Ugly Fruit is Beautiful


Try using the Imperfects this Thanksgiving in your favorite recipes.

Back from the Green City Market this morning with six pounds of ugly apples, my favorites in all my cooked goodies. My kitchen now has that lovely fragrance of simmering applesauce. Try this great recipe from PBS using no sugar and apples grown using sustainable practices: Healthy Homemade Applesauce

To learn more about the Imperfect fruit and vegetables, check out this great organization I just ran across:  Imperfect Produce

Welcome Convito Cafe and Market!

When I think of authentic and delicious Italian food, Convito Cafe and Market springs to mind.  Granted I worked at Convito during my waitressing years, loving every piece of food that came out of the kitchen.  Convito is that type of eatery that transports you to the streets of many an Italian city or village.

Convito has now launched their Fall menu with Healthy Fare for Kids items gracing it’s pages.  From their white bean vegetable soup or multi-grain penne with tomato sauce and meatballs or grilled pan fried chicken breast with roasted potatoes & broccoli, healthy and delicious food is now an order away.

Congratulations Convito Cafe and Market for stepping up to help kids know what healthy and delicious food tastes like.

Visit Convito Cafe and Market’s web site.

Chicago Tribune features Healthy Fare for Kids

“Healthy Fare for Kids advocates better options”  is a headline in today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune, Dining Section, page one.  Nancy Maes, reporter,  did a great job in telling the story about Healthy Fare for Kids and the chefs and restauranteurs who are stepping up to make Chicago kids healthier.  Chris Sweda and Joel Wintermantle, Tribune photographers have beautiful photographs of some of the healthy dishes being served at HFFK restaurants.

But read for yourself at,0,3357240.story



Welcome Flavor 180: our newest restaurant serving healthy food with a twist

Fast, flavorful and healthy food in less than 20 minutes.  This is the essence of Flavor 180, our newest restaurant to join the Healthy Fare for Kids initiative.  Every item on their menu is healthy and delicious and full of flavor.

The Healthy Fare for Kids meal is a Kids Turkey Burger on wheat bun with baby spinach, tomatoes, and honey mustard.  I loved my  Turkey Burger at Flavor 180 and believe it  is one of the best in the City of Chicago.  Thick and juicy with the right flavor level and a bit of heat.

Flavor 180 serves up  low-calorie, fire grilled turkey hot dogs, to turkey lasagna with truffle, to lemon curry salmon with truffle honey drizzle.  The menu offers a great variety … everyone can find a dish they will love.

We welcome Flavor 180 and look forward to many delicious meals.

Flavor 180   1511 S State Street, Chicago, IL  web site

Prairie Grass Cafe’s Healthy Fare Kid’s menu nominated for top prize

This week TimeOut Chicago Kids selected the kid’s menu at Prairie Grass Cafe as one of the top five Chicago “most inspired kid’s menu”.  As part of their 2012 Hipsquesk awards campaign, locals are expected to vote for their favorite (I know which one I will choose).

Prairie Grass Cafe is one of Healthy Fare for Kids first restaurants to change their menu reflecting many healthy and delicious items for kids.  Visit our menu tab to see the delicious food Prairie Grass Cafe features, then go to to vote.

Congratulations to Chef’s Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of the Prairie Grass Cafe.

Chicago’s best joins Healthy Fare!

Healthy Fare for Kids has two new restaurants joining forces in our quest to make dining for kids healthier:  Chicago’s own Frontera Grill and the world class Ritz Carlton Chicago Hotel.

Chef Rick Bayless has been a local and national treasure for much of the past two decades.  His approach to Mexican cuisine and dining is unique, bringing authentic food to the tables surrounded by the festive decor and spirit at this fabulous restaurant.  And the margaritas are incomparable to none.  Please jump to his website to read about Frontera Grill and all of the amazing work Chef Bayless does at Frontera Grill.

The Ritz Carlton Chicago Hotel restaurants and in-room dining will be getting a healthier kid’s menu in the near future as well.  Chef Mark Payne, executive chef, is the driving force behind bringing fresh, local ingredients to the tables at RCC’s Deca restaurant.  His connections with area farmers run deep – whether sourcing goat cheese from a nearby farm or chioggia beets at Chicago’s Green City Market.  We are looking forward to his creations for Healthy Fare for Kids.

We welcome Frontera Grill and the Ritz Carlton Chicago Hotel to our family!

Rachel Ray’s Yum-O features Healthy Fare for Kids!

How cool is this?  Check out our recent feature in Rachel Ray’s Yum-O! blog (read now)!

Also I read about this fantastic kid, Marshall Reid, in the New York Times today (read his story).  In an effort to turn his health around at the age of 10 (!), he gets his family motivated to stop buying junk food and start eating and living a healthier lifestyle.  His YouTube videos, Portion Size Me, has become quite a hit and he is very inspirational.

We have lost the cultural of making food in our kitchens, many times cooking with the elder members of our families, passing down recipes and techniques from one generation to the next.  An entire generation, if not more, has been skipped over and in its absence, replaced by fast food restaurants, boxed meals and the microwave.

America is in a time famine with so many hard-working, not-at-home parents arriving at dinner time exhausted with little energy for imagination or more work.  Americans spend over half of their food dollars on meals prepared outside of their home.  And when coupled with the portion size of restaurant food – almost 60% more calories on the plate than a home prepared meal – no wonder kids like Marshall are clamoring to get back in the kitchen.  Go Marshall!!!

Healthy Fare for Kids focuses on portion sizes, reminding chefs that the size of a kid’s stomach is about the size of their fist, so portion accordingly.  I listened to Dr. Jim Painter, Chairman, School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University present how cutting down on portion size alone can lead to significant results in weight loss.  Check out this clip on YouTube.