If a recipe is a story that ends with a good meal, then a single blood donation is a generous act that ends with saving more than one life. Executive Chef, Dan St. Jean believes in both. A little under a year ago he began blocking time in his schedule to regularly donate platelets to help patients in need.
Platelet Donor Motivated by Personal Connection
Family is an essential part of St. Jean’s life. It’s what attracted him to the culinary industry and what motivates him to spend hours in his local American Red Cross blood donation center. “I can’t imagine the people that need these donations of platelets, or blood or plasma and it’s not there,” said St. Jean. “There’s potential that (a) loved one could be worse off or even pass away without having that there.”
The fear of losing a loved one is particularly relevant to St. Jean and his family after watching his mother battle cancer three times. The notion that a blood shortage could have impacted her care is unimaginable. “Just knowing if my mom had needed blood and it wasn’t there I would have been upset. I just feel like there’s no excuse not to go,” said St. Jean.
Reunited with the Red Cross to Do Good
St. Jean began donating blood at 18 years old, but then life got in the way. After recommitting to rolling up a sleeve to give, he’s donated platelets more than 20 times and realizes how easy it is. “I go first thing in the morning at 7:15. With platelets you’re getting all of your red cells back and all that. So, you don’t feel run down, you don’t feel tired. I finish up, get up and go and have a normal day,” says St. Jean.
This holiday he will spend Thanksgiving with his family, including his Mom. His restaurant group leads by the mantra “Do Good” and St. Jean urges all to join in this lifestyle through blood donation. “There’s such a wide array of people that come in to donate. You can be anyone,” says St. Jean. “When you come in, they know you by your first name and it’s clear that they recognize you and you feel like you really belong.”
Help a Patient in Need Today
Right now, the Red Cross is in critical need of all blood types and blood products. All eligible donors who roll up a sleeve to give between Nov. 18 and Dec. 18, 2019 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card to thank them for their time and lifesaving donation.
Schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
Chef Dan has shared a delicious Harvest Salad recipe that is not only a tasty Thanksgiving addition, but also rich in iron and perfect for a pre-donation meal. Serve with your favorite protein to boost iron.
Baby Spinach tossed with a maple-black pepper dressing. Topped with spiced almonds, roasted butternut squash, and feta cheese. Serve with your favorite protein.
Maple Black Pepper Dressing
½ cup Mayonnaise
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup Maple Syrup
¼ cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Canola Oil
½ tablespoon Black Pepper
½ tablespoon Kosher Salt
Place all ingredients except the oil into mixing bowl. Incorporate ingredients with a wire whisk. Slowly whisk in the oil until incorporated.
Roasted Butternut Squash
2 pound butternut squash, diced ½ inch
½ cup Canola Oil
½ tablespoon Kosher Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ cup Brown Sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients into mixing bowl. Toss to coat. Place squash on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the squash and cook until tender.
1 Egg White
½ pound Sliced Almonds
¼ cup White Sugar
1/8 cup Blackening Spice
½ tablespoon Paprika
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place egg white into clean mixing bowl. With wire whisk, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the sliced almonds and coat with the egg whites. Add in sugar and spices and mix. Place almonds onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes and then stir. Cook for another 10 minutes. Take out and cool. Break almonds up because they will be stuck together.
Place baby spinach into mixing bowl. Lightly dress with the maple black-pepper dressing. Place salad onto serving dish. Top with the spiced almonds, roasted butternut squash, and feta cheese. Serve with your favorite protein. Enjoy!