CIA Fatburning Secrets... [Plus Last-Minute Turkey Day RECIPES!]

CIA Fatburning Secrets… [Plus Last-Minute Turkey Day RECIPES!]

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Last week I had the distinct pleasure of training at the Culinary Institute of America (aka ~ “CIA”.  Did you think I meant Central Intelligence Agency?) with my beloved hubby for our “babymoon”.

Babymoon is a “holiday” that is basically like a honeymoon before you have a baby.

My husband didn’t know what it was – so I politely filled him in 😉

So what does a health nut do for a babymoon?

Take a cooking class, of course!

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Top right – my amazing hubby and I. Bottom right – Master Chef Sandy Sauter. A genius and a joy to learn from!

The CIA is the “gold standard” of chefs in America.

Our instructor, Master Chef Sandy – is one of the very few chefs in the world who’s made it through this crazy, rigorous ‘Chopped’ type interview process to have the honor of teaching.

And her classes use tried and true recipes that have been developed by the pros.

AND best of all… I tried (as in, cooked and tasted) all of them.

I know, it’s a tough job – but I did it for you, really!

Without further ado, here are my TOP recipes from the CIA that you can use for a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!

>>>>>>  (You’re going to REALLY impress your friends and family with these!)


humboldt fog goat cheese with roasted beets snapseed

Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese With Roasted Beets, Toasted Almonds & Beet Vinaigrette


  • 1 Wheel Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
  • Roasted Beets
  • 1 Cup Almonds (Toasted)
  • Beet Vinaigrette (below)
  • Chive Oil (below)

Roasted Beets:

  • 3 Bunches Beets
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste

Beet Vinaigrette:

  • 3 Beets
  • 1 Cup EVOO
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Chive Oil

  • 3 Bunches Fresh Chives
  • 1 Cup Light (not extra virgin) Olive Oil


  1. For the roasted beets: Trim the stem and root ends from the beet, leaving just a little attached.  Toss beets with EVOO, season with salt and pepper.  Wrap beets in foil pouches; roast at 350 degrees Farenheit until tender.  Peel skin from beets, allow to cool and cut into medium dice.
  2. For the beet vinaigrette:  Peel and juice beets in a vegetable juicer.  Skim off the foam, then reduce beet juice to a glaze, changing pans occasionally.
  3. Measure the reduced beet juice and add an equal quantity of red wine vinegar.
  4. Stir in olive oil, equal to the volume of the beet and vinegar mixture.  Vinaigrette should remain unemulsified (not blended together).  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. For the chive oil:  Soak the chives in very hot water until limp, about 15 minutes; rinse in cold water.  Wring out excess moisture, then puree in a blender with oil.
  6. Let sit overnight for flavor and color to mature.  Strain through cheesecloth.
  7. Place the roasted beets on a plate with the toasted almonds and goat cheese; drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with a small amount of chive oil.  I would prefer to sliver the almonds rather than leave them whole.  Serve on it’s own or with gluten free crackers!


frittata snapseed

Frittata with Kale and Dry Jack Cheese


  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Large Chopped Leek
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Tsp Fresh minced thyme
  • 1 Tsp fresh minced marjoram
  • 2 Large Roasted Red Peppers (I roasted mine over a stove burner flame on a grill top and they were awesome!)
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (I love Udi’s Gluten Free Bread!!)
  • 1/2 Cup grated cheese (I prefer asiago)
  • 1/2 Cup Dry Jack cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash the kale, removing tough veins.  Dry the leaves thoroughly.  Stack kale and slice into ribbons.  In a large pan, sauté the leeks in the oil over medium heat until soft.  Add the kale, herbs, and salt and sauté for approximately 7 minutes until the kale is well cooked.  Remove from heat, stir in the peppers, and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and add the bread crumbs and cheese.  Stir in the chard mixture.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.  Bake in a non-stick or oiled pan, approximately 9X9 inches for approximately 40 minutes or until the center is firm and the crust is golden.  If you’re planning to cut the frittata into hors d’oeuvre-sized pieces, bake in a 9 inch by 12 inch pan and decrease the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.

Dairy-Free Holiday Frittata!

Have a dairy sensitivity?  Here’s my dairy-free version of this delicious frittata!

I love to make this version for breakfast because it’s easy and light.

After all, when you are feeding guests – playing “short order cook” for everybody’s egg preferences can be nearly impossible (unless you are, indeed, a short-order cook).

That’s why my best trick for feeding crowds breakfast is a frittata.

The recipe I’ve shared is vegetarian, but it’s also great with leftover ham, bacon, beef, or even chicken and salsa for a Southwestern style frittata!


  • 8 Eggs (Cage-Free, Organic!) 1⁄2 sliced bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp.fresh dill
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1- 5-ounce bag baby spinach, chopped

Meat Options:

  • 1⁄2 cup diced organic ham, Canadian bacon, or nitrate-free bacon. For a vegetarian recipe you can use tempeh!
  • 1⁄2 cup of feta cheese if you aren’t dairy-free!


