Category Archives: Reviews

Help! My child wants to be vegetarian

If you’re child has shown interest in being vegetarian or vegan don’t worry. Take a breath! It’s okay. You’re in safe hands with the Veggie Fairy.

In this modern age of google and instant cookbooks on Amazon: there isn’t a shortage of information. The trouble is sorting the essential from the nonessential.

Why Be Vegetarian Or Vegan

1. Google the phrase “why be vegan.” Of course you’ll get some haters out there telling you why it’s unsafe and you, your children, and everyone you know will die: but these claims are based on emotion rather than fact. A. It’s good for your body. B. It’s good for the environment. C. It’s obviously good for the animals.

Add more vegetables

2. Focus on what to add, not what to take away. Many people focus on the “not animal” rather than the “yes vegetables.” Almost everyone I’ve met gains weight when they become vegetarian: I believe it’s not only because they still eat potato chips like it’s a food group, but they end up eating bread and cheese as their main staples. They don’t have a predominant fruit and vegetable diet because they’re filling their craving for fat with white flour and dairy products. A craving for fat is good: go with it! Just choose plant sources such as unrefined coconut oil, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. But again: the bulk of your food should be unpackaged vegetables.

 

Read the Veggie Fairy

3. Read my blog. Okay- so I’m not a complete narcisist, but I am someone who’s been at it for over 13 years. I’ve read a sickening amount of diet books and cookbooks. I read cookbooks from cover to cover as well as all the major diet books. I read about the human body to no end: I’ve taken way more human biology classes than a non-doctor would ever require. But I’ve tried everything and have wittled down the good stuff for you. I’ll share my favorite recipes and cookbooks.

Try out vegan and vegetarian restaurants

4. Go to vegan restaurants. Though it may not be in your budget to eat out every night: if on special occasion you eat out at a veggie restaurant, find what your favorite foods are and recreate it at home. Google the recipe and you tube cooking instructions. The internet is our free university: though obviously not everything is accurate, trying new recipes is not the most risky behavior.

Drink Whole Green Juice

5. Switch your breakfast to a whole green juice to pack in as much goodness as possible as early in the day as possible. Found out how HERE

If all this free stuff doesn’t work for you, or you don’t have the time, I’m always happy to stop by and teach cooking lessons to you, your kids, or both. My illustrious educational career includes teaching preschool to becoming a credentialed high school arts teacher (and 6 subjects of adult school, if you must know.) I’m happy to teach any age, and make it fun, exciting, and easy. Just EMAIL ME to arrange an appointment!

Uncomplicated Raw Deliciousness

Dining in the Raw by Rita Romano

I first bought this un-cookbook when I was pregnant with Cossette. I was raw vegan for most of my pregnancy, and now she’s a giant genius. Maybe I could have eaten candy exclusively for my pregnancy and she would have been fine, but who’s to say? I ate meat twice because I tried to be a really intuitive eater, and I followed my cravings. But generally, my cravings and ideas about health coincided.

Anyway, when I bought a book that said “Raw” on the title and then found cooked recipes, I felt frustrated because I felt tricked. This feeling of feeling tricked caused this book to go directly on the shelf to gather dust. I just found it again recently, almost ten years later, and realize what a treasure it is.

Back in the day, I was just doing raw by myself with no books. I ate veggies and fruits as well as raw nuts and seeds. I loved doing it, but couldn’t keep it up much longer after I had a baby to take care of, as well as work and school. I found myself shopping every two or three days just to have fresh raw food in the house.

I read a book called “Vegan on the Cheap” which not only has awesome yummy recipes, but practical tips on how to plan. Since reading it, I have planned a weekly menu which got me into the practice of buying groceries once a week and sometimes only once every two weeks.

With planning on my side, I am now ready to take on “Dining in the Raw” with it’s over 700 recipes.

What a fool I was to not read it sooner! But then again, the recipes didn’t sound good to me at the time, and I was overwhelmed by the shear volume of the book.

I’ve made the Fennel Slaw which looks and tastes like a party with bright red cabbage and fennel. The poppy seeds are what push you over the edge to euphoria.

The butternut squash soup was amazing. I ate a whole batch myself. I felt like I couldn’t get enough.

I look forward to making Mint Jelly, Bechamel Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Lemon Pudding, and Excellent Key Lime Pie to name a few. All vegan and almost always raw.

There’s a guide on how to make your own sprouts and why they are a healthy choice. She talks about how sauerkraut is important to eat daily, and because raw versions are expensive, she gives an easy recipe for making a large batch.

Before every chapter, she explains in detail what ingredients are and how to use them. This book is full of glossaries, measuring charts, sprouting instructions, galore.

The only downside is possibly being intimidated by the encyclopedic size and you’ll put it on your shelf for ten years. Seriously: don’t do it. Read it. You’ll thank me.

My husband and daughter DESPISE celery: both the taste and texture.

I happen to love both, and today while they were at work and school I made Celery Soup (a raw cold soup) and it was delightful

Celery Soup
1 head celery
1/2 cup of tahini
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
4 scallions
dash cayenne
Braggs amino to taste (an unfermented, wheat free soy sauce, Whole Foods)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Blend all ingredients, adding enough water to make a creamy soup. Garnish with parsley.

Because I made it only for me, I used a few celery sticks, about 1/3 cup of tahini, 1 clove of garlic still (I love garlic,)juice of one half lemon, and one scallion with the water and tamari. I genuinely forgot the cayenne and parsley, but it was still awesome!

