Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

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.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

506 comments

Comments

CM says …

Love cookbools, look forward to read and using this new gem.

Bethany says …

I keep working to find recipes that my whole family loves, including my 3-year-old. I've had plenty of successes, and plenty of failures. I'd love a new plant-based cookbook to provide new ideas.

Chris W. says …

The weather inspires me to cook (or not cook). The smell of Fall in the air and I am ready to bake bread, make pasta dishes, casseroles and soups and stews. We love thick stews with hearty bread on cold nights.

Erika says …

This sounds like an amazing book! It would definately be a great compliment to my cookbook collection and it seems like it is just the kind of book that would be inspriring and keep me on track on my goal to be healthier!

Olga says …

The french toast with amaretto creme sounds so tasty! I would love to make more healthy, tasty recipes!!!! Thanks for thinking of us!!!!!

Karen Shaw says …

I have been considering becoming vegan and this book would put me on the right track. Books magazines my grams recipes and pinterest inspire me to try new things everyday

Martha M says …

Wow, i haven't tried french toast since going plant strong! ...So coming close to a year, I can't wait to try this recipe. I also have seen some amazing positive changes since learning to eat this way thanks to whole foods and their super classes. I've shed many pounds and did 3 triathlons this year. I feel almost a clarity in all my senses and can enjoy good healthy food without feeling guilty.

Lea Blackburn says …

I am passionate about cooking real nutritious food!l Live love EAT!

Joan says …

I recently changed to a "plant food only" vegan diet. It has been great finding and trying new recipes. Seasonal ingredients inspire me and knowing that the food will be healthy and it will be food my family and friends will enjoy. I would love to win this book!

Chris says …

I'm trying to eat more plant based meals, and your book sounds like the perfect helper.

Gail says …

A good recipe and fresh ingredients are all I need to want to cook!

Rebekah says …

Yuummyyyyyy

Katelyn Rose says …

I'm inspired by my amazing family cooks- my Italian grandma and my talented dad. I love recreating their recipes and baking desserts to go along. I love cooking for friends!

Katie says …

I moved to Austin 1 yr ago from Chicago, not the greatest selection of healthy foods. With so many fresh and diverse ingredients available to me now I absolutely love to cook. The recipes from WF website are awesome and I although I'm not a true vegan I absolutely love eating like one. Having some recipes on hand would be awesome! Plus, I just got married in July and if it were up to my husband we'd have PB&J every night. So, just one more reason to get in the kitchen and experiment!

Ellie Wells says …

My husband and baby daughter inspire me to cook healthy, tasty meals. I love going shopping with my daughter at Whole Foods to pick out healthy ingredients, and I look forward to having her help me in the kitchen when she gets a little older. It makes me happy when we can enjoy homemade meals as a family!

Athena Miller says …

I like watching cooking shows to learn cooking techniques and to learn about what people around the world eat.

Sarah says …

Cooking inspires and relaxes me...I love experimenting with new recipes and creating healthy meals for my family!!

Frances P. says …

We have lots of allergies....especially food ones...to deal with at our house...so I am a detective when it comes to food preparation....and my home economics major background is my good foundation that i have built on too.....I just look at a recipe and say...I know what I can substitute for that....saves a lots of reactions...it helps to shop at Whole Foods too!

Tulay Neal says …

I am looking forward to receiving this fun book.

Diane Michel says …

I would LOVE to get a copy of your book and start cooking! That's what is inspiring me! The pictures are gorgeous and I'd like to bite the book! I'd say that beautiful, organic, seasonal ingredients are what inspire me in the kitchen.

Dr Monica Rado says …

I loved the mini-documentary.

dee gulyassy says …

I just really want to win something!!

Abel says …

My daughter has always been my inspiration. When I was young, single and living with my brother in California, I could not care less about what I ate. I would work out and pick up whatever was on my way home from the gym. When my brother was diagnosed with leukemia, I noticed he would feel better the following day when we would eat simpler, less processed foods like rice and beans. While they were not convenient to make, the extra effort paid off. I still believe it kept him around longer to deny take out foods and drive thru meals. When I moved to Illinois and met my wife, she was accustomed to making fresh meals daily. Her upbringing taught her that a whole foods based diet of fresh vegetables, fruits and well-portioned additions of legumes and grains was better for longevity. Her father died at the age of 106. Unfortunately, while we wished for more children, we were only blessed with one, a daughter. She is my light and was sickly often as a child. Now that she is a young adult, she has adopted a vegan lifestyle, which at first I believed would cause her to become ill. She has proven me wrong and now both her mother and myself take guidance from her. She is the one who first introduced me to Kris Carr's story and we keep her book in our living room. Despite working two jobs, I make an effort to get hands on in the kitchen with my daughter once a week to produce a three course vegan meal that we can all enjoy in our lunch boxes throughout the week to follow. Regardless, I plan to order this book for my daughter for Christmas as a "Thank you" for being my inspiration, and for providing the family strength when her mother and I feel the most lost.

Amy Tong says …

My family truly inspires me and gets me cooking. I'm the official cook in the house and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to make sure I prepare tasty, fresh and healthy meals for my family every day. ;)

Dawn says …

I am inspired by my Southern California surroundings and the bountiful fresh produce we have here. I love going to all the local farmers markets for the freshest in season fruits and vegetables.