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and heat a small amount of coconut oil in a large (as large as you want the frittata to be…) sauté pan or skillet over medium heat.
  2. Whisk eggs. Then add dill and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Sauté leeks & red peppers in your sauté pan or skillet with the melted coconut oil.
  4. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the spinach (and meat if you’re using it). Continue to stir for 60 seconds.
  6. Pour your egg mixture with dill over the vegetables, gently lifting the sides periodically.  This is a great trick to let the uncooked egg spill out onto the hot pan – and it makes the bottom of your frittata sturdy and perfectly toasted brown.  My husband loves the egg well done on bottom and fluffy on top – so I am diligent to cook my eggs in layers like I describe above. He asks me to make my omelets’ and frittatas like “egg jerky” – nice and brown on the edges.  Plus – this makes it much more easy to leave the pan without ripping your beautiful egg before it hits the table.
  7. Once the bottom is brown, make sure you’ve lifted the bottom with your spatula.
  8. Now you can slide onto a large plate, or better yet – slide it onto a cutting board.  This way you can use a pizza cutter and cut slices for your guests.

**If you eat dairy – sprinkle some yummy feta cheese on top of your frittata while it’s hot!

And don’t forget the hot-sauce!

I recently found a delicious gluten-free sriracha that has pretty much rocked my breakfast world.

Nutrition Facts cropped


SlimTea Grade, Region, Altitude, Characteristics.

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Grilled New Potatoes With Greek Yogurt Sauce

potatoes with greek yogurt sauce snapseed

Of all the food we made in our CIA cooking school, this was the absolute most delicious of the sides.

I’m not normally a potato person, but these were SO much better than bland, boring baked potatoes or mashed ones with butter and cream.

Plus they’re SURE to be a crowd-pleaser!


  • 18 golf-ball sized potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic
  • 1 Cup Cream, lightly whipped
  • 1 Cup Yogurt, Drained
  • Ground Nutmeg to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice – or to taste
  • Oregano – to garnish
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, boil the potatoes in salted water for about 12 minutes.  Drain and chill to room temperature in cold water.  They should be firm and not crunchy.
  2. Cut the potatoes in halves and thread them onto 6-inch wooden skewers, 3 halves on each, cut side down.  (Be sure to soak the skewers before putting them on a grill!)
  3. Rub lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill to a golden brown on one side.
  4. Heat the cream to just below boiling.  Add the drained yogurt, lemon, and nutmeg.  Mix for one minute.  Serve as a sauce at room temperature or warm, drizzled over the grilled potatoes.  Sprinkle with oregano.


Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup

**Here are four different variations of a too-good-to-be-true healthy classic.

These are a Stephanie original, but I’m sure the Culinary Institute of America would approve?

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Carrot, diced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4 cups fresh cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups Cellulite-Reducing SlimTea Broth
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic – or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Heat coconut oil in pot you intend for the soup.
  2. Sauté carrots, celery, onions and garlic until the veggies soften and the union just begins to get clear.  This should take approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender – or a regular blender if you can’t find the immersion blender.  Be sure to let soup cool before going into blender!

Alternate Endings…

Apple, Gorgonzola and Almond Butternut Soup

  1. Boil and puree 1 cup apple
  2. Stir in pureed apple into soup before serving.
  3. Give each serving a sprinkle of gorgonzola cheese, sliced almonds, and a fresh sprig of thyme.

Thai-style Butternut Soup

  1. Before sautéing your vegetables, add 2 tsp fresh chopped ginger.
  2. Stir in 1 tbsp red curry paste and ½ cup coconut milk to puréed soup.
  3. Top with fresh cilantro.

Southwestern-style Butternut Soup

  1. Add a tablespoon chopped spicy peppers to vegetables before sautéing.
  2. Garnish soup with queso fresco and cilantro, or even spiced pepitas!

Organic Cranberry Turkey Brine & Turkey Cooking Instructions

Dairy-Free, Gluten Free

This first time I made brine I remember buying a kit thinking that there was some secret ingredient so complex I’d never be able to replicate it on my own.

I’ve found that the best brines are simple – and always use organic ingredients!


  • (1) 12-lb Turkey
  • 1 juiced lemon
  • ½ tsp. organic ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed black peppercorn
  • ¾ tsp organic cinnamon
  • ½ cup juiced cranberries with coconut syrup to taste, or use organic cranberry juice.  To make coconut syrup, boil 2/3 cup coconut sugar with 1/3 cup water until syrupy to yield 1/3 cup syrup.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In bowl, mix lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and peppercorns.
  3. Brush your turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  4. After roasting for 1 hour, pour your cranberry juice on top steadily.
  5. Cook until thermometer reaches 180 degrees F when you stick it in a turkey thigh.

IMPORTANT:  Let the juices settle for a good half hour before you begin carving!

Do you love extra-flavorful turkey skin?

I slips a few sprigs of Rosemary and garlic in between the skin and the meat.

This adds extra flavor to the turkey as it will cause the skin to crisp up a bit more than if it were flat on the meat.

Wondering where the butter went in our brine?

Did you know that turkey skin has enough oil that many people successfully do not use oil, nor butter in their preparation?

Enjoy your turkey – and be sure to check out our fresh cranberry sauce below!

 Fresh Cranberry Sauce

I am so grossed out by canned cranberry sauce.

Not to mention the idea of canned foods and BPA poisoning my guests!

So here’s my personal recipe for fresh cranberry sauce.

My husband loves when I serve this year-round with my gluten free tamale pot pies or roasted chicken!


  • 12 oz fresh organic cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • Orange zest
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Add 1 cup coconut sugar, 1 strip orange zest, and 2 Tbsp water to 6 ounces of cranberries in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves and cranberries are soft, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium.  Now cook until the cranberries start to burst.
  4. Reduce heat back to low and stir in remaining cranberries.  You may add additional salt, pepper, and zest to taste.