Whole Foods Market's 3 Day Whole Body Sale

How's that "New Year, New You" resolution coming along? Need a little boost? Well, Whole Foods has got you (and me) covered!

One of my favorite aisles at my Whole Foods Market is the supplements aisle. What can I say? I'm crazy like that. I like to wander down the aisle and stock up on different items that keep me going throughout the year. When I'm getting a little run down... after too much indulging in oh, say, Vegas... before I jump into a Couch to 5K challenge... or pretty much any time I want to be healthy, which is, duh! ALWAYS... I head over to Whole Foods Market and get myself a few things that I know will help me be at my best.

Whole Foods Market Supplement Aisle.jpg

So you KNOW I am excited about this!

3 Day Whole Body Sale at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market Whole Body Sale.jpg

For THREE WHOLE DAYS, Whole Foods Markets in Southern California, Arizona, Las Vegas and Hawaii will be having a fabulous Whole Body Sale! Between January 24 and January 26, you can stock up on ALL your favorite supplements for 25% off! Load up on Proteins, Meal Enhancers, SuperFoods (chia, flax), Probiotics, Vitamin A to Zinc, and everything in between! Because they're ALL on sale!

Did I mention that ALL supplements are on sale? Oh good.

So if you...

Have a New Year fitness resolution? Support it with these great products:

  • Vega Sport Performance Protein
  • Ultima Replenisher Electrolytes
  • Now Foods MCT Oil
  • MRM Glutamine Power

Need to cleanse and detox your bod after a season of a little too much indulging over the holidays?  

  • 365 7 Day Quick Cleanse
  • 365 Organic Psyllium Powder
  • Bio-K+ Probiotic
  • Reboot Wellness Booster

Looking to shed some winter weight?  These supplements will come in handy:

  • Garden of Life Raw Meal Replacement
  • Nature’s Way CLA
  • Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia*
  • Genesis Today Green Coffee Bean*  (As seen on Dr. Oz!)

*SIDE NOTE: Genesis Today are the supplements I stock up on the most, and I can only find them at Whole Foods Market. A few years ago, I got to meet the owner of the company, Dr. Lindsey, and learned so much about the supplements and how they help in all areas of your life. From mood to fitness to anti-aging, these supplements are amazing! If you see a lady walking out with a cart full of jars from Genesis Today... it's me!

Click to find the Whole Foods Market nearest you.

Don't miss out on this incredible sale. Your body will thank you for it!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Warm Winter Sangria Recipe

It's Holiday Party time! That usually means stress, but thanks to Whole Foods, you don't have to worry!

Whole Foods has several holiday food offerings and promotions to help you set the table with ease. You can even order some (or all… I won't tell!) of your feast on-line! A whole meal for four is only $59.99! You can pick up a fully cooked 3-pound boneless natural turkey breast (skin on for more moisture), mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, traditional gravy, and stuffing. If you have time to make the fixins, but not the bird, no problem! You can just the turkey (or the just the rolls… or just the stuffing… or just whatever it is you need…) to be picked up in-store.

Sangrias Aren't Just For Summer

Every good party deserves a fabulous drink. Being that it's been incredibly chilly of late, I decided to share a recipe for a drink that will keep you warm all winter long.

Sangria (named after the Spanish word for blood, "sangre") can be as different as the drinker, but is usually made up some basic ingredients, mainly wine, chopped fruit, and some sort of sweetener (honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice), plus a small amount of added brandy, if you want to get extra toasty. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwifruit and mango. Brandy can be substituted by other liquids such as Seltzer, Sprite, 7 Up, or other juices.

Although sangrias are typically red, white wine can also be used, but those are called sangria blanca. Some recipes that use heavier reds can be lightened by mixing a bottle of white in the mix. In some parts of Southern Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. Mulled wine can also be used to provide a rich full-bodied taste, chilled with orange juice, lemonade and a sliced pear to add sweetness.

I found all of the ingredients for my Warm Winter Sangria at Whole Foods in Encinitas. Since I'll be mulling the wine, I wanted to go with something that would taste just as good warm. I chose a California wine, "Red Velvet" by Cupcake. It's a bold and sweet wine that was on the Value Wines shelf. Aside from the wine, the ingredients I used are pictured below, including me as "brown sugar." Get it??? Brown Sugar??? Ahhh… I'm so clever… 

Sugar Jones' Warm Winter Sangria

Warm Winter Sangria

  • 4 cups Spiced Pear juice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (I used Satsumo Tangerines, just because)
  • 2 oranges, cut in wedges
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Dried mango slices (fresh mango when in season)
  • And, of course, one bottle of Red Velvet wine by Cupcake

Mull the spices in the pear juice

Add wine and fruits.

