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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.

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506 comments

Comments

Dana says …

Beautiful photos of food that is as good for my body as it looks inspire me to get in the kitchen and create. That french toast looks amazing!

Lisa says …

My children inspire me. Fresh ingredients too!

penni says …

My cooking inspiration comes from my imagination and love of spontaneity and experimentation in the kitchen!

Bev says …

I'm inspired when I cook for others! :-)

Kendal Frank says …

Different Seasonal flavors and colors inspire me...I love cooking fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors and experimenting with new produce and flavor-combinations!

Naomi says …

There is nothing I love more than a visit to the farmers market and seein what great food you can create from what you find there. I feel good about what I'm eating, and what I feed others, both because you can taste the freshness and it makes you feel good to support local farms and business. I invite some friends over to share in the food goodness, and all is well with the world!

Sarena Marvin says …

I love trying new ideas and more and more am trying to get away from processed foods. wow...love the recipe posted and can't wait to try it!

Liz says …

The challenge of making favorite foods in new, healthier ways inspires me to find new recipes and try new techniques. My new favorite is making a "cream" sauce with cashews and soy milk! Thanks for highlighting a great book!

Mykala says …

As a personal trainer I am constantly finding new ways to eat healthy - hands down the best way is always cooking for yourself. I am always looking for new recipes to try out to give to all of my clients, as food and nutrition work alongside exercise. You cannot have one without the other and so I educate myself, tweek recipes here and there and share them with everyone I know. My friends are always coming to me for the latest, tastiest and of course healthiest meals.

Shannon collins says …

I would love to win a copy.

Bob Soxx says …

Great information. How can I get more education and knowledge?

Laura says …

After learning about the horrible and irresponsible treatment of animals in middle school I decided to become a vegetarian. This was not as popular of a way of thinking back then and frankly most people including my family thought I was nuts but my fiercely stubborn, animal loving heart didn't let anyone stop me! Life, however; has many seasons. During some of these seasons cooking or even eating right became difficult & so I have been on again off again vegetarian or pescetarian my whole life. Interestingly, my daughter also became a veggie for the 1st time in 7th grade (all on her own accord). My problem is never having been taught how to cook as a vegetarian properly. That, as we all know leads to GI problems and weight issues. I don't want my daughter to give up her beliefs on how to eat just because eating healthy "isn't convienant" & fall into the same on again off again trap I did. So, I'd love to learn to cook healthy WITH her!

CeCe Carson says …

The opportunity to feed others, at any level inspires & energizes me. To do so in a sustainable & life giving way is my highest priority.

Karin says …

Rainy days and childhood memories inspire me. I use those days to play around with moms recipes and turn them into my own. Then of course, I get even more inspired when I get to cook those for my friends

Lauren Bellamy says …

Fresh organic produce and meat inspires me. I love taking a few ingredients and turning it into a wonderfully complex meal that is in no way processed. In this day in age finding quality food in restaurants is a daunting task, I like knowing that when I cook I can leave out all the harmful ingredients.

Michelle says …

I love sharing food and feeding others nutritious and delicious meals with my cooking. Plus the satisfaction of feeling good after eating something both tasty & healthy is also another reason to get cooking instead of eating out. Excited to check out some new recipes from Crazy Sexy Kitchen!

Stacy says …

At first I started cooking to save money when I became a stay at home mom. Then my husband started a low carb diet so I really enjoy making new recipes that we both enjoy and creating my own recipes. He's lost 58 pounds and I am still scouring cookbooks and blogs to try new recipes! I love cooking now!

Lexes Hyatt says …

I've always loved cooking. It's a lifetime passion of mine, even as a little kid. When I would watch tv, I would get so excited about the cooking channel. More excited than watching cartoons. I would sit and watch cooking shows all day.

Debbie postman says …

To me cooking is taking a trip without leaving your house. You can visit different countries and cultures and learn so much .

Jesse ringaman says …

Ever since i was a kid i've loved reading and looking at cookbooks....i am inspired by the creative process and the end result of cooking!.... good luck with your new book it looks great!

Jesse ringaman says …

Ever since i was a kid i've loved reading and looking at cookbooks....i am inspired by the creative process and the end result of cooking!.... good luck with your new book it looks great!

CathiK says …

After sitting at my 67-year-old's mom side in the hospital last week as she recovered from her second heart attack and stent placement, I became inspired to help her and my family improve their health by moving to a plant-based diet!! This book is just what the doctor (should have) ordered :-)

Corinne lasek says …

Sharing healthy, delicious and often surprising meals and enlightening non vegan friends and family inspires me to get cooking!

Jule M. says …

A stressful week calls for good, clean food on the weekend. I usually prep the week in advance on the weekend, making large quantities for the upcoming week as well as those meals that take a little extra time. Also having friends over is inspiration to go the extra mile :)

Joanna Hunsaker says …

Each week when we go to the market or get our big box of local veggies, I am inspired to create something new. There is nothing like having a big pile of fresh, colorful veggies to inspire me to find ways to cook them in new ways for my boys and husband. I love the challenge of making things that my 2-year-old and 7-year old will eat with us. Not always easy (or successful), but I will keep trying!

