Pay It Forward Friday: PAWS NY

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This week’s Pay It Forward organization is PAWS NY, a group that helps senior citizens and the ill and disabled care for their pets. Living with animals can bring so much happiness, and PAWS NY enables people all over New York City to experience that amazing feeling! When you join my 21-Day Vegan Blueprint today, I will donate 20% of proceeds to PAWS NY!

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As I’ve written about many times on this blog, living with pets has been so important to me throughout my life. I cannot imagine living without the many animals companions I’ve had. What PAWS NY does to allow people to keep pets is so valuable! Here’s how they describe their mission on their website:

“The mission of PAWS NY is to preserve, support, and nurture the human-animal bond for New York City’s most vulnerable residents. Our programs help keep pets in their homes while protecting and promoting the human-animal bond that is so physically and psychologically valuable to our clients.  Thus, our motto: helping people by helping pets.”

Amen!

Join the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint today to improve your health and to improve the lives of people and pets all over NYC!

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Autumn Zuppa di Fagioli (Bean Soup)

Vegan Vegetable Bean Soup Vegan Zuppa Fagioli

I’m writing from magical New Orleans this morning. I once visited the Crescent City as a child, though my only memories are of walking down Bourbon Street with my mom and Nana seeing scantily clad women standing in doorways. That was long before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and resiliency rebuilt it.

Despite not having visited New Orleans or the state of Louisiana in nearly 20 years, I have felt a constant tug to this place. I used to fantasize about raising a family on the bayou in a big creaky chic house, just like the one in the movie Eve’s Bayou. And though I hadn’t thought about it much lately, that home on the bayou still calls me.

As the airplane descended to Louis Armstrong International Airport I started feeling that little tug again. I feel like I’ve left something here, and like I know this place. Perhaps it’s an ancestor’s call or some dream from a previous life. Whatever it is, I intend to spend more time here in coming years. Since the plane touched down on Tuesday, I’ve felt compelled to figure it out.

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Vegan “Crab” Cakes + My Little Harlem Kitchen Vegan Brunch

Hearts of Palm Vegan Crab Cakes

Finally I’ve snagged a free moment to sit down and write. Hello there!

If you are subscribed to my newsletter, then you’ve already heard all about my new gourmet supper club Little Harlem Kitchen (LHK). Since the inagural dinner a month ago I have hosted 2 dinners and a brunch at my little Harlem apartment. As a personal chef I usually cook meals for my clients that they can enjoy throughout the week. I cook up at least 5 different meals and stick them in the fridge. It’s fun, but I’ve missed the pleasure that comes from serving someone directly. That’s why I decided to start a supper club. I invite people to my house, where I prepare a gourmet 4 course meal, and serve them directly. I get to watch them enjoy the food, and get immediate feedback. It’s incredibly fun and rewarding.

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The first event at LHK was a Southern-inspired feast. I served my guests a sweet potato bisque, fancy potato salad, crispy cauliflower and waffles, and dessert was an apple tart with a ginger cherry sauce. Thumbs up, if I may say so myself :)

The most recent dinner, last Saturday night, was Italian-inspired. I think it was my favorite. On the menu was a zuppa di fagioli (bean soup with lots of herbs, and seasonal veggies), arugula pepita pesto with farro and radicchio salad, butternut squash lasagna, and––get this–– sweet potato tiramisu! Amazing! Only I didn’t take any photos. I’ll recreate the dishes to share recipes asap.

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Best Breakfast: Quinoa Porridge {VIDEO}

Vegan Quinoa PorridgeLet’s talk about breakfast!

It’s definitely my favorite meal of the day. Yet, as a vegan people always wonder what I eat, as though when you remove animal products there is nothing left to eat. Honestly, I still eat the same foods I ate growing up. I eat pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, sausages, muffins, and scrambles; only I don’t use animal products. Vegan pancakes are delicious, as are waffles. Replace the dairy milk with non-dairy milk, the egg with flax, and the butter with Earth Balance, and you’re good to go! Vegan breakfast sausages are delicious, especially the Field Roast and Gardein. No meat necessary! Muffins definitely don’t require animal products to be delicious, and neither do scrambles––just use tofu in place of the eggs!!

Vegan Quinoa Porridge

My favorite vegan breakfast these days is warm and creamy quinoa porridge. Like so many of us, I grew up eating and adoring oatmeal and Cream of Wheat porridge. Quinoa porridge has all of the comforting goodness of oats, but it’s more filling, and even more nutritious. Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber. Together they keep you full for hours, and help keep your blood sugar levels stable. This gluten-free pseudo-grain also contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (plant nutrients), antioxidants, minerals, and even small amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. One of my favorite things about quinoa porridge is how easy it is to prepare. Even better,  you can make a big batch and warm it up with non-dairy milk throughout the week. Can’t get any easier than that!

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Q&A with Jenné: Health Skin + Hair

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When a blog reader asked me for advice on attaining beautiful skin and hair, I was immensely flattered. I grew up with acne, and suffered from it into my early 20s. It wasn’t until I changed my diet, that my skin started to clear up, and the breakouts were defeated. I still get the occasional pimple, but nothing at all like the ridiculous acne I had for so many years of my life.

Then there are my issues with my own hair. I went natural for the first time when I was 17. On the last day of school junior year, I showed up with my hair in a blown out afro! I wish I had the picture to show you. Next time I’m in Atlanta I’ll grab it, and post it to my Instagram.

For a couple of years I wore my hair in it’s natural state, and I really loved it. I wasn’t nearly as lazy as I am today, so maintaining my hair was a fun experience back then. It was thick and healthy, and growing quickly. Then, after 2 years au natural, I decided to start heat straightening it. Within 6 months I had destroyed my thick locs. I wore braids for a while, thinking that would cover up the issue, but eventually I realized that I had to cut off my hair and start a new. I chopped it short, and got a relaxer––my attempt to look like Halle Berry. After that, taking care of my hair became a source of anxiety (of which I have many), low self-esteem, stress, and frustration. To this day I don’t enjoy doing my hair. Even now that I’m wearing my hair natural again.

So, when that reader asked me for advice on skin and hair, you see why I was shocked and honored. After all of these years of struggle I’ve finally found what works. My hair is healthy, and so is my skin.

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