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Crazy Sexy Kitchen

By Chad Sarno, October 30, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chad Sarno

Crazy Sexy KitchenChad Sarno is R&D Chef and Culinary Educator for Whole Foods Market®’s Health Starts Here program. Through the intersection of clean food and culinary education, Chad shares his passion for helping others achieve their health goals, starting in the kitchen, one bite at a time. His new cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, co-authored with Kris Carr, is available now. Read on for a recipe from the book and a chance to win a copy.

I’ve always been fascinated by food. As a child, I adored being my mom’s sous-chef, manning my station on a stool pulled up to the stove. My mom and my Italian grandma, Nana, loved to create elaborate meals highlighting the freshest ingredients. When I recall my fondest memories of Nana, I remember family gatherings filled with delicious, rustic, real food. These meals shaped the foodie I am today. Just like most kids though, despite the fresh food put on the table at home, I had a love affair with processed dairy and sugar.

During my childhood, I was asthmatic. I was the kid who had severe asthma attacks at school and on the sports field. Slightly traumatizing? Ah, yeah, definitely. Little did I know that my diet was the culprit. After years of paralyzing attacks and pockets full of inhalers, I finally connected the dots between my health and my diet. In my late teens, I started hearing about how dairy products can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Determined to kick asthma out of my life, I broke off the romance and eliminated dairy products from my diet. Within six months, my asthma disappeared. This was my experience and while it may not be the answer for everyone with asthma it was my personal wake-up call, my “a-ha! moment,” the reset button that made me hungry for more answers and led me to a diet that revolved around plant foods.

As a young adult, I started exploring the world, traveling far and wide to work, study, and seek the guidance of leaders in plant-based medicine and culinary arts. My vagabond tour of duty took me zigzagging across the country and to different parts of the globe. From the mystical redwood forests of California to the rural villages of the Philippines, I experienced life and culture through real, honest food. As a result of my extensive travel, life-schooling, cooking, and now teaching, I have learned that you don’t need to sacrifice outstanding taste for health.

By eating animal-free, whole foods, I’ve experienced a level of vitality, energy, and health that continues to humble me today. I’ve seen firsthand the remarkable results that my friends, family, and fellow team members at Whole Foods Market® have experienced with the plant-based lifestyle. As we all can begin to discover through conscious food choices, our forks are our greatest tool for activism and there’s no better way to take a stance than to learn how to triumph in the kitchen, one bite at a time.

Today, you can go on your own journey to vibrant health with Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Over the past year, I’ve been working with Kris Carr, best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer thriver, to create this phenomenal cookbook.

Take a look at the behind-the-scenes “making of” Crazy Sexy Kitchen mini-documentary and experience the wild ride we took together (and the delicious food we ate!) while writing, cooking, and tasting the year away. Here’s one of those recipes for you to try now:

For a taste of what’s between those pages, here’s a sweet, comfort-food recipe from the book:

 

French ToastFrench Toast with Amaretto Crème

Serves 6

Amaretto Crème

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours to overnight in water (to soften)

1 can coconut milk (for raw version, blend 1⁄2 cup coconut meat with 1 cup coconut water)

1⁄2 cup nondairy milk of choice

1⁄2 cup amaretto liquor

1⁄2 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped

1⁄4 cup agave

Pinch of sea salt

French Toast

1⁄2 cup raw almond butter or cashew butter

11⁄2 cups vanilla almond milk

1⁄4 cup whole spelt flour

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1⁄4 cup maple syrup or date paste
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg powder

1⁄2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Sea salt, to taste

Whole-grain baguette or your favorite whole-grain bread (whole-grain cinnamon raisin bread is superb as well)

3 tablespoons Earth Balance or any vegan butter

Garnish

Fresh berries

Toasted pecans (optional)

 

1. Prepare Amaretto Crème: In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

2. Prepare French Toast: In a medium bowl, whisk the almond butter, almond milk, flour, yeast, cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt to make the batter, or blend ingredients in blender until smooth. Set aside.

3. Slice the baguette or other bread in thick slices. Dip bread slices into batter. Allow each slice to sit in the batter for a minute, which helps it absorb more.

4. Add tablespoon vegan butter to a flat pan, flat grill, or large sauté pan on medium heat. Once melted, add battered bread slice. Add additional tablespoon of vegan butter for each bread slice. (It’s okay if the slices are wet with lots of batter—this is what creates the delicious crust.)

5. Cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with spatula, and cook other side until lightly golden.

6. Serve: Drizzle Amaretto Crème on while French Toast is still warm and top with a generous handful of fresh berries and pecans.

 

If you’d like to sample more Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipes, sign up for a digital sneak peek right now!

You can also join Kris and I in the kitchen through our online Crazy Sexy Cooking Classes, which were filmed at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center at the Bowery store in NYC. And don’t miss out on all the outstanding offers we’ve put together for those who purchase Crazy Sexy Kitchen! (Get your copy soon, these offers are available for a limited time.)

