They Call Me Salad Spinner….

So, we’re in January of a new year. This means a couple of things: 1. It’s cold in Chicago and 2. People start to care about their weight/health again.  I originally did this healthy food event in tandem with my Spin Guru, Coach Extraordinaire (I’m hoping all this flattery will result in some free classes LBVVS), Owner/Instructor of Cycle Therapy Cycle Therapy .  I truly enjoy the class and it really has become a big part of my life. I’ve even dropped a few pounds thanks to this particular class! I’ve got a few more to drop, but whatevs….

A nyway, my real point is that most times we exercise and don’t eat right. It’s kind of hard when you like food and many of the choices for healthy food taste too… damned…. healthy! Since I like to eat (obvs) and I am an actual chef (which always helps), I thought it would be cool to create some delicious, healthy recipes for folks like me (and you, I meant to say you first)!

I made my smoothie a star(fruit)!

I always enjoy a good smoothie as I’m sure you do. Sometimes, we misinterpret “smoothies”.  Just because it came out of a blender, doesn’t make it a smoothie. Sometimes it’s really a milkshake or a slushie or frozen wine! I love this particular Green Smoothie Drink, because it incorporates fruit and vegetables.  This way, you get some chlorophyll in your life, but you’re not a fanatic about it ya know?

Raw Collard Salad at Spin For Your Life Event


B aby, I like it raw! Nowadays kale salads are the shizz, but what if we actually tried something that was just as healthy but a tad different?  I know that kale is super nutritious, but so are collard greens! Yes, the same collard greens that your (or your friend’s) Grandma cooks for hours on the stove with smoked meat until super tender. Did you know you could eat them raw? Yes, raw meaning uncooked. They are more tender than you think and are a great substitution for any recipe that calls for kale. To prove this, I made the Marinated Collard Greens Salad. Both kale and collards are in the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage). And collard greens have been found to lower cholesterol (blood levels of LDL cholesterol). Also, they are one of the cheapest vegetables to buy! This is one way to eat healthy without it hitting you in the pocket.

Roasted Nori Popcorn can be made all fancy like and served in bamboo or paper cones

W hat’s poppin? Well, popcorn of course! I know I am corny, but just deal with it! Did you see what I did there? I said corny! LOL  I wanted to incorporate snacks into the event, because everyone loves to snack.  Sometimes though, we don’t make the best snack choices.  I love popcorn and while there are many types to choose from out there I still longed for something different so I made Roasted Nori Popcorn. This is a good upgraded popcorn snack you can enjoy alone or serve to your bourgie ass friends when they come over for movie night at your house. This one is sweet and salty in a new  way.  I added a little curry to the oil before popping and brought the salty/sweet aspect with roasted seaweed and coconut. It may sound strange, but it’s all sorts of awesomeness.  Just try it, will ya!

Toasted Quinoa with Apricots and Pistachios From ancient grain to modern dish


Q ueenoa is that girl you went to high school with…. But right now, I’m talking about quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah).  For the event, I made Toasted Quinoa with Apricots and Pistachios. Quinoa, like kale, is an old school food that has gained popularity again.  In fact, quinoa is so damned old that it is considered an ancient grain!  It’s made a comeback, because it has quite a bit of fiber and also is an easy way to add more protein into your diet.  I like to use it in place of rice for just this reason, but you could also cook some and sprinkle it on your salad for a protein punch. In this case, I have made it into a tasty chilled salad that actually could also be served hot as a vegan entrée or super dope side dish. I added a touch of sweetness with dried apricots which also amp up the fiber and some earthiness with my favorite nut, pistachios.

A spoonful of Spiced Pumpkin Seeds beats a handful of salt

W hen I was a kid, people used to eat seeds by the handful whether it be sunflower or pumpkin.  The problem was that they were so laden with salt that to wash them down you needed some kind of fizzy, sugary beverage.  I needed to update this for a healthy snack of today.  I chose to make Spiced Pumpkin Seeds this time.  Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits such as: fiber, protein, boosts your immunity and have a ton of numerous vitamins and minerals. They contain a type of carbohydrate that prevents constipation and helps with digestion.  If you lean on the vain side like the YumDiva, then I can tell you that they also are very good for your skin and hair (I mean…if you care about that sort of thing, which if you do, I bet you think this blog is about you….don’t you?).

Squash, anyone? Vegetable Crudités with Roasted Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Dip and a Whole Grain Chip garnish

S quashing the game is my take on a vegetable crudités with dip!  I know how you just love your ranch dressing. But how about you just ruined any semblance of healthiness in your raw veggies with that admittedly delicious, rich, fatty, artery clogging sauce that you just poured all over them? That’s not cool, but you know what is? Yep, that’s right; a dip that not only enhances the flavor of the veggies but it also contains a ton of fiber and you can eat it with apples, pears or healthy chips! I made,for the event, a Roasted Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Dip.  I love butternut squash for the taste first of all. It reminds me of a punk ass sweet potato. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, is protein rich and has a bunch of vitamins and minerals. By incorporating hazelnuts, I added a good source of vitamin B6. Hazelnuts have properties that prevent cancer and help with muscle recovery and fatigue.  Both hazelnuts and butternut squash are heart healthy, which means you can love me all the more for this recipe. Aww, I love you too (In my Michael Jackson at The Grammy’s voice)! LOL

S o, in the end it was a great day! There was fun exercise, amazing healthy food and I wish you had been there.  Well, you weren’t, so that’s why I’m telling you about it. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll give these recipes a try. And if you’re in Chi-Town, stop by Cycle Therapy and give me a wave. I’ll race you there!