Stir on medium for about ten minutes.

Serve warm.

Stay toasty!

PS: I was given a $50 Whole Foods gift card for items in this post.

Behind the Meat Counter: How (and why) to Butcher a Whole Chicken

 This is Part 1 of a three part series: Behind the Meat Counter 

When it comes to grocery shopping, I'm a lot like many of you, and I tend to be very particular about where my food comes from. I might pay a little more per pound for the food I buy for my family, but to me, those pennies are worth it. Still, being budget conscious, I try to make my dollars stretch, so when it comes to my meat and fish, I know that I'll be able to get better quality if I shop at certain stores that are as picky as I am (if not more so) about where my food comes from and how it was raised, and if I do a little bit of the work myself.

When it comes to chicken, I know the best bang for my buck is going to be to buy the whole chicken and butcher it at home. Buying the whole chicken is less per pound than the same meat cut into pieces. But the idea of cutting a whole chicken into parts has always sort of intimidated me, so I usually end up cooking the whole bird in a crock pot.

However, as I learned last week, it's really not that difficult to do, as long as you know what you're doing.

There are two things you need to butcher a chicken. First, you need to make sure to use a knife that's good and sharp.  The bones of a chicken are brittle and fairly easy to break through with metal, but having a sharp blade ensures that you'll be able to cut through the skin and meat without tearing it up. The second thing you need is to know where and how to cut.

That's where Eric will be helping us out.

Oh... this is Eric: 

Eric the Whole Foods Butcher.jpg

Eric is one of the helpful butchers behind the counter at Whole Foods Market Del Mar. Here, he gives us a quick lesson on how to butcher a chicken:

See??? That wasn't so hard, now was it? If you're still intimidated by the thought of cutting it up yourself, ask the guys at the Whole Foods counter. I'm sure they'd be happy to take care of that for you.


Look for Part 2 where we learn to fillet a three foot Mahi! 


FeastPDX Day 3: Now We're Cooking!

WAIT!!! Did you read about Day 1 and Day 2? Oh good. Glad we're all caught up.


Rarely do I put up the Do Not Disturb sign on my door. I like coming back to a bed that's made, a sink that's been wiped down, and fresh towels. It's like a visit from the Clean Fairy.  But when I wake up late and have to make a mad dash out of my room, leaving my tech gear and clothes all over the bed, I put the sign out. I looked back at the mess on my way out and thought, "Good thing I'm not bringing anyone back to my room!" 

This guarantees that you most definitely WILL bring people back to your room. 

But more on that later. 

On to the awesome events of FeastPDX Day 3 :

FeastPDX Day 3 Collage.jpg

I rushed over to the main stage at Director's Park for the event I'd been looking forward to: Whole Foods Best Butcher and Fish Monger Face Off.  I saw some people signing in at table and walked over to see if this was where I needed to be. When I gave my name, this absolute sweetheart named James complimented me on my blog, to which I answered, "Oh no... I think you have the wrong Sugar." Then he said, "Sugar Jones... Sugar in the Raw, right?"

And I died. 

Bloggers: You know... I mean, you KNOW what it's like to write and write and write and then wonder what people think. I mean, you have analytics that tell you people are reading, or at least showing up, but unless there is a random giveaway or a spammer from Bangladesh, comments are very rare any more. So when we get to meet people that validate you with kind words... bloggers... you know what I'm talking about. 


Okay, back to the Butchers and Fish Mongers. 

After James and "The Little Picklers" signed me in, I walked into a VIP viewing area off to the side of the tent where the contests would be taking place.

I met up with the other bloggers that I had made friends with (thanks to my on-line-now-IRL-friend, Brandie Kajino of Spoon and Saucer) and had the most interesting Bloody Marys ever. The Bloody Mary toppings bar was filled with foods that I thought were munchies. When I asked where the plates were, the bartenders said, "Oh those aren't to eat off a plate. You skewer them for your drink." Having never put meatballs, ribs, artichokes, or mussels in a drink before, the whole exercise made me go outside of my comfort zone with food.

FeastPDX Bloody Mary Toppings Bar.jpg

After three Bloody Marys and watching the first part of the fish mongering contest, I ran over to Le Cordon Bleu (which, if you're ever there for a cooking class, it's in the same building as Target downtown) to take my classes on condiments and salt block cooking.

Andrea Slonecker (author of Pretzel Making at Home) was the instructor for our class, Homemade Condiments, Sweet and Savory. Altogether, we made three condiments (tomato paste, mustard cream, and parsley butter with horseradish), a salty caramel sauce, and our very own pretzels. I enjoyed the class so much, I had to buy her book.

