June 27, 2012

Kidneys, Cooking Classes, Scones

Pass it forward.

Most of the time when I say this, I’m talking about shuffling that plate of spicy green beans in my direction.

But today, I’m talking about experiences. And scones. But mostly experiences.

Our lives are filled with them — good and bad; some worthy of pictures, some better left to a gossip session over tea; many part of our everyday routines and many others that are life changing. But all of them, moments in time. Our time.

Many people keep their experiences to themselves. But over the years, I’ve learned that if you take these little time stamps — especially the tougher ones — add in some other ingredients — like a dollop of humor, a pinch or instruction, and even a friend or two — they turn into something bigger. Something longer-lasting. Something that may actually turn into an experience for someone else.

It’s not just the things we experience, but how we use them — how we pass them forward — that lead to our greatest adventures and discoveries. To the legacies we leave and the footprints we make. And eventually to a plate of perfect scones, which we’ll get to in a moment.

My greatest joy comes from passing things forward. And I mean anything, from recipes for low-sodium quinoa lamb burgers to lessons in living with a chronic illness. Seeing my rough patches make someone else’s journey a little smoother makes every doctor appointment, failed kidney, or no good very bad day worth it.

So I urge you, when you’re feeling down or bummy or worn out, pass some positivity onward. Maybe it’s advice to someone going through a tough time. Maybe it’s a recipe for someone who just started a low-sodium diet. Or maybe it’s a basket of these scones.

Whatever it is, you’ll feel lighter afterwards. And accomplished. And gooey inside.

That’s why today, I am going to pass forward three very important things.

FIRST: a cooking class. Actually FOUR cooking classes, all happening in the next few months. One is a hands-on lesson at the Sacramento Whole Foods Market and two are store tours followed by demos and tastings at the San Mateo and Sacramento locations. You definitely want to be there. It’s going to be tasty. So save the date and keep an eye out for links to reserve your space!

JULY 11th — San Mateo WFM — Tour the Store: Staying Full Beyond The Stove — 5 to 7 pm (sign up here: http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaID=231694)

JULY 17th — Sacramento WFM — Tour the Store: Staying Full Beyond The Stove — 6 to 8 pm (sign up here: http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=231655)

August 7th — San Mateo WFM — Tour the Store: Pantry Essentials — 5 to 7 pm (sign up here: http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaID=231695)

AUGUST 21st –Sacramento WFM — Cooking Class: Stove-Free Dinners With Sodium Girl — 6 to 8pm  (sign up here: http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=231669 )

SECOND: I have partnered with the National Kidney Foundation to create some low-sodium summer BBQ recipes that will keep you and your salt-loving friends full on Fourth of July and beyond. There’s curry red pepper ketchup involved. And a video. Enough said.

THIRD: I put on my baker’s apron and attempted a new recipe which, much to my surprise, actually worked out perfectly thanks to Joy the Baker’s perfect directions. And the result was some super easy low-sodium scones that you can make on a Sunday and then munch on throughout the week. Or even use for Strawberry Scone Cake this upcoming Fourth. Just another dish that will blow your friend’s minds.

Sign up. Watch. Grill. Bake.

And then, as always, chow (and pass it) on.


makes 4 mini scones, salt-free’d from Joy the Baker’s Grapefruit Honey Yogurt Scones


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sodium-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sodium-free baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (the bigger the chunks the better)
  •  1/2 cup plain 0% FAGE plain Greek yogurt


Here’s the prep: Preheat the oven to 425dg F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom. Add the cold, cubed butter and using your fingers, break the butter into smaller pieces, working it into the dry ingredients until the butter and flour combine to look like coarse meal or little peas.

Add the honey, the cherries, coconut, and plain yogurt. Use your hands again to combine all the ingredients until it comes together and feels like dough.

Lightly flour your working surface and break the dough in half, forming two balls. Use a rolling pin to lightly roll out each dough ball into 4-inch circles, about 1 inch thick. Using a knife or dough cutter, separate each circle into 4 mini triangles. Place them all on the parchment-covered baking sheet and put the sheet in the oven on the middle rack.

Bake for 15 until the scones are golden brown on top and firm, but soft in the center. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before serving. And then cover each scone with a generous helping of coconut ice cream, sweet butter, or cherry jam.

Or enjoy them the next day with berries and a few dollops of Greek yogurt and mint.

+ Sodium Count: Plain Greek yogurt: 60mg per 6-ounce container, depending on brand

Karin June 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I had never seen your “Square One” post until today. I’m glad I read it. My journey into the low sodium world begand in 2010 when I was diagnosed with a liver disease. I nearly died last year Through lifestyle change, I am doing great now, although I will never be “cured” and may require a transplant at some point It’s nice to find blogs that show low-sodium cooking can be easy and delicious. Thanks!

Lanier Laney February 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Lovely one,
Have your cookbook, it’s fantastic! Cooking classes anywhere on the East Coast?
2 Gay guys in SC

jessg23 February 27, 2014 at 5:25 am

I hope so soon! I will be sure to let you know! I’m so glad you like the book!

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