Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cooking Up Hearty Breakfasts & Tasty Desserts at Whole Foods

Fruit dessert (healthy & delicious!)
If you've been reading my blog, you know I have a love affair with all things Whole Foods (I just don't like the price tag that comes with it.)

My dear friend Lara is now a Chicago resident, and recently joined the newly launched Whole Foods Wellness Club at their Lincoln Park mega store (fun trivia fact, this Whole Foods is the 3rd largest in the world behind one in London, and their HQ in Austin, TX where everything is bigger.) The Wellness Club prides itself on educating shoppers to create positive lifestyle choices. Members get 10% off certain healthful food items, as well as access to free yoga and cooking classes. Lucky for me I got to attend not one, but TWO cooking classes with Lara and both times they were virtually private classes -lucky us!

Class #1 focused on hearty breakfast items. I'm an egg kind of girl, but the Wellness Center is a proponent of the Vegan lifestyle so no eggies for me. They also try to limit the amount of oils they use, so no EVOO either! There were all sorts of menu items that I had never thought to make for breakfast. Of course we made steel cut oats (did you know you could make them for the the week and then keep them in the fridge and just heat as needed?), but there was also a delicious breakfast hash with roasted root veggies (personally I would roast them with a little oil for a crisper texture, but steaming them with a spice mixture was nice too.) I LOVED the mashed banana. Really who would think - mashed banana? Take some bananas and whip 'em in the Vitamix with some cinnamon and it's a completely new experience. Add it into those steel cut oats and you've almost got dessert.

Our friendly Wellness Center chef Katie with the chocolate fruit parfait
Speaking of dessert...that was another fun class (class #2)! Old friend Kate joined Lara and I for some sweet cooking. We started off baking apples in the microwave. Pretty unglamorous, huh? But add in cinnamon and some other spices and this was a sweet, healthy treat (I would probably add in some yogurt too.) We also roasted a banana (warm and caramelized goodness)  and enjoyed chopped pear with fresh mint. So simple. There was also a ooey gooey chocolate mixture (real chocolate, not milk added) which we happily layered with fresh fruit to make a decadent parfait.

Kate & Lara look over the recipes
I probably won't be giving up my indulgent eating lifestyle (I love animal by-products, oils, etc. too much), but I have added some more healthy dishes to my foodie repertoire which is always a good thing. Plus, this is yet another excuse for me to visit my dear friend Whole Foods.


  1. Great to know there are some healthy options out there. Can't wait to try that banana dish!

  2. You would love the banana dish...I want to try it with frozen bananas too!

  3. What a cool club! Whole Foods buffet is the best too!