4 tricks for eating more beans (even if you hate them)

4 tricks for eating more beans (even if you hate them)

In this week's Plant-Powered Protein class, we covered an interesting fact about the typical American diet: it provides twice as much protein as we need, yet only about half as much fiber as is recommended.  Not that I would ever imply that any of you unique snowflakes are typical, but if you are looking to eat healthy amounts of both protein and fiber, beans should definitely be a semi-regular part of your diet...

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Get more plant protein with hemp seeds

Get more plant protein with hemp seeds

My cooking class students can easily name some of my favorite ingredients: lemon, maple syrup, kale, tamari...the list goes on.  While I like adventure and variety in my diet, I also like to keep certain staples at home because it makes meal preparation easier.  My staples also tend to be not only flavor powerhouses, but nutritional powerhouses as well.  One of my favorite go-to ingredients that pops up my recipes all the time: hemp seeds!

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Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifts

Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifts

As a chef and total book nerd, one of my favorite gifts to give and receive is--no surprise--a good cookbook!  Cookbooks can be a great way to help eager cooks filter out the overwhelming amount of information on the internet and spend some time learning from one of their favorite authors, bloggers, or chefs one-on-one.  Last year, I did a round up of the top cookbooks I was feeling in 2015, so I wanted to follow that up with my top picks for 2016...

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How to make DIY Vanilla Extract

How to make DIY Vanilla Extract

If you've been following my newsletter for a while, you know that I'm a big fan of naturally sweetened treats and desserts.  If you are new to my world, welcome! (And get ready for lots of chocolate recipes.)  I almost always ditch flour, dairy products, and refined sugars in my recipes in favor of slow-digesting and more nutritious nuts, seeds, and less processed sweeteners like maple syrup or dates...

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Best local, craft beers in Chicago

Best local, craft beers in Chicago

In celebration of Octoberfest--and my latest beer-themed episode of Chicago's Best--I wanted to do a round-up of the best local, craft beers to check out.  Since chefs  are known for having discerning palates and also consuming a decent amount of alcohol, it made perfect sense for me to check in with my chef friends and other food and beverage experts around the city.  Below, I've assembled their recommendations to give you guys a good starter list to help you know which beers to try when the bartender gives you that daunting list of 100...

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Learn how to add flavor so you can cook from what you have on hand

Learn how to add flavor so you can cook from what you have on hand

This month, I've been bringing you a virtual cooking class in this newsletter by answering some of the questions that come up over and over again in my private and public classes.  I love to share recipes, nutritional info, food trends and even restaurant tips and budget hacks, but I also really love to help you all individually troubleshoot in your kitchens.  Because all the recipes and fun facts in the world aren't really worth much if we can't make food taste good at home...

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Why your cooking doesn't always taste good

Why your cooking doesn't always taste good

Purple Asparagus, a healthy-food-for-kids charity that I volunteer for, is a "no yuck" zone.  The kids in the cooking classes are not required to like everything we make but they are not allowed to say "yuck!"  Instead, we challenge them to be more descriptive when it comes to taste, texture, and flavor and to learn more about food beyond "I like it" or "I don't"...

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3 coffee substitutions (depending on your level of boldness)

3 coffee substitutions (depending on your level of boldness)

Coffee is one of those things that nutritional science always seems to flip flop on.  Coffee is good for you!  No wait, now it's bad for you.  Ok it's good for you, as long as it's not too hot!  While the verdict on the nitty gritty science may be out, I think we can learn a lot from our own bodies when it comes to coffee and specifically caffeine intake.  Pretty much every substance we eat has some nutritional benefits--as well as some downsides--but we often benefit from examining our bodies and lives holistically, not just focusing on specific risks or nutrients...

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Improve your digestion (no matter what food you are eating)

Improve your digestion (no matter what food you are eating)

One of the surprising revelations to students in my Flow! Healthy Digestion cooking class is that traditional healing traditions like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasize habits and practices around eating almost as much as ingredients.  In that class, I share 15 tips to help students starting eating and feeling better and many of them having nothing to do with aloe, turmeric, and fermented vegetables.  (To be fair, we play around with all that stuff in class too...

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How to create a meal plan

How to create a meal plan

One of the big topics that's come up during Healthy on a Budget Month is waste.  We don't mind spending money on quality, nutritious ingredients to cook at home...except when we don't actually cook them at home!  Whether it's because of a schedule change, laziness, not knowing what to do or just forgetting, there are few things that irk healthy eaters more than throwing away perfectly good food...

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Save money on vegetables

Save money on vegetables

For the next few posts, I'm going to focus on eating healthy on a budget.  There are a few tips and topics we'll cover in the coming weeks, like budgeting, meal planning and minimizing waste, and there are a few tips that I think are a little too general to mention here (things like cooking at home, using produce that's in season, only buying what you need). But today, I want to encourage you to think Instead of getting your produce at your regular grocery store...

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Lowering your grocery bill starts with budgeting

Lowering your grocery bill starts with budgeting

This month of the blog, I want to share my tips for saving money while eating well at the same time.  As a professional chef, those are too crucial areas of importance to me.  While being fiscally responsible and healthy are both good habits, often they are pitted against each other.  "Cheap food is bad for you."  "Organic/local/free-range/homemade is only for the 1%."

I want to share with you some things I'm doing in my life, as I try to negotiate these two values.  Not to be a total Indian dad about it, but saving money starts with budgeting...

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A complete breakdown of natural sweeteners

A complete breakdown of natural sweeteners

Unless you are a world-class patissier, you probably don't need to be using white sugar as much as you are.  White sugar is cheap and readily available, so it has made its way into our home cooking, our packaged foods, and pretty much any and all special occasions.  One of the constant refrains you'll hear from both real doctors and TV doctors, governmental agencies and your kooky hippy neighbor down the street (ahem, me), is that we are eating way too much sugar...

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A professional organizer's guide to organizing your pantry

A professional organizer's guide to organizing your pantry

My kitchen is my happy place.  Before I started cooking professionally, it's where I would go to be creative, relax and often procrastinate.  Now that the kitchen is my main workspace, I'm not just escaping there, but often needing to do some of my best work and thinking there too.  Although I'm not naturally a hyper-organized person, I do love being in neat, cleared-off spaces, and I've realized that a minimal, organized space is crucial to keeping the kitchen my happy place...

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