Nikki Azzara and I have lots in common.
We both love to cook, have a deep appreciation for Pure Barre and running, and consume both salads and smoothies as much as possible. (Bonus points: we share an affinity for Icelandic-style yogurt and ketchup.)
Nikki channeled her affinity for cooking into a wonderful website called Slender Seven, and the whole premise is all the recipes on the site can be made with seven ingredients or fewer. Pretty great idea, huh? (As a supporter of foods with fewer ingredients, I’m wholly behind this site.)
In addition to having a limited number of ingredients, all of Slender Seven’s recipes are healthy (and gluten free) as well, so you can feel great about any of the dishes you try from the site’s database (dessert included!). The site’s tagline is “Cook simply, eat healthy, and feel happy” — something I can definitely support.
In addition to using the site online, Nikki recently released a Slender Seven app, which lets users to browse recipes with ease and save their favorites. It has a grocery basket function, allowing you to add ingredients to a shopping cart and create grocery lists on the go and check off ingredients as you shop.
Great news to you lovely readers: Nikki has passed along a coupon code you can use to download the Slender Seven app free of charge (normally it’s $1.99 in the App Store)! Codes are limited, though, so I’ll be sending them out to the first seven people (get it — seven?) who comment on this post with an email address where I can reach you to pass along your coupon code.
I met Nikki last year (she was a business student at Wake and crossed paths with Kevin, since they were both interested in entrepreneurship), and I loved getting to talk to her as she was getting Slender Seven up and running. Since then, she’s graduated from WFU and has made Slender Seven her full-time job.
I asked Nikki to share a bit about her site, her inspiration, and her plans for Slender Seven’s growth:
1. Where did you get the idea for Slender Seven?
Last November while taking an entrepreneurship class at WFU, I decided to pursue my passions for health and cooking in conjunction with my marketing major and launch Slender Seven. The site was a way for me to share my recipes by promoting simple cooking and healthy eating with family, friends, and followers. The recipes are all original and use seven wholesome ingredients or less (gluten-free friendly, too!). Seven seemed like the perfect number of ingredients (not too many, not too little) to minimize the time and effort spent in the kitchen without sacrificing the healthfulness. These recipes make sense for anyone (college students, working professionals, parents) who is looking to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
2. Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?
Magazines, Pinterest, friends, and family. I love looking to these sources for inspiration, then I work to create original recipes that fit the Slender Seven criteria. I love being challenged to come up with healthier alternatives to not-so-healthy recipes.
3. I love to bake. What Slender Seven recipes would you recommend I try?
One of the Slender Seven fan-favorites is our Slender Cookies
, which makes for a healthier cookie by combining 2 bananas, 1 cup oats and any of your favorite toppings (chocolate chips, sprinkles, peanut butter, etc.). Any of our muffin recipes
(blueberry, cornbread, blackberry vanilla) are also delicious, and if you want some no-bake sweets, check out my all-time favorite, the Sweet & Salty Squares
4. What fun new things should we expect from Slender Seven in the future?
I am working on turning one of my favorite recipes (cookie dough…more to come!) into an actual consumer packaged good, which will be sold in grocery stores. This product launch will be the first step towards establishing the Slender Seven brand name in the retail market, and I hope to continue down this path by launching more products.
5. What food brands or recipe sites do you most admire?
I most admire the entrepreneurial-type organic food brands that are redefining healthy eating with their amazing products. Particularly companies such as Justin’s nut butter, KIND bars, The Chia Co, etc. are an inspiration because they have grown to be wildly successful, built on the foundation of transparency, quality, sustainability, and community. Furthermore, I love learning about the brands (Justin’s, Dang, Barnana, Harmless Harvest) that have a cool story and purpose, which is very encouraging for me.
6. What are your top SEVEN essential ingredients to have on hand at all times?
In no particular order:
1. (Frozen) Bananas – There are always 5+ peeled bananas in a baggie in my freezer, since I make banana-based smoothies every morning!
2. Yogurt – Greek or Icelandic (skyr) yogurt is always in my refrigerator, ready for eating or baking.
3. Organic Stevia – I keep this on hand for coffee, baking, or anything that may need some natural sweetening (to replace sugar or artificial sweeteners).
4. Ketchup – As sad as it is, there are many things I simply cannot eat without ketchup, so you will always find that in my refrigerator. My favorite is Simply Heinz, because it has no high fructose corn syrup. I have recently started using Sir Kensington’s Spicy Ketchup, which adds a nice kick!
5. Quinoa – When in doubt, I always cook with quinoa. It is such a versatile ingredient that can be used for breakfast lunch or dinner! The health benefits of this superfood are amazing and quinoa is gluten free.
6. Garlic Powder – It’s always in my spice cabinet because it makes dinner recipes even better!
7. Chia Seeds – I eat chia seeds every day, either on yogurt, in smoothies, or in recipes (can sub for eggs). Chia seeds are the highest plant based source of Omega 3, fiber, and protein, and they are loaded with nutrients.