I’d love to know what inspires you and gets you cooking? Tell me in the comments below by November 14 and we’ll pick five readers at random to receive a copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends November 14, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

 

506 Comments

Comments

aubresch says ...
I used to think sweets, cheeses and (worst of all!) breads were my enemy, taunting me and demanding to be consumed. And then I spent a year living in Italy. I went from an obese teenager with multitudinous ailments (migraines, frequent vomiting, dark velvety patches of skin known as acanthosis nigricans but which simply looks like dirt) to chef. The more involved I have become in my own food preparation the more I've lost weight (70lbs and counting). Food is not my enemy any more, it is my accomplice, my medicine, my community-builder. Plants have turned around my digestive problems and cleared my migraines, bread has been the centerpiece of many friendships (indeed, my husband and I are thinking of changing our names to "Mangiapane", bread eater). The more I do my own preparation, learn my own ingredients, the more I savor and appreciate my meals. And the more those meals give me life.
10/30/2012 9:10:56 AM CDT
Nicole-Lynn says ...
Great giveaway! That books looks fun! Cookbooks, Pinterest and blogs inspire me to get cooking! I love finding new ideas and ways to cook things! My husband loves it too! :) Thanks for the opportunity. Seasidesmitten@aol.com
10/30/2012 9:33:47 AM CDT
Judy says ...
I like cooking for others. The happiness that comes with making someone smile is priceless, and food is an easy way to bring a smile to someone's face.
10/30/2012 11:03:38 AM CDT
Archena says ...
Cooking was something I have always enjoyed since I was 12 now 41. Indian Vegetarian first and then other cuisines. I have been looking to keep my cooking healthy and natural and keep looking for new ways and new recipes all the time.
10/30/2012 11:03:50 AM CDT
Raeanne Wright says ...
I'm so excited to read this book! At a time in my life when I was struggling to find direction in my career, I briefly worked as a prep cook at a vegan deli. At the time, I wasn't even vegetarian (yet!), but my short stint in the culinary world opened my eyes to the possibilities of cooking with whole, healthy foods. Today, I am inspired by the seasonal produce at my local markets and love to challenge myself to use up every perishable item in the fridge before venturing out to buy more. When my husband says, "There's no food in the house," I love proving him wrong by crafting a delicious meal out of the scarce items remaining. For me, it's both fun and economical!
10/30/2012 11:33:38 AM CDT
nik says ...
I'm inspired by the kids because I want them to grow up healthy and strong and eating organic whole foods cooked in delicious vegan dishes. And I'm also astounded and inspired by superyumful recipes like this that open up whole new ideas of creativity in the kitchen. Thanks so much for sharing this! :)
10/30/2012 11:36:00 AM CDT
Chris says ...
Easy-to-make vegan recipes that me and my family will enjoy. We've been exploring different uses for our blender (green smoothies!) and experimenting with baking snacks for our 2-year old that are both healthy and delicious.
10/30/2012 12:17:25 PM CDT
Food Source Online says ...
Blogs! The pictures are always enough to inspire me to, you know, actually get up and go to the store. And cooking is a great way to wrap up a Sunday night and have delicious food the rest of the week.
10/30/2012 12:32:30 PM CDT
Elizabeth Wingfield says ...
Looks amazing. I have a sexy vegetarian I would love to cook for, don't know a lot about that......
10/30/2012 12:33:38 PM CDT
Cassandra Snow says ...
The thought of nourishing others, as well as myself while forming bonds over delicious food inspires me greatly; so do health gurus like Kris Carr!
10/30/2012 12:33:47 PM CDT
Shylo says ...
Really looking forward to more Kris Carr!
10/30/2012 12:34:51 PM CDT
Steve Seckinger says ...
I love creating fun-to-eat foods for kids that are energizing for them and support their active days!
10/30/2012 12:34:54 PM CDT
Kayla says ...
what inspires me to get cooking is when i want to re-create popular recipes that are tailored to my dietary needs! if i see something at a restaurant or on a blog that looks delicious, i always ask myself: "can i re-create this grain, dairy and sugar-free so i can enjoy it?!" that gets me innovative in the kitchen!
10/30/2012 12:36:04 PM CDT
kim says ...
loving it! please enter me for a free copy?
10/30/2012 12:37:55 PM CDT
Tanya Andrusic says ...
I get inspired by: getting lost in the cookbook section at the library; dining and drinking wine and craft beers and cocktails at local, independent restaurants and then trying to duplicate my favorites at home; and by my favorite pastime--food shopping! Some girls spend hours at the mall, I can spend hours at Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, and any of my local farmers' markets!
10/30/2012 12:38:10 PM CDT
Catarina says ...
What inspires me to cook? It's the feeling that I'm creating something special with my own hands. I know a lot about food and nutrition, and it makes me feel amazing to create a healthy, hearty, delicious meal that I know is good for my body.
10/30/2012 12:39:18 PM CDT
Meera says ...
I've recently become a vegan after being a vegetarian for 15 years. What inspires me to cook is the thought of certain aromas and flavors. A plant based diet can be easy and delicious! I love learning new recipes and experiencing flavors from all over the world. I'm an experimental cook so once I'm armed with spices, I do my best to create the most delicious and exciting meal.
10/30/2012 12:40:22 PM CDT
Shannon C. says ...
Staying healthy is what inspires me to cook. I want to know what's in the food I eat.
10/30/2012 12:40:50 PM CDT
Elwood says ...
I get inspiration from trying to create dishes that even my most conivorous friends will enjoy
10/30/2012 12:41:23 PM CDT
Suzanne Rodgers says ...
Fresh, colorful, creative and taste! That's what inspires me to cook and eat.
10/30/2012 12:42:04 PM CDT
StephGG says ...
As a cancer survivor and now Mom, I am more inspired to cook than ever! I can make better choices for myself and my family and control what we are eating- real food! Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to try some of these great recipes.
10/30/2012 12:42:18 PM CDT
Lauren says ...
I'm often inspired by one ingredient...right now it is pumpkin!
10/30/2012 12:42:24 PM CDT
Curtis says ...
My family inspires my cooking.
10/30/2012 12:44:00 PM CDT
Caitlin says ...
The seasons inspire my cooking! When it starts to get nice and cold out I tend to crave warm, hearty dinners, like roasted root veggies or sweet potato lentil stew, mmm :)
10/30/2012 12:44:35 PM CDT
Kristina says ...
The best result from cooking is making something special that others love. Just a little extra time and thought show how much you care.
10/30/2012 12:44:54 PM CDT

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