Spring Cooking Classes

Well, this winter in Southern California was pretty un-winterlike. Most days have been sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Where’s the rain and cold that typifies February? Hey, I’m not complaining – I much prefer this short-sleeve weather! Even though Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter, I’m prediciting spring to arrive right on time. I think it’s actually arriving a little early as I’ve spied the spring veggies asparagus and artichokes in the market! Woo hoo! Let’s get the spring cooking class calendar set so we can take advantage of all the spring bounty!


March – Thursday 3/20 – Transitioning from winter to spring – lightening up those comfort foods

April – Thursday 4/24 – Mexcian Made Nutritious and Delicioso!

May – Thursday 5/15 – Desserts that won’t ruin your waistline!

All classes start at 7 pm and run until 8:30-ish

Cost: $25

Location: my house (address given out with rsvp)

RSVP by the Wednesday morning before the class

Bring you appetite and cooking and nutrition questions.


Winter Cooking Class (2013-2014)


Shorter days and cooler weather is upon us, which means it’s time to turn our focus to warm, comforting foods. As always, all recipes are nutritious and delicious (and easy).

December 12 – Delicious holiday brunch recipes

January 9 – New Year, New You! Detox your body from all of the holiday feating.

February 13 – Romantic dinner for 2

Class time: 7:00pm

Location: address given upon rsvp

Cost: $25

please rsvp by the day before the class (in the morning, so I have time to shop)

Fall 2013 Cooking Class Series

If you were able to join me during any one (or all) of the cooking classes this summer, then you learned many new recipes that were not only nutritious and delicious, but easy. And of course, who can forget the signature cocktail being featured at each cooking class?Alas, the summer Cooking Class series (June, July, August) has come to an end and it's time to put our focus on the foods of fall. September is always such a tricky month because it's still officially summer for most of the month and the weather reminds us of this. So September's recipes will still have a lighter feel to them. October and November's recipes will definitely have a warmer, heartier feel to them.

Bring your appetite, food and nutrition questions, and of course, a sense of humor. Get ready to eat, drink, learn, and laugh. Bring a friend or two and share the evening having fun!

Thursday, SEPTEMBER 12th – Summer's last hurrah!

Thursday, OCTOBER 10th – Chilis, Soups, and Stews

Thursday, NOVEMBER 14th – New Thanksgiving recipes!

Class Time: 7:00-8:30 pm
Cost: $25
Location: my house (address given upon rsvp)

RSVP by the day before the class.

2013 Summer Cooking Classes

Summer fruit!
Summer fruit!

The Spring cooking classes were a great success, featuring easy-to-make, nutritious and delicious recipes. The focus is always on getting in more vegetables, highlighting lean proteins, picking the right kinds of grains, and spicing it all up with fresh herbs, warm spices, and a punch of flavor from some acid. And let’s not forget about the delicious beverages. April’s class featured a delcious and sweet green smoothie and May’s cinco de mayo class started off with some bold mango margarits and strawberry margaritas. All classes will now have a featured beverage!

Here’s the proposed schedule of classes for the summer. Normally I hold them the first Thursday of each month, but the first thursday in July is the 4th, so I’m pushing it off to the next week. Same goes with August, as there are five thursday’s that month, so the schedule makes more sense this way.

JUNE 6 – Brunch (Father’s day is coming…)
JULY 11 – Desserts featuring summer fruits
AUGUST 8 – Light and Fresh Summer Soups and Salads

Class starts at 7:00 pm
Cost: $25
please rsvp by the day before (morning)

Come hungry and be prepared to eat, laugh, and learn!

2013 Cooking Classes


Happy 2013! It’s time to get cooking again – nutritious, delicious, and easy recipes that will help you achieve your wellness goals. Check out the calendar for the beginning of the year. Classes will be held monthly in my home, the first Thursday of every month from 7:00-8:30 pm. Bring your sense of humor, an appetite, and any nutrition questions you have.

