February 2015
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How Are We Doing?

Want to know how we're making a difference? 

Click here to see the University of Chicago's findings about the impact of our Delicious Nutritious Adventures program.

Hello Purple Asparagus Supporters!

Though it's cold outside, here at Purple Asparagus our hearts are kept warm by the tremendous outpouring of support we received from individual donors in 2014. The work we do can't happen without your support and we want to thank everyone who made even the smallest donation. Together, through large and small donations alike, we're proud to share with you that in 2014 we raised over $29,000 from individuals alone! Thank you! We look forward to your continued support in 2015 and will share with you throughout the year the many ways you can help support our efforts to teach children about eating that's healthy for the body and the planet.

In this e-letter edition we want to let you know about the first way you can easily support us in 2015.  Giving has never been so delicious as it is during our upcoming dining event, Give Delicious, running in several Chicagoland restaurants next week on Thursday, March 5. We also share with you a bit about how students receiving our programming are advancing and the experiences they're having along with a couple of their favorite healthy recipes.

As always, if you would like to get involved with our efforts or know those that want to support us please feel free to reach out.


Melissa Graham
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus



Foodies and families alike can enjoy good food and Give Delicious! for a good cause on Thursday, March 5 (and as a bonus on March 6 at Vera), by dining at one of eight restaurants supporting Purple Asparagus.

The following restaurants will generously donate a portion of proceeds on March 5 to support Purple Asparagus' Delicious Nutritious Adventures program:

As a special bonus, Vera will donate a portion of dinner proceeds on Friday, March 6.
  • Vera (1023 West Lake Street)
Don't delay! Make your reservation at one of these outstanding restaurants now.


Purple Asparagus' Delicious Nutritious Adventures is a nine-month program that runs in schools throughout Chicagoland.  Each month we visit the same children and it's about this time in the school year (this is our fifth month of programming) when our multiple-visit model really begins to pay off. 

Without even realizing it our little food explorers are now regularly using taste and texture vocabulary words to describe their food experiences. They are eager to roll up their sleeves and explore and taste foods they would have previously though "yucky" or "gross" - both words we haven't heard in a classroom in several months!  Recipes that go home with the students are being cooked with their families and students return to the classroom eager to share with our volunteers their experiences.  Oh it's so wonderful to see them grow!  In just four more months our little spears will be the most advanced food explorers in their schools and on their way to seeing healthy food differently for life!

Now that's bitter!

January - Citrus
In January we explored citrus fruits including blood oranges, pomelos (the largest citrus in the world!), Meyer lemons, and kumquats (they love the funny name and are shocked that they get to eat the whole thing, peel and all!).  One of their favorite healthy drinks this year was the "Rosy Sunrise" that one student noted "tastes like summer".  We're happy to share the super simple and healthy recipe with you to enjoy whenever you need to forget the cold and dream of a warmer season.

February - Chocolate
With February came one of the more challenging lesson plans of the year, chocolate.  Yes, we even teach them all about chocolate!  They learn where it comes from, how it's made, why it's healthy for your body, and how to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy chocolate that has too much sugar in it.  Although they've had bitter foods prior to this curriculum, tasting the raw cocoa bean really goes a long to reinforcing exactly what bitter tastes like on the palate.  One of the favorite recipes this month has been the trail mix which is a healthy snack for all ages.  Check out the recipe below.



Rosy Sunrise 
Serves 1 (increase accordingly)
  • 1 cup orange or tangerine juice
  • cup frozen strawberries 
Blend together the orange juice and frozen strawberries.

Trail Mix
Makes 1 3/4 Cup 
  • 1 cup Arrowhead Mills spelt flake cereal or another whole grain flake cereal 
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted for 5-7 minutes in a 350 F oven (or store bought seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks or cocoa nibs 
Crush the cereal with your hands. 
Mix it with the seeds, cranberries, and chocolate chunks or cocoa nibs. 
Serve plain, with milk, or on top of yogurt



Thank you for your continued support! Sincerely, Purple Asparagus
The Green Exchange Building | 2545 W. Diversey Ave. | Suite 203 | Chicago, IL 60647 | | 773.991.1920

Thank you to Erin Sarris of
Spun Copy for her newsletter writing assistance.