Category Archives: Reviews and Giveaways

HotFit.TV Launch Party and Sprouted Bean recipe from Karyn Calabrese

Happy Friday everyone!! I have an awesome recipe and review to share with you today. I was invited to the launch party of HotFit.TV last night at the Kenmore Live Studios in River North. The premise behind the site is that it is a place to go to get premium workouts from some of the world’s best trainers. I was so motivated from watching them workout last night, kinda makes me want to go to the gym today….we’ll see. Either way, I think this is something anyone can do in the comfort of their own home, at your own pace. Here are some pics I took…

In between the workout segments, Karyn Calabrese, Vegan, health advocate and owner of three vegan restaurants in Chicago, showed us how to make some easy, delicious, and nutritious meals.

I am going to try her sprout salad today, but since it takes a few days and I am so eager to share it with you, I decided to borrow some photos from our friends at Serious Eats to show you how to make it so hopefully you will do it with me!

Sprouted Salad


  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Optional: garnish with cilantro or parsley


Rinse beans. Soak in a glass jar overnight (3 parts water 1 part beans to allow them to expand). Cover jar with a mesh cloth and secure with rubber band.

The next day drain and rinse sprouts and hang them on their side to dry, making sure mesh top is exposed to the air.

Rinse and drain as needed (based on dryness), about twice a day until they begin to sprout. Combine all sprouts in a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste (obviously more OO than lemon juice).

(Photos courtesy of Serious Eats; visit link for more detailed instruction)

The final product should look like this:

I got to meet Karyn after the show which was so exciting for me! I have been to her restaurants so many times so for me it was like meeting a celebrity! (Dork alert!) Backstage she had dinner prepared for everyone in the studio audience and needless to say, my plate was not big enough!

It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm evening, so the walk home was refreshing. I had to stop on the bridge and snap a few shots because I still can’t get over how gorgeous this city is and how lucky I feel to live here.

That is my building on the far right! Anywho, have a great weekend! I’ll be busy cooking up some fab new recipes to share with you all next week! Cheers loves!


Cooking with Dawn Jackson Blatner – Fall Farro Salad

I had heard a lot about the cooking classes at The Chopping Block, but I just never seemed to get around to signing up for a class. Somehow I stumbled upon a class called 100% Nutritionist Approved Healthy Holiday Eats taught by renowned food and nutrition expert Dawn Jackson Blatner. If you haven’t heard of her check her out. Just a few fun facts about her. She is the nutritionist for the Chicago Cubs and the author of The Flexitarian Diet, a fabulous book about her philosophy to healthy eating. Her philosophy is basically this: pro-plant not anti-meat. She believes that wholesome, nourishing foods are magic for your body. For more about her visit her website, she has tons of fabulous recipes, tips, and articles she has written for major magazines.

I learned so much from her class and each recipe was so phenomenal that I think they really deserve a post of their own. First up is the….

Fall Farro Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

**Farro is an ancient relative of wheat. They look like popcorn kernels and are similar in texture to brown rice but they are round and have a nuttier flavor. Adding a grain to your salad makes it heartier and gives your dish a more fall/winter feel.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup uncooked farro, toasted
  • 2 Tablespoons pitted and quartered kalamata olives
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb
  • 2 cups arugala
  • 1/2 orange, zested – about 1/2 teaspoon (Tip: use a cheese grater to zest to get chunkier pieces)

Orange vinnaigrette

  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice, from zested orange above
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • S&P to taste


In a medium saucepan, combine the water, salt and farro. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the farro is tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Add the olives, fennel, arugula and orange zest to the cooled farro and toss to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until combine. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat. Let the salad stand for at least 10-15 minutes at room temperature & serve.

NOTE: To intensify flavors, let salad marinate in refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

One more thing. If you are in the Chicago area and are interested in learning to cook, I highly suggest you check out the Chopping Block. I had such a wonderful experience there, it is a very nice establishment and the staff were so gracious and helpful. I thought it was a little pricey at first but after leaving I can honestly say it was worth every penny. It’s a great place for a fun, interactive date or a night out with girls. If nothing else, go solo – that’s what I did and I met some really cool people. Definitely Dishin’ approved!