Why Food Works: A Nutritious Dinner Party

On Sunday night, I had the pleasure of attending a small DC blogger dinner courtesy of a fellow DC area Registered Dietitian, Sarah. Sarah has just started up a small business called Why Food Works, through which she hosts dinner parties at customer’s homes to show them how easy and fun it can be to cook nutritious meals.

salmon cake

The dinner parties are normally $60 per person (plus $8 if you want a wine pairing, with the host receiving 50% off everything), but since she’s just starting up and is looking to grow her business, she reached out to all of us and offered to host the dinner for free in exchange for writing about the dinner on our blogs. The dinners normally take about 3 hours and all food, kitchen gadgets, utensils, plates, and glasses are provided – you don’t even have to clean up! Sounded good to me. :)

Ericka organized the dinner and Amy hosted it. We had a fun group – the only person I’d met before was Ericka, so it was fun to make some new friends! Everyone was really friendly and cool.

blogger dinner

From left – me, Evi, Ericka, Sarah, Sarah, Amy

When we first arrived, Sarah set us up with a glass of wine and some appetizers.


Did you know that you can make a much healthier version of a ranch or sour cream dip by using Greek yogurt? That’s one of my favorite tips, so I was glad to see Sarah putting it into action! Basically, you combine onion powder, garlic powder, dried chives, and a little salt with plain Greek yogurt, and voila! Ranch dip that’s much higher in protein and lower in calories and saturated fat than normal ranch dips. Click here for Sarah’s full recipe: Guilt Free Ranch Dip. My favorite brands of plain Greek yogurt are Chobani and Stonyfield Greek!

healthy ranch dip

While we snacked, we hung out with Sarah in the kitchen, watching her cook! Part of the benefit of her cooking parties is that guests are able to ask her nutrition questions, and since I was there as a fellow RD, we answered them together. :) It was fun to meet another entrepreneurial RD – we’re going to meet up again soon to talk possible partnerships, since she doesn’t do private nutrition counseling and I do, and I don’t do cooking classes and she does! Dream team! :)


My favorite part of dinner was by far these amazing salmon cakes. Click here for her full recipe; they are super easy and I can’t wait to make them again at home. Even better is that they are cheap – they’re made using canned salmon instead of fresh! I loved the fresh cilantro in them, too. So good.

salmon cake

One of our side dishes was a risotto – did you know you can make risotto using steel cut oats instead of rice? I didn’t, either! What a great idea and a good way to increase the fiber content of the dish.

healthy risotto

healthy risotto

Before we knew it, dinner was served! Our other side dish was roasted broccoli – yum.


On top of the salmon cake was a simple goat cheese sauce – she mixed goat cheese, a little milk, and pepper together and voila! A sauce. Love this idea – totally using that again, too!


For dessert, Sarah made a delicious no bake coconut “cheesecake.” The crust was a classic raw vegan approach – it was made of dates, almonds, and coconut oil processed together. The filling was simply Greek yogurt, sweetened coconut, coconut water, lemon juice and some gelatin! She popped it in the fridge before we we had dinner and by the time we’d cooked and eaten, it was gelled up and ready to go. So easy, nutritious, and it was delicious, too. Click here for her full recipe.


If you’re a DC area reader, I’d definitely recommend checking out Sarah’s Why Food Works dinner party offerings. The meal she cooked for us was great – healthy but interesting (no “diet food”!), and simple to prepare so you’d be able to make it again on your own, too. I love that she tells clients about the reasoning behind the meals nutritionally, too!

Thanks again for the great dinner, Sarah! Looking forward to chatting more about how we can work together in the future. :)


  1. 1

    I love the steel cut oats for risotta idea – I make mine with brown basmati and it takes forever!

  2. 2

    Some great ideas and such a unique idea! Love it! If only I lived closer :)

  3. 3

    Fun! And looks yummy. ALSO, only $8 extra for wine??? Tell her to come to NYC :)

  4. 5

    Dude, how do I get in on these fun blogger meet-ups?! Love that cheesecake idea!

  5. 6

    Such a wonderful idea! The Salmon Cakes sound wonderful.

  6. 7

    Such a cool idea! I wish I was in the area – I’d totally do this. I love that the food choices were unique, yet still simple and nutritious. Kudos to Sarah for making healthy eating tasty and fun.

  7. 8

    All of those recipes look so delicious! I’m pinning them all :)

  8. 9

    What a neat idea! I would love to start something like this up in the Harrisburg area, but I don’t know that there’s much of a market for it. What I like most is that she used ingredients that I already have on hand! Nothing that I’d have to go out and buy to remake it again. Also, LOVE the greek yogurt dip! I always hated buying “ranch seasoning” because it’s always hard to find one with clean ingredients… this way, I can just use spices that are already in my kitchen! So neat. <3

  9. 10

    Mmmm! Everything looks so delicious! I definitely pinned those recipes and I’m pretty jealous I’m not in the area!