We used a special vanilla-infused salt in our caramel from a specialty salt store, The Meadow. Turns out, the proprietor of that store is the country's leading salt expert AND the instructor of my salt block cooking class. 

Mark Bitterman is as enthusiastic about salt as anyone I've ever met. He will tell you, unequivocally, NOT to use Koshier salt. I don't know why... just DON'T DO IT! In this class, we used beautiful Himalayan sea salt blocks. A natural chemical reaction occurs when you place food on salt blocks, causing the foods to absorb the flavors of these salt blocks. 

Salt Block Cooking.jpg

We sliced cucumbers 1/8" thick and placed them all over a block to sit for 20 minutes, then flip for another 20. I thought I might cut the time by 5 minutes on each side because those cucumber slices were a wee bit too salty for my liking, but as we talked about it, I thought about how good they would taste diced and tossed into a ceviche. 

While the cucumbers were absorbing the salt of one block, we worked on chopping a beautiful piece of Kobe beef into teeny tiny bits for Steak Tartare to eventually top on the cucumber slices, we grilled scallops on a block heated to 500 degrees, and then watched as Mark melted chocolate into a fondue in a salt bowl. We washed all that down with a mint julep served in a -- you guessed it -- salt cup. It was all amazing and I fully plan to add a salt block (and Mark's book on Salt Block Cooking) to my kitchen.

I made it to one last Speaker Series that left me wishing I still lived on my 1/2 acre with my chickens and fruit trees. The panelists of Beat the Devil: Create an Awesome Food Business Without Selling Your Soul were all business owners who found success simply doing things thoughtfully and ethically. 

Each panelist was asked about their early experiences in their respective businesses. Here were snippets of each of their responses:

Piper Davis (Grand Central Baker): "There was no plan other than to get up and do a job that we wanted to do ever day." She also added a bit of advice to "adjust your expectations about money when in a sustainable business."

Chuck Eggert (Pacific Foods): Their early goal was simply "to become the most respected brand in natural products. "We've never done anything to apologize for." 

 A.C. Gallo (Whole Foods Market): A.C. grew up in a family that had a market in NY. He read Chemical Feast when he was in college and decided to become a vegetarian. He left school to work at alternative bulk whole natural food market, which lost many of its providers when California passed a stricter "organic" law. His guiding principle then became integrity and always asks himself, "What is the right thing to do?"

Kim Maleck (Salt & Straw):  This panelist left the biggest impression on me. I don't have a direct quote (probably because I was enthralled by what she was saying), but the gist of what Kim was saying was that she just wanted a place where people come to hang out and get to know their neighbors while enjoying a little something in her shop.

Kim's professional career started at Starbucks when there were only 30 stores and eventually enjoyed a string of awesome jobs, including a project she worked with Bono on. She had a secret dream to open an ice cream shop, but ran away from it for years. Thankfully, her boyfriend and her cousin helped her make that dream come true and now she has a popular community ice cream shop that serves  

Steve Smith (Smith Tea Maker):  Didn't know anything about tea or blending when he started. Learned while working. Took time off in Europe. Saw how the artisans were doing it. Goals were not to open hundreds of locations, but to serve an artisan product. His goal was to "have a unique product and to rise above the noise in a crowded market."

Sugar with Twittter Pals Steve and Susan.jpg

That afternoon, I met up with some more on-line friends for the first time. I might have snuck them into the media lounge for some wine tasting and then might have asked them back to my room at the former gay bath house. Just as I walked up to the door of my room, I saw the Do Not Disturb sign and remembered the mess I left inside.

Damn that Murphy and his laws!!!!

Thankfully, we were all tipsy. I went through the bags of stuff we got from our visit to Feast and gave them as much stuff as I could so that I could fit the remaining items into ONE box of wine (and other tasty treats)  to get them on to my flight under Alaska Airlines' new Wine Flies Free program. So if I ever invite you to my messy room, just know that there will be food and drinks involved, so just ignore the towels on the floor, okay?

The last event I attended was High Comfort. I'd tell you all about it, but Irvin did such a great job of that over at my new obsession, Eat the Love. Go check it out! 

OH! One last thing... 

Do you know what else I learned while at Feast PDX? I learned to rely on Evernote. I used this amazing app on my Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy Camera from Verizon to collect my thoughts in several notebooks, attaching images taken with my devices right into the notes. And while I was connected, the notes synced with my Evernote account in the cloud and eventually back onto my desktop. It was like a lightbulb moment when I finally made myself use it. With as many gadgets as we have available, it's the ability to be connected anywhere on those devices that make life that much easier.

Whew... I'm hungry. I'm gonna go make something to eat...