Chicago Flower and Garden Show Recipes

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Post presentation selfie from the Garden Gourmet stage

Today I had the awesome opportunity to share two of my favorite recipes and my top tips to help you shop, live and eat well with Chicago Flower and Garden Show attendees. I was the featured ‘chef’ at 11:30am on the Garden Gourmet stage. All I can say is despite being super nervous before hand, I had a blast sharing my knowledge and food with this audience. Since I had a bunch of inquiries for the recipes – I wanted to re-share them here so you all could easily reference as well as a couple of my tips. Enjoy!

Carrot Pecan Energy Bites

These are actually my coworker’s recipe – that I’ve adopted and modified many times. They may a great snack pre- or post-workout and are easily stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. I love making a big batch and sharing with friends after long runs. My other energy bite recipe is a bit more indulgent – but also delicious. Check it out here:

fg 2Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup ground pecans


  1. Blend together in a food processor: oats, pecans, cherries, grated carrots, and flax seed.
  2. Pulse in the almond butter, agave or honey, and cinnamon until combined.
  3. Spray hands with cooking spray and roll mixture into balls – about 1 Tbsp/bite.
  4. Role bites in ground pecans then place in air tight container. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Bites keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Makes about 20-30 bites.

Nutrition Info per Bite: 50 calories, 3g total fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 3 mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g protein

Farro, Kale, Citrus and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I love this salad. It contains all my favorite winter fruits and veggies and really adds a punch of citrus flavor to the plate. Serve along side salmon, chicken or other protein and you’ve got a complete meal. Or have alone as a main course (as I often do for lunch). As a side, this serves about 4-6 or on its own – about 3-4.

Ingredients:farro salad

  • 3 cups kale, cleaned well and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and cut into wedges (a regular orange can be used if blood oranges are unavailable)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • Citrus Vinaigrette (see recipe)


  1. To cook farro, place ½ cup uncooked farro in about 2 cups of water (to add more flavor, you could use vegetable or chicken broth).
  2. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain any excess water.
  3. Assemble dressing (see separate recipe). In a large bowl, pour half of the dressing onto the kale and toss/massage well to coat the kale.
  4. Toss the sliced oranges and grapefruit with the kale along with 2/3rd of the toasted hazelnuts, avocado and cooked farro. Make sure everything is combined.
  5. Garnish with the remaining hazelnuts and drizzle over additional dressing, if desired.

Basic Citrus Vinaigrette

(makes just enough for salad)


  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (from about ½ a lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine first 6 ingredients in a small jar or medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. If using a jar, shake to blend. If medium bowl, whisk until combined.

Do Ahead: Vinaigrette can be made/stored for 1 week. Cover and chill. Shake before using.

Nutrition Info (1/5 of recipe with dressing): 304 calories, 6.6g protein, 18.9g fat, 31.8g carbohydrate, 7.7g fiber, 9mg sodium


Fall Flavors: Recipes Packed with Superfood Deliciousness

This past Tuesday I taught a class on foods that help fight inflammation at our Ravenswood Mariano’s for patients of Swedish Covenant Hospital. The recipes I demonstrated and served were a hit among attendees so I thought I’d share here.

What makes them great (besides how good they taste)? The soup contains butternut squash which has a high amount of beta-cryptoxanthan – a powerful antioxidant of the carotenoid family. It is converted to vitamin A in the body and researchers from the UK found that those who consumed more foods containing beta-cryptoxanthin were better protected against arthritis. The soup also contains my favorite fall fruit: apples. Researchers at Florida State University have suggested that apples are truly a “miracle fruit” that convey benefits beyond fiber content. The USDA-funded study, conducted in 160 randomly assigned women ages 45-65, found that women who consumed dried apples daily for a year experienced a lowering of lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein compared to those given the same amount of dried prunes daily for a year. The researchers concluded that consumption of dried apples can be beneficial to human health in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.

The salad contains kale – a power food encouraged by everyone these days. But is it really powerful? An 11-year Mayo Clinic study found that intake of cruciferous vegetables – like kale, broccoli and cabbage – has been shown to be protective against the development of arthritis.

I hope you enjoy these easy to make, delicious, super food packed recipes this fall!

Smokey Apple Butternut Squash SoupNew Picture (5)

Adapted from the U.S. Apple Association


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped (about 4−1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet apples (I like Galas), peeled and cut into chunks (about 3−1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup apple juice (more if necessary)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Heat oil and butter in large saucepan; add onions and chili powder; cook and stir until onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add squash, apples, apple juice, chicken broth, salt and pepper; bring to boil.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat until apples and squash are very so, about 30 minutes. Cool.
  4. Puree with an immersion blender or a food processor; return to saucepan.
  5. Add additional apple juice or broth, if needed.
  6. Garnish with toasted pecans, plain Greek yogurt swirls and thin apple slices, if desired.

Pomegranate, Kale and Quinoa Salad with Walnuts and Fetapom kale salad

Adapted from Pinch of Yum


Salad –

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3 cups chopped baby kale
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese

Dressing –

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 squeeze lemon or orange juice


  1. Prep the salad ingredients (chop, rinse, toast, etc). Chill the ingredients in the fridge while you’re making the dressing if you want a cold salad.
  2. Combine shallot, walnut oil, water, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and orange juice in a food processor; blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Toss the salad ingredients together with the dressing just before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled.