Category Archives: Vegan

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Vegan - Vegetarian

Why my family drinks celery juice everyday

November 29, 2018

I know what you’re thinking — celery?!

Truth be told, it’s doesn’t rank high on my list of my favorite vegetables or flavors. But the benefits of having a glass every morning may make you reconsider it (the way I have). Recently, my older brother and his wife introduced us to the world of celery juice. The research is astounding on how powerful of an anti-inflammatory it is. Essentially what is does is starves the unproductive bacteria and other bad things in your body (yeast, mold, fungus, and viruses) and flushes their toxins out of the intestinal tract and liver. Plus, it helps good bacteria thrive.

And it’s SO easy to make. Just use a juicer to juice 1-2 heads of celery and drink up! If you only have a blender like a Vitamix, you can also blend it in there and just strain it.

Some other benefits, all via the Medical Medium (which is also by the way a great IG account to follow):

* Consuming celery is the most powerful way to alkalize the gut…It also helps to raise your body’s pH and rid toxic acids from every crevice of your body, including your gut. This helps to cleanse and repair intestinal linings.

* It raises hydrochloric acid in the stomach so that food digests with ease. This helps prevent a range of gastrointestinal disorders. Adding celery juice to your diet is the best way to resolve ammonia permeability, an unrecognized condition in which ammonia gas seeps through the intestinal lining and causes health issues such as dental rot and brain fog.


* For the full effect, drink a full 16 ounces of fresh celery juice daily—and make sure it’s on an empty stomach to raise hydrochloric acid levels most efficiently. For dramatic results, drink two 16-ounce glasses of fresh celery juice a day. 

* Use organic celery whenever possible. If using conventional celery, be sure to wash it especially well before juicing.

* If you find the taste of straight celery too strong, you can juice one cucumber and/or one apple with the celery.

Anyone else convinced to try?


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Veestro: Plant-based meals delivered to your door

September 3, 2015

[Just FYI: Veestro is providing a special discount code for BATF readers at the end!]

I’m so used to cooking practically all my meals now but I was totally game to hang up my cooking utensils for a week to try Veestro, a gourmet, plant-based, organic meal service. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve cut my meat consumption a LOT, so the thing that attracted me most to Veestro was that they use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or animal products. You can buy them by meal or by meal-plan depending on your focus (high protein, gluten-free, weight-loss, etc.)

Veestro's Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro’s Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro asked if I’d try a 5-day meal plan (15 meals) to see what I thought. They sent me some info about the perks of a plant-based diet. Besides promoting long term sustainable weight loss, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fiber, and reduce excess cholesterol intake. Not to mention, they’re rich in antioxidants, plant sterols, phytochemicals, and potassium, which are all thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course, there’s a lot that rides on the quality of the plant-based and non-meat products you’re eating — if you’re not eating meat but eating an excess of processed foods, for example, you’re still taking in a lot of calories.

But crash-nutrition lesson aside, I was mostly curious about the taste of their meals. After eating their meals for a week I found a few things consistently true: they didn’t skimp on flavors, they use fresh ingredients that you can actually read without a dictionary, and (true to their word) no preservatives. You also have a few options on how to prepare them — some you could heat on the stove top or microwave, some you had to bake but this gave some flexibility to bring it to work. Plus, there was a lot of variety in cuisine so it didn’t get boring. I was really starting to look forward to my meals every day.

Some of my favorites
Red Curry with Organic Tofu and Veggies (the curry paste made with red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, thai ginger; it also had organic carrots, califlower, broccoli, organic brown rice, coconut milk, ginger, coriander, paprika)

Red curry tofu

Red curry tofu

Veggie Empanadas (made with organic pastry flour, filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, and green peas, and a chichi sauce made with organic parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and lemon juice — so delicious):

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie Burger Patty (made with braised tempeh, organic black beans, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and corn). I added some cheese, kale, and sriracha ketchup to this and it was so filling and delicious.

Veggie patty

Veggie patty

Here’s some more pics of the meals — even their juices are not to be missed.
Meals from Veestro!

Meals from Veestro!

From top (left to right): Oatmeal breakfast, Risotto with butternut squash and kale, Soba noodles with peanut sauce, Three layer scramble with tofu, Thai Chick’N stew, Tuscan calzone, Eggplant Casserole, and Savory Croquettes with veggie hash.

My only small gripe was that not all the directions are that detailed on how to prepare the food (I ended up cooking some over heated olive oil, but some that come with sauces could have been more descriptive) — then again, this can help you get creative with the dishes, like I did in some cases. Other than that, the only real problem you’ll run into is making room in your freezer. Also, if you’re grabbing the meals to go (especially to work where you won’t have a stove available a lot of times), make sure it’s one that can be heated up in the microwave.