Jessica says …

I am a newlywed who has not eaten meat in over 18 years. I had my first organic garden in years this summer and signed up for a CSA this summer. I have enjoyed the challenge of making healthy vegetarian meals from scratch with local produce that both myself and my non vegetarian husband enjoy. The more I learn the happier I am about being a vegetarian and am becoming increasingly interested in introducing a vegan diet in our home. I love the fact I can be a vegetarian AND be a foodie :)

Virginia says …

I'm now a senior and have been a vegetarian for about 5 years and vegan for almost 2 years. It's amazing all the different, delicious recipes that are available and that I can invent using what's on hand. I volunteer at an elementary school, and the teachers are always telling me how wonderful my food smells as I reheat it. I am constantly learning new ways to cook healthy food. Just new to me is coconut oil; it's declicious added to almost everything!

Janet Barrett says …

My inspiration for cooking is having other people to cook for. The challenge of making something you would ordinarily not go to the effort of preparing, paging through recipes after recipes in cookbooks, magazines, and web pages. Just for fun.

Anna says …

I'm always inspired by the change of seasons. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I want to be in the kitchen cooking up soups, stews, and casseroles all the time!

Carolsue says …

Going out to dinner somewhere and having something really good to eat inspires me to go home and try to replicate it! Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not. But it's fun trying.

Teresa McKinney says …

I would love to have this cookbook!!!

Tiffany says …

In the kitchen we are inspired by what'sseasonally ripe in the garden. Purple cauliflower ready to pick? We better figure out how to cook this! Cauliflower pizza it is! With fresh mozzarella and fresh basil cubes preserved earlier in the summer!

Colleen says …

My doctor recently suggested I change to a plant-based diet to improve my overall health. A great cookbook like this is just what the doctor ordered to get me started eating the right way! Thanks!

Suzanne Miley says …

I cooked for my family when I was married and my kids lived at home. Now that I'm on my own and tend toward vegetarian/vegan cuisine when left to my own devices, I seem to have lost interest in cooking. It's easier to just go to Whole Foods or one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants to feed myself. But, with a title like "Crazy Sexy Kitchen", how can I resist playing in the kitchen again!

Jessica B. says …

The past 3 years I have done a 20 week CSA farmshare. The fresh vegetables I receive each week inspire me to cook healthy meals and try new recipes.

Colleen says …

My doctor recently suggested I change to a plant-based diet to improve my overall health. A great cookbook like this is just what the doctor ordered to get me started eating the right way! Thanks!

Heather Claussen says …

I love to cook but i LOVE to cook for other people. And since I've become vegan, i love to offer friends and family a free meal and wow them when vegan is better than what they are used to eating.

Katherine Corden says …

For me, cooking is when I get to step aside from my science studies (I'm a physical therapy student) and let out my creativity. It is a rest for my mind and my soul. There is nothing I enjoy more than creating a new and fun meal and enjoying it with family and friends.

Lynn says …

New, interesting and unique food finds inspire me and get me cooking! It's so fun when the clerk at the register, the bagger at the end of the checkstand, or the customer waiting in line eews & ahhs at my new mystery finds.

Morgan Rolon says …

My inspiration to cook whole, delicious food comes from the calm, relaxed feeling it gives me after a long day at work; just being in the kitchen helps me unwind and feel my very best. It is comforting to know I am putting real food into my body and I feel invigorated by the meals I am able to whip up,which is a complete change from how I used to feel before I changed my diet. Through college and travel, I have since been inspired to grow and cook real food and am continuing on the path to becoming a better cook and gardener as I go!

Maja Lukic says …

I'm inspired whenever I wander around Greenmarket at Union Square - there are so many delicious veggies I have yet to try. Cooking plant-centric, clean meals is a constant learning process for me. I think that's what I love about it.

Megan says …

I have been introducing more and more plant-based recipes into my diet, and it definitely becomes a new way of life. I joined this community supported agriculture group that I pick up local organic produce each week. It has been a real joy and challenge getting to incorporate those vegetables into my meals. I can definitely feel a difference after changing my diet-- I have lost weight, my face has gotten more clear/bright, and I feel more energized. I wouldn't call myself a health-nut and I still eat meat (mostly chicken/fish, minimal red meat), but I definitely could see myself going in the vegetarian direction completely. This book sounds right up my alley!

Terri Fulp says …

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years. Your book would help me reach my goals of becoming a Veganist. Not to mention your recipes looks divine.

Anna Hawkes says …

I have been vegetarian for years and now my whole family is on board! We have many food allergies in our family and I have been enjoying new recipes that ensure everyone has a delicious and healthy meal. Kris's positive engery is wonderful and I love her books and recipes. Her new cookbook would get a lot of use in our home!

leslie richman says …

I am inspired by the knowledge that I can affect my mood, health, and general well-being just by cooking healthy meals at home. Love it!

Christine says …

What gets me inspired to cook is when I find a recipe tha t is delicious looking, easy and is 100% vegan. My husband was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with mestastasis to his liver at 41 and, like you, he has made the connection between health and diet. He has done his absolute best to eliminate all animal products and sugar from his diet. Since July, he has gone from having inoperable cancer to the possibility of actually having surgery this December after 4 months of chemotherapy and a strict diet. We wholeheartedly believe diet is responsible for the amazing results we've had so far. I'd cook every recipe in the book!

Ashlei Christian says …

What inspires me is my love of fresh, whole foods that make me healthy and give me energy by feeding my body right.

Marla Zickefoose says …

Cooking is an expression of love and I want to make sure my family eats healthy. The only way I can ensure that is to prepare their meals! I love to see smiles on their face after eating something delicious I've made!

Chelsey says …

My love for animals and my love for food no longer cause a conflict in my life. Being vegan is inspiration enough to experiment with so many types of plant based foods! Just knowing that I can live life without harming any other living being is an amazing feeling!

Jei says …

I am inspired to cook to support the health of my family and myself by infusing my food with love

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