A Squared: Recipes for Resolutions with NOW Foods & Chef Suzy Singh

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recipes for Resolutions with NOW Foods & Chef Suzy Singh

So, remember that bucket list that I shared with you in August-- 30 things I wanted to do before turning 30? Well, recently I got to cross one of those things off the list: #4 Take a Cooking Class. Not only was the class a surprise to me-- I thought I was there for a cooking demo-- but it was also at Le Cordon Bleu!

Kit from The Kittchen, me, and Amanda from Bo Knows Best

NOW Foods invited a few food bloggers to Le Cordon Bleu last week for Recipes for Resolutions, an evening of healthy snacks, recipes, and cooking hosted by NOW and Chef Suzy Singh, their R&D Executive Chef. The evening started with a huge spread of small bites and appetizers prepared using several NOW products and they were all really delicious-- from the savory quinoa and spinach salad to the sweet brownie bites (which were actually vegan!), I think it was safe to say that we were all really impressed! And did I mention that Chef Suzy also competed on the TV show Master Chef and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Chicago? So fun!

I'm not sure about you, but most of us in the room weren't familiar with NOW before attending this event. NOW Foods "provides a wide variety of quality natural products that are specifically formulated to help support and promote optimal health through good nutrition." The company began by specializing in dietary supplements and has expanded to now include a variety of all natural, healthy, and often food allergy-friendly food products. Over the course of the evening we were able to sample a variety of these products in the snacks that Chef Suzy had prepared and then we also got to cook with them too!

Once we suited up and were introduced to our sous chefs (actual Le Cordon Bleu students were there to assist us and show us around the kitchens... so fun!), Chef Suzy launched into her cooking demo and the first recipe on deck was Sugarless Sugar Chocolate Cupcakes. We made these guilt-free cupcakes using several of NOW's products including their organic cocoa powder, virgin coconut oil, and their Sugarless Sugar.

I have to admit, I was really skeptical about these cupcakes. I'm a huge proponent of eating and cooking in a healthy way, but for me that usually means using more traditionally healthy ingredients like olive oil, whole grain brown rice, fresh vegetables, etc. I am much less familiar with how to do it with some of these more alternative ingredients like coconut oil, stevia, flax meal, and non-wheat flours. Chef Suzy was a great guide in the whole process-- telling us about the health benefits of the products and how they can be subbed in for traditional baking ingredients to make a recipe healthier, vegan, or gluten-free. For instance, did you know that you can use applesauce, flax seed meal and water, or baking powder and carbonated water to replace eggs when you're baking? Neither did I.

The cupcakes were surprisingly delicious. They were rich with a deep chocolate flavor and the consistency was a soft moist cake. We frosted them with a simple combination of the Sugarless Sugar and coconut oil, which almost perfectly mimics that traditional rich bakery frosting with just a hint of coconut flavor. I really enjoyed them, but the real test came when I brought them home: I'm happy to say that they were approved by a friend that can't eat butter, two doormen in my building, and my husband (who is serious about his sweets) ate several over the weekend. Healthy cupcake success!

The second dish on the agenda that night was our dinner: NOW Foods Touchdown Burgers, a gluten-free, allergen friendly, and vegetarian burger made of quinoa and brown rice. The burgers had a robust Mediterranean flavor from the additional ingredients that we mixed into the patties-- roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, fresh basil, spinach, and a variety of dry spices went into the mix and then we baked them off and enjoyed them on toasted buns with some homemade parsnip puree. I was so hungry and the burger was so satisfying that the only photographic evidence of it is the "before" photo below of all of its ingredients.

It was such a fun and educational evening and, as a health food skeptic, I have to say that I was blown away by how tasty everything was this evening. NOW Foods is doing a wonderful job of proving that healthy does not necessarily = flavorless and that these nutritious ingredients don't have to be boring, but that they can come together to create some really satisfying and flavorful dishes. My husband ate healthy cupcakes and went back for more... that should be proof enough!

NOW Foods was kind enough to send me home with a goodie bag filled with their products and I am so excited to start experimenting and sharing recipes with you! In the meantime, you can find more recipes by NOW Foods here and their food products can be purchased in their online store here.

Thanks to Chef Suzy and the rest of the staff at NOW for a great evening!

Editor's Note: This is not a sponsored post. Products were provided to me at no cost by NOW Foods, but the opinions here, as always, are my own. Thanks, NOW!

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