Want to try it yourself? Visit, and use coupon code VEESTROFEAST to get 20% off your entire order through Sept 30th!!

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Cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce

June 23, 2015

Ok so the last time I made cauliflower, it sounded a lot more promising than it actually turned out (see the maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower). The flavor was a little weak. But this is legitimately delicious. I made some tweaks to the original recipe that I’ll note below. I guess what I’m learning is whereas before I used to be so by-the-book when it comes to trying something new, now I don’t freak out if I’m missing an ingredient. I’m sure all real chefs know this already, but there’s usually a way around it…like, for example, if you don’t have bread crumbs but DO have crushed pumpkin seeds from the recipe you did the day before. Just think about making it your own :).



Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu (I used feta instead since I didn’t have tofu at home)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used crushed pumpkin seeds instead because I didn’t have breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds


Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

To roast the red pepper, I put it in a tray drizzled with olive oil in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning it over once each side browns. Remove and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu (or feta cheese in my case) and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs (or pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

It ends up as a really creamy, decadent dish that can be a meal or a side. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Inspired by Daphne Brogdon’s recipe on the Food Network.

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Vegan - Vegetarian

Healthy Holiday Entertaining with Gardein’s Meatless Meals

November 12, 2014


OK, I know what you’re thinking. For some of us using “healthy” and “meatless” in the same sentence means “tasteless” and “boring.” But with so many options lately, that’s just not the case. Going vegan or vegetarian is having its moment right now — consider celebrities like Bey or J. Lo doing a 22-day vegan challenge. But after learning about some of the health benefits, here’s hoping it goes beyond a trend to consider different meal options that do include more plant-based protein.

Gardein Beefless ground

Recently, I sampled some dressed up hors d’oeuvres from Gardein at an event that made me re-think some of the usual grocery store offerings you get in the meatless section. These were not only beautiful in presentation but they tasted delicious. There was a whole table offering gluten-free beefless tacos with roasted corn, black beans, & roasted poblano peppers, gluten-free Rosemary pecan crusted chick’n skewers with cipollini onion aioli; Turk’y cutlet with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato on mini spoons; and (surprisingly my favorite), Fishless filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge.

Fishless filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge

Turk'y cutlets with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato

Beefless tacos

The recipes were perfect finger foods, and if you’re throwing a party (likely for the holidays, yes?) these are perfect additions for your vegetarian guests. Plus, since it’s plant-based, these have less fat and zero cholesterol compared to their meat counterparts. Here are the recipes in case you want to try to re-create them at home!

Recipe 1: FISHLESS FILET with french fries and lemon wedge
(makes 10 servings)


Gardein Fishless filets
French fries, lemons, flat leaf parsley

– product takes 20 minutes to cook, so every 10 minutes you will be placing a new tray in oven to ensure consistent samples.


1-Preheat oven to 475 degreed F. Using scissors, cut open bag. Place filets on two parchment lined oven trays (parchment paper is essential to ensure fishless filet does not stick)
2- Put 1 or 2 trays on middle rack, set timer and cook for 10 minutes.
3 – After 10 minutes, flip the fishless filets, rotate tray and move to the bottom rack. Add a new tray or trays to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes until golden brown and cripsy.
4- Fill each fish cone with 2 tsp tartar sauce, drizzling from the middle of the cone to the bottom (not all sauce should be in the bottom). Note: Do not pre-sauce more than 15 min in advance, or this will ruin the paper cone.
5-Take out the 1st tray (cooked for 20 min), moved 2nd tray (1/2 cooked) to bottom rack, flip filets and add new tray to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes.
6- Cut each filet into 2 pieces
7- Put each piece into a cone holder, garnish with lemon slice and flat leaf parsley sprig.
Gardein products are available at over 22,000 retailers/grocers nationwide, for more products and recipes at

Recipe 2: ROSEMARY-PECAN CRUSTED CHCK’N SKEWERS w cipollini onion aioli
(makes 20 skewers)


Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
For marinade:
1 cup red wine (or substitute)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt
For crust:
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko
sea salt to taste

Equipment needed
: 4″ bamboo knot cocktail skewers
1- In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Cut Gardein Chick’N Scallopini into 3″ strips. Pour the marinade into a bowl, add the gardein to the marinade and let sit overnight.
2- Grind pecans in a food processor. Transfer the pecans to a bowl, add the flour, rosemary and panko.
3- Bread gardein with pecan mixture until fully coated.
4- In a large frying pan, heat up your favorite oil and pan fry gardein on both sides until golden brown.
5- To assemble: Once gardein is fried, insert skewers. Drizzle skewers with cipollini onion aioli, garnish with rosemary.