Stuff I Eat: Restaurant Review

Be swept away to another time period on Market Street in Inglewood, California. And while your at it, get thrown into the future of delicious and healthy culinary bliss at Stuff I Eat.

The very first time I ate at Stuff I Eat, a lovely young gentleman tried to impress his vegan date by taking me to this out of the way restaurant. Right when we walked in, we realized that they were already closed. The two people working there insisted that we stay, and made us both custom meals that were delicious! This kind of customer service really is above and beyond, and they won me over by both their kindness and their food.

Since that first day, every time I’ve been there they’ve impressed me a little more. They serve very fresh organic greens along side a wide variety of grains with a main dish of good ol’ fashioned American comfort food: all while being top of the line vegan. They give generous portions at more than reasonable prices in a large space filled with ultra-hip ambiance.

I feel completely comfortable bringing any friend, vegan or not, and feel confident that they’ll be impressed by both the ambiance as well as any item they choose on the menu.

And don’t forget dessert. I had the most beautiful raw “cheesecake” like slice of something called Funky Chunky. It was rich, creamy, and decadent in a way that you’ll definitely feel like you’re being naughty when your actually being pretty nice to your body.

Chicago Diner Cookbook: A Review and Loveletter

Ever tried a recipe and it tastes so good that you can’t believe you made it yourself?

Dear Jo,

I received your cookbook with no pictures on loan from a girlfriend from Chicago. The only vegan cookbook I had used up until that point was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I had no culinary training whatsoever….well….one day free cooking class at Mother’s in Newport Beach ten years earlier, but that hardly counts.

As a completely inexperienced chef, every single recipe I made turned out so well, I felt like someone had broken into my kitchen and planted new food in my oven: impossibly good food. I was outraged at how amazingly easy it was. Why didn’t I start sooner?

I made heart shaped pot pies. I made polenta which I’d never seen even in a picture, which somehow turned out magically good as well. Your diner gravy is so good, I could drink it, but self restraint dictates it must go on mashed potatoes or my little pot pies.

Your vegan quiche is so convincing, I tricked many of my non-vegan neighbors into trying it. One neighbor didn’t even realize I was vegan until she bumped into me at Whole Foods. I mentioned to an aproned, fundraising, mousy-brown haired girl selling “Save the Earth” cookies that if she really wants to save the earth, she should be vegan. My neighbor overheard my lecture to the non-vegan cookie salesperson and said, “But you’re not vegan! You made me that quiche the other day!” Sorry Tauna; I tricked you good.

Ratatouille Provençal, a real crowd pleaser, knocks out guests with delight with a little over 15 minutes prep time. Strogonaff made from tempeh fills me with ecstasy, I ate Ex-Benedict every day for almost two weeks, and I made both Leslie’s Mushroom Spread and the Artichoke Dip for vegetable dip for my recent wedding.

Not only did your cookbook open my eyes to the possibilities of expanding my world from baking to cooking, but I have since bought twelve more vegan cookbooks, all of which I use everyday. Well, I don’t use ALL of them everyday, but I use at least one or two a day.

My only beef is that the recipes are too huge! I’d been a single mom for eight years, and recipes yielded enough for me to open my own Chicago Diner in my tiny studio apartment in Los Angeles. Now I’m married and I feed three people, including myself, but it’s still a little bit of an awkward amount of food.

Thanks for inspiring me to love cooking and facilitating the feeling of being an artist at least three times a day.

Love,

O.

The Art of Raw Living Food by Doreen Virtue and Jenny Ross

It would take the genius Jenny Ross, the owner and executive chef of the living-foods restaurant 118 Degrees and her psychic friend and author Doreen Virtue to come up with such a complete and easy to use un-cookbook.

Filled with full color photos and all the info you need to get started, if you only had one raw book, this would be the one to get. I happen to have a shelf full, but this is one of my favorites.

Her raw ice cream recipe doesn’t need an ice cream maker. It is so good, any word to attempt to describe the euphoria defiles the holiness that is her raw “Vanilla Gelato.”

Here is an excerpt:

This naturally alkaline-forming cheese is flavorful and saves for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

1 1/2 cups water
4 Tbsp. cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Himalayan salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups almonds (soaked 8 hours)

Rinse and drain almonds. In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients and blend well. Makes 2 cups.

Tell me what you think when you try it.

If you don’t have a high powered blender, I’d add the pulp from your almond milk at the end instead of whole almonds. It won’t be as smooth, but it will be yummy still:)

O.

Golden Mean Vegan Cafe

 

This vegan cafe in Santa Monica was a great find. When we walked in the desserts were on display which looked great.

The ‘works’ burger is a fine choice. It’s a bean burger with all sorts of extras from tempah bacon to avacodo. Nothing that inspired but very tasty.

Decorated with pagan and spiritual symbols. The little cushioned seats are cute and fun to sit in.

I definitely want to head back and try the carrot cake sometime.

It’s mix of burgers and recognizable menu items for non vegans make it an easy choice to bring your meat-eatting buddies.

The Sexy Vegan: A Review

Sick of not being able to pig out on fastfood without killing animals and the environment? The Sexy Vegan has the answer for you: http://www.thesexyvegan.moonfruit.com/

Fried in peanut oil, I made this very fishy sandwich very fantastic without hurting any fishies.