Decorative hearts for SaintFebruary 7th – Valentine’s Day Menu

spring vegetables March 14th – Cooking with spring veggies

of this easy one pot with April 4th – One-pot meals

[Sharing] Mexican Cinco de May 2nd – Cinco de mayo party (a.k.a., great Mexican Food)

Please rsvp to me: ErinMacdonaldRD@aol.com

Cost of class: $25

Bring some friends and get ready to eat, laugh, learn, and have some fun!

COOKING CLASS SCHEDULE (October, November, December 2012)

Cooking classes will now be held once a month on Thursday nights at 7:00pm

Location: My House

Address given once you RSVP

Cost: $25/class

RSVP: ErinMacdonaldRD@aol.com

OCTOBER 18, 2012 – Fall’s filling foods

NOVEMBER 15, 2012 – Thanksgiving side dishes

DECEMBER  13, 2012 – Holiday party foods

Summer Cooking Series


Learn and taste nutritious and delicious foods that will nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness coach in practice for 17 years with a passion for cooking.



rsvp      www.lotus7yoga.com



$25/class or $60/3 classes

All classes at Lotus 7 Yoga & Pilates


22521 Avenida Empresa, Suite 116

Rancho Santa Margarita

6:30-8:00 pm

July 2012

July 9th – Summer Salads

  • California Chopped Salad
  • Shrimp and Avocado salad with parmesan frico
  • Sensational Summer Slaw

July 23rd – Sushi Making 101

  • California roll
  • Spicy Tuna roll
  • Salmon roll

August 2012

August 6th – Taco Time

  • Grilled tequila-lime fish tacos
  • Roasted vegetable tacos
  • Baja Chicken tacos

August 27th – Back to School Fuel

  • Turkey-guacamole wrap sandwich
  • Chicken pasta pesto salad

September 2012

Please note: there will be no class on the 10th – I will be out of town! Mini-vacay!

September 24th – Mexican made easy

  • Stacked chicken enchiladas
  • Salsa verse black beans
  • Corn, tomato, avocado salsa




Learn and taste nutritious and delicious foods that will nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness coach in practice for 17 years with a passion for cooking.



rsvp      www.lotus7yoga.com or ErinMacdonaldRD@aol.com

  • $25/class or $60/3 classes

All classes at Lotus 7 Yoga & Pilates


22521 Avenida Empresa, Suite 116&117, Rancho Santa Margarita

6:30-7:30 pm

APRIL 2012

Monday, April 16 – Simple Spring Dinners

  • Pasta with lemon, asparagus, and parmesan
  • Eggplant parmesan
  • Misoyaki fish with Japanese eggplant

Monday, April 30 – Breakfast favorites

  • Pancakes with mixed berry compote
  • Omelets
  • Sweet potato hash

MAY 2012

Monday, May 14 – Party food

  • Appetizers
  • dips
  • cocktails/mocktails

Monday, May 28 – Spa Day

  • Sushi hand rolls
  • Gazpacho soup
  • Roasted vegetable salad

JUNE 2012

Monday, June 11 – Asian Fusion

  • Spring rolls
  • Stir-fry
  • Lettuce wraps (think P.F. Chang’s)

Monday, June 25 –Desserts

  • TBD – you won’t want to miss it!

Cooking Class Series



Learn and taste nutritious and delicious foods that will nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness coach in practice for 17 years with a passion for cooking.



rsvp      www.lotus7yoga.com or ErinMacdonaldrd@aol.com

  • $25/class or $60/3 classes

All classes at Lotus 7 Yoga & Pilates

29941 Aventura, Suite F, Rancho Santa Margarita

7:30-8:30 pm


Monday, January 27  Soups and stews to warm the soul

  • Tortilla soup
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Vegetarian chili


Monday, February 13   Valentine’s Day Dinner

Nutritious, Delicious, and Romantic

  • Pan-seared scallops with roasted asparagus
  • Chocolate covered strawberries

Monday, February 27  Heart-healthy eating

  • Spiced apple oatmeal
  • Spinach salad with balsamic-roasted vegetables
  • Quinoa jambalaya

MARCH 2012

March 12 – Sports Nutrition – pre-workout and post-workout meals to improve your performance and recovery:

  • Triple berry Smoothie
  • Almond butter and banana stuffed French toast
  • Pumpkin spiced super oatmeal

March 26 – Superfoods to boost your immune system

  • Mango-avocado salad
  • Kale chips
  • Blueberry-banana ice cream

Ch-ch-ch Chia seed!

