Q&A with Jenné: Health Skin + Hair


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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Harissa Roasted Almonds + Giveaway

Mina Harissa Roasted Almonds

I’m addicted. I mean I cannot stop eating these harissa almonds. What am I going to do?!? Hey, at least they’re a healthy snack…

Last weekend I hosted dinner at my apartment. It was the inaugural event of what I’m calling my “Little Harlem Kitchen”. The plan is to host bi-weekly or monthly dinners. Good conversation, good food, and good vegan vibes. The theme of the first dinner was Southern Soul.

Almost all black Americans (aside from more recent immigrants) have roots in the South, and though my immediate family isn’t from that region, I grew up there, and my Nana’s “soul” food is what I grew up eating and adoring. Southern food is the epitome of comfort. It’s the manifestation of love on your plate. It’s flavorful, nourishing, and delicious! It’s also the furthest thing from vegan, in most people’s minds. However, using cruelty-free ingredients to recreate and re-imagine Southern dishes is not only healthier, to me it’s a more complete expression of love <3

Vegan Potato Salad

My vegan potato salad from Saturday’s dinner. AMAZING if I may say so myself!

That night I served: Sweet Potato Bisque with cornbread croutons, and crispy baby kale, Potato Salad + raw greens with dill vinaigrette and spicy pecans (which inspired today’s recipe!), Crispy Cauliflower and Waffles with stewed collards (just like my Nana makes them, though with a secret spice to replace the meat), and an apple crisp with ginger cherry sauce. It was a proud night for me! I expect that future dinners at my place (#littleharlemkitchen) will be Southern inspired too.

Okay! Back to these addictive almonds and their harissa goodness! I really love harissa, and have even used it in a recipe for the blog before. I most often use this spicy pepper sauce on legumes, and on grains. Sometimes even in hummus (recipe coming soon). However, after making the spicy pecans for my dinner last weekend with sriracha, I knew that my harissa would go very very well with the surplus of almonds I had in my kitchen cupboard.

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My Daily Green Juice

My Green Juice

Hey!! Whoa, it’s been way too long since I last posted. I’m sorry. Girlfriend has been working her ass off! Well, not literally. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say, working my ass back on. You know, because I’m a chef, and we eat a lot of food. Also, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to go to yoga in over a week. Tonight will be my first class back. Praise the lord!

Praise the lord for green juice too! Amen!

After a long week of eating lots of sweets, and far too much food, green juices are exactly what I need to get my health and energy back on track. I’m not a fan of juice cleanses, mainly because I like food too much to deprive myself. However, having a green juice, or two, each day, along with eating lots of green veggies, and avoiding refined sugar (including wheat products, unfortunately), is all the cleanse I need to feel my very best!

In this week’s video I show you how I make my daily green juice. As you’ll see, the only fruit I include is lemon or lime. I avoid all other fruits in my juices, because they are too sugary. Without the fiber (which is extracted from juice), even sugars from fruits can spike your blood sugar levels. So, you’ll often find me eating an apple or pear while I’m juicing :)

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No-Bake Fig Walnut Bars with Chocolate

Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Fig, walnuts, and Maldon sea salt. I’ve been eating this combination as a snack for weeks!

I have no idea where the sea salt came in. I guess I was aware of the fact that salty and sweet make a heavenly combination. To take it to the next level of heaven, add chocolate. To really turn this into a crave-it-everyday snack, turn them into bars, drizzle chocolate on top, and finish with fat flakes of salt.

These no-bake bars do require you use a food processor. Don’t have one yet? Go and pick one up! Even the little Cuisinart chopper will do. I think my food processor is my most loved kitchen appliance. It makes my life so much easier, and allows me to make things like these bars, truffles, burgers, and sauces in minutes! Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Vegan No-Bake Fig Walnut Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt (any large flakes will do)
  1. Line a small baking dish (mine is 6-cup) with parchment paper.
  2. Place walnuts, figs, and dates in the food processor and blend until combined. Be careful not to over blend the mixture. You want to maintain some texture, and crunch.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the baking dish.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in a glass or metal bowl over boiling water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave.
  5. While the chocolate is melting, remove the bars from the baking dish, and cut into 12 squares.
  6. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the squares.
  7. Sprinkle sea salt over the bars.
  8. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
  9. Break off, and enjoy!

Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Fig Tahini Cookies

Vegan Fig Cookies

I’ve been having stressful days lately where I desperately crave the comfort of a cookie.

I’ll usually make those addictive tahini cookies from my cookbook, 5 Ingredient Vegan. But my September #IngredientOfTheMonth is figs, so they’ve inspired a reworking of my favorite tahini cookies. They are incredibly easy to make, and require less than 10 minutes in the oven.

Vegan  Tahini Fig Cookies

Though I’m not supposed to be drinking coffee (I have a hard time breaking my dependency these days), these are super nice with an espresso or soy cappuccino. I think a cup of tea would be delightful too.

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