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Epic Kitchen Fail

This “Epic Kitchen Fail” below is one that we are hoping you won’t glob up your day anytime soon!

Hi Erin,

My husband and I are quickly becoming Clean Cuisine zealots. In a good way. We didn’t exactly follow the 8 week plan – accelerated some and just implementing others. I’ve lost 6 lbs in 6 weeks and have not felt hungry or had cravings at all. I have increased my exercise (walking) but now need to start some weight training and more intense exercise. I have about 20 lbs that I would love to lose. My husband has lost 12 lbs (men, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr). We both feel so much better. And, I am noticing my skin looks better. I cleaned out my pantry on Monday – no more crap in our house. We cook exclusively from the book. We implemented green smoothies this week. We are totally getting there and this is the one thing I’ve tried that I know I can stick to because the food is delicious and I can feel it. We’re both big cooks so developing the flavors in the recipes is key (albeit time consuming). We hit the Farmers Market and another good market on Saturdays and then cook and chop a lot on Sundays. Work but worth it. Everything we’ve made we’ve loved. Except…..The Superfood Salad Booster. I tried to make it last night after a long day at work. Not sure what happened but it was an epic failure. I made the one with sundried tomatoes, dried apricots, pine nuts, and hemp seeds. We even bought the Vitamix (and the FridgeX silicon containers – and I just ordered Ivy’s workout video). We followed the recipe and put the first 3 ingredients in the Vitamix. It globbed together and would NOT turn in to crumbs. So then I added the last ingredients. Still a glob of paste-like consistency. Definitely not crumbs. I thought maybe it was because there wasn’t enough in the blender so I doubled the amount of the ingredients. Fail. The sundried tomatoes were in oil. I didn’t use the oil but naturally some of it was still on the tomato. In fact, the longer I processed it (clearly too long) it heated up and I guess smushed more oil out of the tomato so I ended up with quite a lot of oil in the bottom of the blender (which I poured out). The end product was a paste – that’s the only way I know to describe it. I still added some to my salad. And, it’s not bad. But clearly not something I could put into a baggie and spoon out.

Any idea what the heck I did wrong?

Thanks for your time,


Dear Barbara,

Well, first let me say bravo to you and your husband for taking charge of the way you age, look, and feel by eating Clean Cuisine’s delicious and nutritious food! Since you and your husband are big cooks, I’m sure you are having a lot of fun testing the recipes in the book and on the website. However, experiencing an “Epic Kitchen Fail” (as the internet calls it) like you did with one of our Superfood Salad Booster recipes can be a big bummer and not much of a spirit “booster” at all. The good news is:

  1. It happens to all of us. In fact, I once had a rather disastrous “Epic Kitchen Fail” while I was testing smoothie recipes (Note: think twice before adding a red onion–even if it is the only veggie in your fridge!).
  2. These epic fails prevent you and others from making a mistake like this again, and it helps us here at Clean Cuisine to improve our recipe instructions. So, thank you for sharing!!

Now….since you asked…’s “what the heck [you] did wrong.” And, as it turns out, we should share some of the blame. It was definitely the oil in the sun-dried tomatoes that made an epic mess of your salad booster.* This is why we suggest using only dry ingredients. Even if you didn’t use the oil they came in, the dried tomatoes had already reconstituted enough to glob up in your blender. You may have also “blended” them a bit too long, as “pulsing” your high-speed blender prevents even dryer tomatoes from potentially sticking. After talking to Ivy about your trouble with this, she told me that she once tried to double the Salad Booster recipe and it became a big, goopy mess—adding more ingredients may have even made things worse. However, let’s stop focusing on what you and we here at Clean Cuisine may have done wrong. What you did right was let us know about this ASAP. And, what we’ve done is add a few more instructions to make sure this doesn’t happen again (see below in red).


*What exactly is a “Salad Booster” you ask? Just like our oil-free salad dressings, our Clean Cuisine Salad Boosters contain healthy “whole” fats from raw nuts and seeds. However, instead of adding water and making a creamy oil-free dressing we grind the nuts and seeds along with other ingredients dry, without any liquid. Because the raw nuts and seeds are ground into small crumbs they can be sprinkled over your salad so that you get a bit in every salad bite. If instead you simply added a few whole walnuts or almonds to your salad you might get the health benefits but you won’t get the same taste satisfaction you would get if the nuts were ground into crumbs.

Directions for Making All Salad Boosters:

(click HERE for all of Clean Cuisine’s Superfood Salad Booster recipes)

  1. Put the first 3 ingredients in a mini-food processor (you may also use a high-speed blender-but make sure to pulse for desired consistency). Process into crumbs.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until mixture is crumbly and moist.
  3. Sprinkle a few tablespoons on top of your salad. Save the rest in a zip-top bag and store in the freezer.
  4. Try not to increase measurements, as smaller amounts produce better goop-free results.

Succulent Tomato Salad Booster

8 dried organic apricots
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preferably without salt and DEFINITELY without oil)
¼ cup + 2 TBS pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 pinches cayenne pepper
¼ cup hemp seeds

Thank you so much for your question, Barbara. I hope we can all look back on this “epic kitchen fail” and laugh a little. It has definitely inspired me to think of what we might be able to cook up with sun-dried tomato, pine nut paste–I’m thinking it might put a nice twist on our Slow-Cooker Bolognese! Make sure to sign up for our FREE 8-Week Challenge for more recipes, meal plans, and exercise videos to keep your Clean Cuisine spirit boosted!

For Health,

Contributing Editor to Clean Cuisine
Ask Erin a question at: and follow her on Twitter: @ELodeesen

Healthy, Green Cookware: No Metals, No Leaching

Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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