You know the cute little Chia Pets that seem to pop up every year around the holiday time. Spread the seeds, water, and watch them grow “hair” over a few short weeks. The hair is actually the sprouts of the chia seed. Yes, they’re edible, though I’m not sure I’d want to eat the ones grown on one of those clay figurines.

Chia seeds are one of the hot, new superfoods out there. Actually, they’re not so new, but thousands of years old. They date back to pre-Colombian times when the Aztec and Mayans are reported to have used them for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. Known as the “running food” for their ability to promote endurance, Spanish folklore has it that Aztec messengers could survive a whole day of running on just a handful of seeds.

Nutritional Powerhouse

Chia seeds have a pretty impressive nutritional profile:

  • Omega 3: chia is a vegan source of Omega 3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). 1 tbs. of chia has 2,282 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Fiber: contains both soluble (cholesterol lowering) and insoluble (sweeps through the digestive system) fiber with 5 grams of fiber per 1 tbs.
  • Minerals:  Chia is a good source of Magnesium (promotes muscle relaxation), Potassium (reduces blood pressure and bloating), Calcium (promotes bone health), Iron (carries oxygen to muscles), and Folate (cardiovascular health and important for women of child-bearing age)
  • Antioxidants: Both white and dark chia seeds score high in the ORAC scale (measures amount of antioxidants), including quercetin, which has been shown to aid in athletic performance and recovery. These high levels of antioxidants help prevent the chia seed from going rancid, allowing it to be shelf stable for up to 1 year when stored in an air-tight container.
  • Gluten free: great for people with Celiac disease or Gluten sensitivity
  • 15 grams of chia seed (approx. 1 tbs.) has 60 calories, 5 grams fat, 6 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, and 107 mg Calcium

Health Benefits

Although there are a limited number of studies that have been conducted using chia seeds, some of those have had promising results.

  1. Blood sugar control – studies have shown that consumption of approximately 2 tbs. of chia seeds help to reduce the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal and also helps to promote a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
  2. Blood pressure – studies show that participants who ate chia seeds, as compared to those who didn’t, exhibited lowered blood pressure, which can help to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.
  3. Anti-inflammatory – Chia ranks highly in its antioxidant score, more than blueberries which are known to be one of the most powerful foods in terms of antioxidants. These antioxidants act to help combat the inflammation in the body that contributes to elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and arthritis.
  4. Weight loss – because chia seeds help to promote satiety, you’ll likely eat less in the meals following, meaning you’ll likely take in fewer calories during the day, which can lead to weight loss.
  5. Boosts athletic performance – Chia seeds are a great source of energy, as they contain carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Take it from the Aztecs who could run for an entire day after eating just a spoonful of chia seeds, these little beauties can power up your workout and help you recover as part of a post-exercise meal.

How to use Chia

Ok, now that you’re interested in trying chia, you’re not quite sure how to use it. The most basic way to incorporate chia into your diet is to toss it into oatmeal and yogurt or mix it into your pancake, waffle, and muffin batter. One tablespoon adds 60 calories of a pleasant crunch. The other two popular ways of using chia are to make the long-used beverage known as “chia fresca” or to make a chia gel, which helps with blood sugar control and promotes satiety.

Chia gel: Place 2 tbs. chia seeds into a mason jar and add 8 oz of water. Place the lid on the jar and shake well. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the gel to form. The gel can stay in the fridge for 2 weeks. Add the gel to your oatmeal or try adding 2 spoonfuls to mashed fruit as a “jam” to go on toast. it’s really good.

Chia Fresca: Place 1 tbs. chia seed in a mason jar and add 10 oz. of filtered water. Cover, shake, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then add the juice of 1-2 lemons or limes. I also like to add the juice of 1 orange. Cover and shake again before drinking. It’s very refreshing and will help to give you a boost in energy.