Recently I had the pleasure of attending a complimentary Blogger Cooking Class at Whole Foods Market Northbrook.
I love that the idea for this class originated when Katie met Whole Foods Market’s own Chef Sarah and Healthy Eating Expert Robin at a local farm dinner. Thanks so much to the three of them for putting together this fun & delicious class for us!
One thing I loved about this class was how closely it replicated cooking in a real home-kitchen. Just like at home, we had an entire pantry of ingredients at our disposal and we were encouraged to use the ingredients & supplies on hand to add our own special touches to each dish.
But before we got started, we energized with a Juice Break!
The Whole Foods Market Produce Department now makes Cold-Pressed Juices, fresh each day. I tried both the Green Aid and Greens with Envy and loved the blend of sweet & tart flavors in both.
Since Cold-Pressed Juices can be pricey (due to the large amount of produce in each bottle!), the first savvy tip of the day that I learned is you can dilute the juices with 50% Coconut Water to stretch the juice further without it tasting “watered down”.
The rest of the night was mostly spent in teams of two, making each of the recipes you’ll see below.
First, we made Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Linguine. This was the only recipe of the whole night that wasn’t Vegan since it did contain Eggs, but this was also the only recipe we made that wasn’t an “every day” kind of recipe.
It was really fun running the dough through their pasta machines. That’s our whole class (minus me) up above, and there I am down below with my beautiful ribbons of pasta. And yes, that’s my reflection in the pasta machine down below.
Next, me and my team member, Lauren
, got to chopping up lots of Veggies for our Marinara Sauce
. This was my first time making Sauce with Fresh (not canned) tomatoes, which was a real treat! In addition to tomatoes, this veggie-full sauce also had a Red Bell Pepper, Celery
, plus Fresh Basil, Oregano & Rosemary
. We decided to add extra Herbs to our pot.
Me and Lauren — Photo via Katie of Live Half Full
The recipe came together in just two steps. Step 1: Let the Onion and Garlic brown. Step 2: Add everything else and let it simmer.
Chef Sarah then watched & stirred our pots while we continued on with the rest of the evenings’ recipes.
Next up was my favorite part of the evening – Creating our own Salads!
Each team was given the recipe & ingredients for an Avocado “Ranch” Dressing and a $20 gift card to the store to pick out our Salad ingredients.
Since the dressing recipe had a generous amount of fresh dill in it, Lauren and I decided to make a Mediterranean themed salad.
We grabbed a bag of Organic Baby Romaine and an Organic Cucumber as our base ingredients and got an assortment of artichokes & shredded veggies from the Salad Bar. I also wanted to pick out something splurge-worthy, since it’s not often that I get to go on a Whole Foods Market shopping spree, so we picked up a container of beautiful marinated Peppadew Peppers. Lastly, it was Lauren’s brilliant idea to get Falafel from the Salad Bar instead of Croutons.
From Left to Right: Falafel Salad by Lauren & I — Fall Salad by Katie & Allison — Salad with Cherries, Pistachios & Parmesan by Amy & Valerie
Even with our “splurge” ingredients, we still barely spent half of our $20 budget. It was really fun to see what Salads the other teams came up with too!
Next, it was time to get to work on Dessert! We made this Engine 2 Berry Cobbler which was incredibly easy and absolutely delicious!
Chef Sarah keeps an eye on our Cobblers
We used a bag of Frozen Mixed Berries instead of Blueberries, and threw the whole bag in, even though it was a little more than the recipe calls for.
Just for fun, since we had a huge pantry of super-food ingredients at our disposal, Lauren and I also decided to top our cobbler with a sprinkle of Date Sugar and some chopped Hazelnuts.
I loved how jammy the end result was – the soft cake was the perfect vehicle for getting loads of warm berries into my mouth!
Mid way through all of this cooking, Robin made us a snack to keep us energized – delicious Strawberry Banana & Almond Butter Smoothies.
Then later, as enjoyed our delicious homemade meals, she demo’d another one of her favorite healthy recipes for us – Cocoa-Oat Truffles. Our second dessert of the evening – #winning!
Here we are enjoying the end result of our time in the kitchen!
It was such a fantastic evening and I left with some new go-to recipes, a goodie bag of samples (not pictured – the awesome BetterBag tote this all came in), and feeling more connected to the local blogger community.
(I especially loved the Blackberry Bliss Chia Squeeze and cannot wait to use my Dailey Method class card!)
Allison – Katie – Amy – Valerie – Me – Lauren
Photo via The Style Files
I’d love to hear from you!
What Salad would you have made to go with the Avocado Ranch dressing?
Have you ever made your own Pasta?