Kimberly says …

Things that make my mouth water AND are healthy and unprocessed - makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my body. I've been dying to make all these raw brownie recipes I've seen, and ones made with zucchini. So, yes the surprisingly healthy sweets, but also....well pretty much everything I've pinned onto pinterest. Lots of unique things (mashed cauliflower for example) and then also a lot of simple things. If only I had time to make them all!

Toni Williams says …

My inspiration to cooks always comes from the food I buy. Fresh fish and veggies from Whole Foods is a perfect start to something delicious .

nik says …

I'm inspired by online bloggers, from accomplished chefs to amateur cooks. Almost daily I find jaw-droppingly awesome recipes by so many people...foods I have never tasted, techniques I have never tried, combos I never would have thought of. Just makes me want to spend the day in the kitchen, playing and experimenting and discovering all sorts of new tastes and treats! Cheers!

SuzeD says …

Will be making the french toast this weekend. Love trying new recipes!

Kelly LeSage says …

What inspires me to get cooking is not only the hope of creating something super yummy but also knowing that I am putting my health first, and I am in charge of what goes into my body. I really enjoy making healthy food taste amazing!

Brian S. Bradley says …

I have evolved into the main cook at my house. I started with easy, processed food and now making food from scratch. I have changed from buying "whatever" to actually reading ingredients. I enjoy food and I savour each bite. I am inspired by research that shows our emotions are tied with the food we put in our bodies and I take responsibility for my choices.

Denise S. says …

Less than stellar health motivates me to cook! A whole foods, plant-based diet is my focus -- good for one's health and the environment.

Linda Kaars says …

Inspiration comes from many sources. Local, fresh food, seasonal changes are awe inspiring signals for foods. I could fill the space with many adjectives for food and season. But... the most inspiring is a heart-filled kitchen. Well-worn recipe books placed conveniently except the recipes are in memory and heart and tweaked as we are prone to do so. What is better than a meal cooked and shared with family and friends? What is the perfect meal? And how romantic can, cooking together be? if only to make finger food to share? So many, many thoughts and representations that food brings to our lives but one word might cover it all... LOVE!

Jackie C. says …

I find cooking very relaxing and rewarding at the same time.

Jenna says …

What inspires me to get cooking is taking dessert recipes and changing them into a healthy dessert. I use stevia and xylitol in substitute for sugar and coconut/almond flour for regular flour. I feel that I'm making a different in my family's health and well being. My husband also loves that I bake healthy and can't wait to see what I make next!

Carol Dukes says …

I've been vegetarian for years, but have recently begun experimenting with vegan recipes. Blogs and food demonstrations at Whole Foods inspire me to cook. This book looks wonderful!

Carol Edwards says …

What inspires me and gets me cooking is the bounty of fall fruits and vegetables fresh from the farm or orchard. Pumpkin risotto, butternut squash and sage pizza, roasted purple fingerling potatos and brussel sprouts, carrot parsnip or squash apple soup. The fall harvest along with shorter, cooler days have me happy to spend more time in the kitchen. Food-wise, it's my favorite time of year.

Kathi Hall says …

Everything about food and cooking inspires. LOVE IT!

Tara S says …

I am super inspired by beautiful photographs of all the finished food. Even if mine doesn't turn out exactly right....it's nice to have something to aim for!

molly says …

For me, savoring a meal isn't just about the consumption--it's also in the preparation. More often than not, I welcome food cravings inspired by memories and experiences, and look forward to planning a time to cook whatever's been on my mind. Cooking with a partner is even better; the prospect of sharing the kitchen and the food with someone offers even more incentive to act on my whims.

Denise says …

I am always looking for new tasty recipes that get my family eating more vegetables!

Catherine Dunn says …

I love reading cookbooks to get ideas for putting together a happy & healthy meal for my family. Yum!

Emily K says …

I'm inspired by my region's farmers! Look around the Delaware Valley and we have some of the most talented farmers nurturing some of the world's most beautiful produce out of the ground. You can't help but be inspired to cook up a delicious, whole meal!

Eileen Morse says …

What inspires me to get cooking is creating something tasty and healthy!

chris m says …

i am inspired by being around like minded folks who like to cook or just like to eat good food. the seasons and eating what is in season inspires me to be creative

Elizabeth says …

The pursuit of good health is what inspires me. I am determined to be healthy!

elsie says …

i really want to win this. but , IMHO, the term "crazy sexy" is wierd. as in crazy sexy cancer tips too

DaNeil says …

The pure pleasure of popping perfectly prepared food into my mouth is indeed all the inspiration I need.

Michael says …

That smell, and that very first bite of something... even when I'm cooking just for myself, it's THAT that moves me to cook amazing food, and share that with others (on my blog!)... Life is too short to eat bad food! That doesn't mean I don't have staples that are comfort food and aren't exactly "gourmet!" But, that first bite... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Vilma McGarry says …

I've been trying vegan recipes lately and can't wait to try this one. French toast is one of our favorite meals for breakfast. Thanks!

Pages