Healthy eats for the whole family & Cooking Classes

A few weeks ago I got hooked on watching episodes of Lifetime's Cook Yourself Thin, a show that helps women tweak their favorite food indulgences and "drop a dress size in 6 weeks." The show is hosted by well-known food personalities-Candice Kumai from Season 1 of Top Chef, Harry Eastwood, food writer and cookbook author and Allison Fishman, owner of The Wooden Spoon a Brooklyn-based cooking school. The goal of the show is not to replace your favorite food with a low fat option, but to teach you how to substitute high-fat ingredients with natural and low calorie options like vegetables and fruit. I'm someone who loves how vegetarian and vegan foods taste just as good or even better than the original version so naturally, I've been trying to adopt the same behaviors in my own cooking.

While I was at the local library looking for the Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook, I found one called The Sneaky Chef which is pretty much the same concept. Missy Lapine, the brain behind Sneaky Chef, takes normally high-fat/high calorie /guilty pleasure foods and sneaks in substitutes like Spinach, Blueberries, Chick Peas and more to create healthier but just as tasty versions. While there were a lot of really yummy options, I could not WAIT to make her Barbell Burger recipes with.....BLUEBERRIES!

The burgers called for a Purple Puree of Spinach, blueberries, lemon juice and water. It made enough for 4 batches of burgers so I saved the rest in my BPA-free baby food containers. Adding to the moisture was tomato paste and oat bran added healthy fiber.

These burgers are sure to please even the Hungry Man in the family.
My husband, who love a good juicy burger or piece of steak really liked the burgers and took the leftovers to work!

Here's all of the ingredients:
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (this week I ran out and used Sweet Potato instead)
- 1/4 cup Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #1)
- 1/4 cup oat bran, plus additional as needed (I used ground oat meal)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 4 hamburger buns or English muffins, preferably whole grain
- Optional extra boost: lettuce, tomato slices, or grilled onions and mushrooms
For full cooking instructions, you can view the full recipe for free at the Sneaky Chef website.

Cooking Classes for the family
If you're still a novice in the kitchen, but want to learn how to cook for you or your family, there are plenty of cooking classes around the state that offer healthy ideas and even some classes just for kids! Here's a listing:

The Natural Chef: Cooking classes, training program, cooking parties | Princeton
Viking Cooking School: Demos, Kids & Teens, Hands-On Classes | Fairfield
The Kid Connection: Cooking workshops, kitchen safety and parties | Lincoln Park
Creative Kids Celebrations: Offers pizza, kebab and Organic cooking parties | Traveling/Northern
Miele USA: Master chef class, demos and kids classes | Princeton and NYC
Cook 'n' Tell: Class for adults and kids ages 3+ | Colts Neck
The Health Shoppes: Organic and Raw Food cooking | Morristown
The Pop Shop: Healthy cooking classes for kids, adults and NEWBORNS | Collingswood

Retail Cooking Classes
Whole Foods Market
Shop Rite

Follow The Sneaky Chef and Cook Yourself Thin hosts on Twitter!
Missy Lapine
Allison Fishman
Candace Kumai

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