  10. 11

    Love her apron! And I just pinned every recipe :-)

  11. 12

    i just read about this on ericka’s blog. sounds so fun!

  12. 13

    Does salmon in a can or pouch still carry the same nutritional value as fresh? I love salmon and tuna in pouches but wonder if it is comparable or if I can keep eating it that way for convenience.. :)

    • 14

      Canned tuna and salmon probably have slightly less nutrients because of the high heat cooking/canning process, but it’s better to eat canned fish vs. no fish at all! I just mix it up between fresh and canned. One thing to note is that canned fish is a lot higher in calcium, though, because it’s canned with the bones (which are so soft from the cooking canning process that you don’t notice them, texture wise).

  13. 16

    What a very cool concept! I wish I lived in the DC area! Her meal looked so good and very nutritious.

  14. 17

    Do you use steel cut oats just as you would the arborio rice?

  15. 19

    I love love love this idea!!! so fun for a girls night or even a change up from a normal date-night. I’ve never used goat cheese in a white sauce, but i’m totally going to try that!

  16. 20

    That looks like so much fun! WHat a great idea and a fun way to get your friends together for a dinner date instead of eating out!

  17. 21

    The “cheesecake” looks DIVINE! I’m going to have to try to recreate it sometime!

  18. 22

    Sounds like a lot of fun! I am always looking for new things to do with salmon and will definitley be trying the Salmon Cakes!

  19. 23

    That looks delicious, I’m definitely going to have to try that! I love that idea for a sauce as well, yummy!

  20. 24

    What an absolutely perfect meal! Thanks so much for sharing links to the recipes!

  21. 25
    Annette Adams says

    I make a version of Ranch Dip using cottage cheese as the base. Throw it in a blender with the same seasoning (to smooth out the lumps) and you will have another high protein ranch dip alternative.

  22. 27

    I wish I live in your area. It is very nice ideas to be able ask questions to RD and to have great nutricious receipts at the same time.

  23. 28

    What a cool idea! It sounds a little spendy, but a great different event!

  24. 29

    Wow!! That dinner looks amazing and such a cool idea!!

  25. 30

    What an awesome idea for a company – and all the food looks great! I love this!

  26. 31

    Wow these recipes look great! Especially the cheesecake one :)

  27. 32

    First, those recipes look DELICIOUS! Second, any idea where she got her apron? :)

  28. 33

    Those salmon cakes look amazing! I need to try this whole meal!

  29. 34

    Such a cool business idea! Being a RD really is limitless. Good veggie dip recipe!

  30. 35

    What a great idea! I can’t imagine how great you two would be as a “dream team”!
    Love the salmon cakes. Absolutely making a batch this weekend for my lunches next week! Thank you for sharing!

  31. 36

    The food looks really tasty, especially the salmon patties. That is the only way I eat salmon, is in patty form. Yummy. Glad you had a good time.

  32. 37

    Anne, it’s sooo exciting to hear of your current and future plans as a RD! Yes, I do think you and Sarah would make a dream teak, for sure hehe. Those salmon cakes look so pretty and delicious ;). I used to hate cilantro, and now I always have it on hand…well not at this moment…it committed suicide bc I think I overwatered it…yet again :(
    Anyway, it’s so wonderful to see so many people come together to enjoy a healthy and delicious food.. REAL food!!

  33. 39

    I love hearing about RDs doing new things with their degree – cooking real food in clients kitchens is an awesome idea! This dinner looked like it was a lot of fun! I will definitely be bookmarking those recipes for future reference. :-)

  34. 40

    Steel cut oats for risotto is such a cool idea I would never have thought of!

  35. 41

    This post is beautifully done! Thanks for the inspiration. I love that RDs are going into homes and doing hands on work with clients. It’s not just work it’s fun! Don’t forget to join Nutrition Entrepreneurs and we can all hear more about what you guys do!

  36. 43
    Healthy Eater says

    Great post. Wonderful dinner. And sounds like a terrific partnership!

    Question for you: are arnica and bromaline useful (apparently they’re sold in Whole Foods and they help ward off bruises and other ailments) — ? Thx!

    • 44

      sorry me por intruding… Healthy Eater: I know that Arnica is an anti-inflammatory, which treats injuries and chronic pain like arthritis we can get it in whole food store, andmore interesting is Bromelina because is a substance present in the natural pineapple juice that helps digest amino acids from proteins, therefore having a better overall digestion and preventing digestive infections, also is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps treat certain inflammatory diseases like arthritis has several anticoagulant qualities that help maintain normal blood flow, prevent circulatory problems and improve hypertension…that’s why I like so much pineapple. :)

    • 46

      I don’t know much about those two supplements (see the other comment for information about them), but I’m a firm believer that unless you’re following a specialized diet (e.g. vegan) or have a medical condition that leads to deficiencies, supplements aren’t necessary. You can get everything you need from food as long as your diet is varied!

  37. 47

    Do you have the recipe for the risotto? It sounds amazing!


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