worked out in the end.

Luckily, I've eaten out a few times recently. Hopefully that makes up for the enormous restaurant review that was once this post. 

First up: the most interesting vegetarian sushi I've ever had, which happened to be from Tokyo Bowl.

From left to right: sweet rice inside a tofu pocket, yam tempura/avocado roll, shitake mushroom roll. 

SO GOOD! This coming from someone who isn't the biggest fan of vegetarian sushi...because really, it's always the same.

Next: a very intriguing pizza place called Bombay Pizza Co.

This pizza included the usual tomato/basil/mozzarella, as well as paneer, chutney, and "Bombay pizza sauce." Not only were the toppings so unusual (and of course delicious), but the crust was as thin as a cracker. I LOVED it!! My only complaint was that the paneer was really lacking. Literally...I didn't even find any on the pizza. So sad.

Next, let's talk sweets from La Madeleine.

This was a gigantic crepe with a cream sauce and fresh strawberries. Yeah. I ate it so fast I didn't realize how heavy that cream sauce was. Ouch. But it was worth it!

Since we're on the topic of sweet breakfasts, let's conclude with a pancake I recently made. I've been on a pancake spree ever since I bought a box of whole grain pancake mix. 

I like to top my pancakes with almond butter and real maple syrup...but this time instead of the maple syrup I made a strawberry+peach compote. Sounds fancy, but really all I did was microwave the fruit in a bowl and then mash them. 

And now, I'm off to resolve a huge problem. I can't find chia seeds here. And I need them ASAP! Online shopping, here I come!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's been awhile...

Apparently I've lost all of my time management skills! Transitioning back to full days has been tough. Especially after doing NOTHING for the past couple of months.

Sigh. I miss those days. 

Needless to say, I haven't done much this past week besides work. And then I attempted to have a social life this weekend. 

Let's just say that blogging has taken a back seat. But never fear, TFG is back!!

All week I've been eating lasagna for dinner and some kind of really quick lunch. I packed my lunch the past couple of days, which was just a spinach salad

along with an almond butter sandwich, a fruit, and some nuts for a snack.

I've been eating a lot of salad lately, but only because I realized that the vegetables in my fridge were soon going to turn mushy. Gross.

So I've been spicing up the salads a little. Have you ever seen this before?

Meatless AND soy-free! These are actually made of mycoprotein which is found in mushrooms. I'm a fan. I added it to this huge salad a few days ago along with some roasted chickpeas. 

My other favorite way of using up vegetables is by making salsa. I also had some peaches that were getting a little squishy so I made peach salsa!

I also blended it a little to change up the consistency. Salsa is the best, you can basically include whatever you feel like/have on hand and then just stick it on a tortilla with some beans. Or you can just use chips like a normal person would. (Not me). 

I also included sweet potatoes and spinach on my tortilla. The corn+wheat kind--my new fav!

Enough salads/raw veggies for awhile. More dinners-in-a-day soon! (Not to be confused with Rachel Ray's Week In A Day).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day.

Today I had my first day of work. It was strangely reminiscent to a first day of school. It made me feel like less like an adult (which I apparently am) so I was a fan... despite the fact that the day was long. I need to get used to this.

But I must say that I'm excited to spend lots of time at work because there's a full gym there. I just can't seem to escape from fitness. Except that I haven't consistently worked out in a few weeks. Details.

Needless to say, I am so glad I baked an entire pan of lasagna last night. The last thing I wanted to do when I came home today was cook an extravagant meal. Fortunately, an extravagant meal was waiting for me in the fridge! How convenient.

Remember the time I made enchiladas filled with sweet potato/pinto bean/spinach puree? When I ate those, I was completely inspired to make lasagna with a similar filling. And that I did!

Warning: the pictures are pretty strange looking. Apparently I shouldn't cook at night because the lighting here is quite unfavorable for blogging. Regardless, this lasagna is absolutely tasty. And you should make it.

Creamy Sweet Potato Lasagna


  • 1 box whole grain lasagna 
  • pasta sauce*
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 small container part-skim ricotta
  • mozzarella cheese

*I made my own pasta sauce using the following ingredients:
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 cups frozen + thawed spinach
  • salt/pepper/oregano

For the sweet potato filling, I microwaved the sweet potato for 5-6 minutes, peeled it, then blended it with the ricotta.

I also used this fancy spelt lasagna which was another one of my foodie finds

I cooked the lasagna according to the directions on the box, and layered pasta sauce/lasagna/sweet potato mixture/mozzarella in some arbitrary order and baked it for 45 minutes.

I was so impatient during that 45 minutes, you have no idea.

But it was completely worth it, because now I can come home every day this week and have this fancypants meal waiting for me in the fridge. Ahh yeah.

I may have to feature a make-ahead meal every week. Not only for you, but also for me. But for now, I'm off to go vote for acts on America's Got Talent!! (Priorities).