Cipollini Onion Aioli
6 cipollini onions, peels and olive oil for roasting
2 cups vegan may
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped


1- Drizzle onions lightly with oil and season with salt. Roast in 400 degree F oven fro 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly caramelized. Let the onions cool to room temp.
2- In a blender, combine mayo, lemon juice, olive oil & roasted cipollini. Blend until smooth. Add the rosemary and sea salt and blend for a few seconds.

(makes 10 servings)
Beef taco mix
1 pkg gardein beefless ground crumbles
2 tbsp taco seasoning

Roasted corn salsa

4-5 ears corn, roasted or frozen roasted corn (2 lbs)
1 red onion, fine diced
4 poblano peppers, seeded, halved, roasted and skinned
2 serano pepper, seeded, deveined and fine diced
6 limes, juiced
1 tbsp lime zest
2 tsp sea salt, fine
1 tsp cumin ground
1 tsp coriander ground
1 can black beans (15 oz) drained and rinsed


1- In a nonstick pan with oil, saute beefless ground crumbles for 4-5 minutes until browned and hot through but still moist. Add taco seasoning to taste.
2- Build tacos (in order); one cut lime, one mini taco, 2 tsp vegan chipotle mayo, 1 tbsp ground taco mixture, 1 tbsp roasted corn salsa an 1/4 tsp cilantro micro greens.

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Vegan dinner at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, LA

January 23, 2014

Yesterday’s “Only in Cali” moment:
“Hey, what cuisine are you in the mood for tonight?”
“How about vegan?”

I can confidently say I’ve never had this conversation take place in all my years in New York (although, this suggestion did come from a former New Yorker so maybe it speaks more to his changing tastes). LA definitely has the upper hand when it comes to places with organic, fresh, or vegan fare. And you know what they say – when in Cali, do like The CaliFORnians.

Mohawk Bend

Inside Mohawk Bend

And so we found ourselves at the very hipster Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, which stands right at the intersection of Sunset and Mohawk. I’m pretty sure hipster places probably don’t like to be called hipster, but the gallery of facial hair here would only further my point. Anyway.


A retrofitted 100-year old Vaudeville theater, the place kept a piece of their history and still looks theaterical with its warehouse skeleton, red curtains that opens up to a back area with a fireplace, stage lighting and even the illuminted marquee outside. The mix of booths, bar seating, tall tables and cushioney benches makes it nice for groups or more intimate get together. Or in this case, third-wheelin’ (my favorite).


The menu looked promising which they change seasonally: Chili cheese fries, vegan burgers, buffalo-style cauliflower, brussels sprouts with roasted baby beet and spiced apple, candied walnut with crispy onions, and a whole list of brick oven vegan pizzas.

Brussels sprouts


The buffalo-style cauliflower was tangy and paired perfectly with the ranch dressing it was served on. The brussels sprouts (if you like brussels sprouts and I happen to Love them) were amazing though I did notice there were no candied walnuts in the dish they served us.

Keep Abreast & Curry On pizza

For the third dish we got the Keep Abreast & Curry On pizza, with curried cauliflower, cashew cheese, onion, fennel, spinach, pomegranate, yellow curry, basil, and cilantro. Just so happened that this pizza was created for The Keep a Breast Foundation in LA – for each pizza ordered, they donate $4 to the organization. The curried cauliflower and basil made the pizza. So good.

The only place we went sort of wrong was the BBQ Tofu pizza, decidedly not our favorite. We took a chance to try something different over more familiar combos. This one had red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, smoked tofu, roasted tomatoes, and watercress. We failed to notice there was no cheese at all, which might have helped if we asked for some.

BBQ tofu pizza

But oh man, it was SPICY. Like mouth-burning spicy. And not sure if the sauce was really barbecue sauce, it tasted a little more like ketchup. Kind of ruined it for me, but forgivable since the rest of the meal was amazing and the ambiance sealed it for us.

PS Don’t miss the photo booth that’s set up in front! If this documentation of third-wheeling session with Yasir and Sarah below doesn’t scream #ForeverAlone, I don’t know what does.


Restaurant Info:
Mohawk Bend

2141 Sunset Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-2337
Echo Park

Meal: Dinner

Occasion: Trying something new!
Price: $
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!

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