There’s Lots to Love about Teff Love by Kittee Berns! [Cookbook Review + Giveaway]


We had the good fortune of connecting with the talented Kittee Berns at the last Vida Vegan Con in 2013. Upon meeting her in person, one can see why she’s a very well admired and creative soul. She simply oozes of coolness and you want to get to know her even more! And although we initially knew Kittee for her award-winning vegan and gluten-free blog, Cake Maker to the Stars, it wasn’t long after that we learned of her absolute ardor for Ethiopian cuisine. She eats, sleeps and breathes the much beloved East African fare, so much so she wrote an amazing cookbook on the subject. 

Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking, which is receiving rave reviews, is one of those wonderful niche vegan cooking books that everyone should own. Kittee’s cookbook makes Ethiopian cooking, easy, fun and accessible. This remarkably thorough guide breaks down all things vegan Ethiopian and offers recipes that dance with layered complexity. There’s a section for shopping for right ingredients, a section that explains the proper way to serve Ethiopian food and even a section that gives a brief history of Ethiopia! I found the Techniques, Time-Savers and Tips portion of Teff Love to be extremely helpful and well, time-saving.

Teff Love is bursting with flavorful recipes that are extremely easy to make. The book’s cleverly laid out pages are contian eye-popping photos that dare you to run right out and pick up all the things you’ll need to make a satisfying meal for friends, family or both. I’m getting hungry just thinking about her recipes and may have to stop off at the store on my way home!


Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Kittee’s brilliant book and just cook away. Invite people over, especially ones who’ve never tried Ethiopian food, and let them relish with their own taste buds, the fresh simplicity that is vegan Ethiopian cooking. When you purchase her book, make sure to send us pictures of what you made. We’d really like to see them! 

To learn more about Kittee Berns, make sure to visit

NOW, IT’S TIME FOR THE GOOD STUFF! Want to win a copy of Teff Love and add some flavor to your kitchen?

Enter below for a chance to win! Winner to be announced during #VeganFoodChat on Wed. 4/15/15

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Nutrition CHAMPS by Jill Nussinow [Book Review + Giveaway + Recipe]

CHAMPS cover

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? There’s always a reason to celebrate, even for us vegans. A new book release comes at the right time!

Jill Nussinow, MS, RD is known as “The Veggie Queen.” She’s a registered dietician, motivational speaker, author and educator who has introduced many to the benefits of whole foods, plant-based eating. Those who have been following her for some time know that she’s a proponent of pressure cooking. With a number of books published, Jill has truly been a force in proving that you can live a vibrant live on a plant-based, vegan diet. A testament to her work is her latest book, Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health Happiness, Energy and Vitality (Get the paperback at Amazon or the e-book at!

Nutrition CHAMPS is a collection of 200 recipes from chefs, cooks and authors, including Robin Robertson, Jason Wyrick, JL Fields, Victoria Moran and Jill herself. Many are very easy and take no time at all to prep and make.


The book definitely sends the message that eating healthy is accessible and doesn’t have to be complicated. For instance, we made Jill’s Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder, which took less 40 minutes to make, which includes prep time. It was so delicious. The lemon and mint were so refreshing with a nice kick from the cayenne pepper. The chowder was rich and filling from just everyday ingredients. We were impressed. It’s officially been added to our soup repertoire. 

The great thing about Nutrition CHAMPS is that the recipes are broken into 6 chapters, each for a letter in the word “CHAMPS” as follow:

C = Cruciferous vegetables
H = Herbs and spice
A = Alliums
M = Mushrooms
P = Pulses 
S = Seeds and Nuts

Each chapter gives you an idea of the ingredient highlights. The chowder we made can be found in Chapter 5: Pulses, which features peas, beans and lentils as the star ingredients. Jill teaches us about each category (chapter) of food, what foods we should consider and their benefits. It’s all about getting to know what you’re eating. We certainly can appreciate that!

What a great book to have! In addition to some of the popular chefs and cookbook authors you may know, there are a few bloggers (and friends) in there as well. So, what we’re getting is “real people” cooking and sharing! Nutrition CHAMPS is all about real cooking for all!

With that, we’re honored to be able to giveaway a couple of copies of the Nutrition CHAMPS e-book to 2 lucky readers of our blog. All you have to do is enter below. We’ll announce the winners on April 1, 2015! Good luck to everyone!

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Oh and here’s an added bonus! Remember that Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder we mentioned? Here’s the recipes that Jill has been kind enough to let us to share with all of you!


Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder
From Jill: "I love lentils and the red ones break down so nicely but unfortunately turn yellow when cooked. This is comfort food at its best. The lemon and mint also makes it incredibly refreshing and fresh tasting, something not always easy to do mid-winter."
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
  2. 1 medium onion, sliced
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  5. 2 cups red lentils
  6. 6 cups vegetable broth
  7. 3 cups unpeeled diced potatoes (red look nice but any will work)
  8. 1 cup chopped greens like kale, mustard, chard, collards or sorrel
  9. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  10. 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  11. 1⁄4 cup chopped mint
  12. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oil, if using, over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add onion and sauté for 3–4 minutes until it begins to soften. Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more. Add the lentils, broth and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Purée the mixture with a hand blender. Add the greens and cook 5 more minutes until they are wilted.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and the mint. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  1. ©2105 Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, from Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen's Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health Happiness, Energy and Vitality
Adapted from Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen's Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health Happiness, Energy and Vitality
The Food Duo
We hope you enjoy! In the comments, let us know what kind of easy, healthy dishes you like to make!

You Say Tomato, We Say Tomatomania by Scott Daigre & Jenn Garbee! [Book Review]



Did you know that changing the location of your tomato garden from year to year can help your crop thrive?  Were you aware that there is a variety of heirloom tomatoes called Michael Pollan?  And did you know that it’s better to pick tomatoes before they’re ripe? If you picked up Scott Daigre’s wonderful book Tomatomania, you would know these and many other invaluable facts about the world’s most popular fruit.

Scott, along with co-author Jenn Garbee, cobbled this fun and informative book that celebrates the humble gift from the Andes. Chock-full of vibrant pictures, Tomatomania covers all things tomato. There are pointers on how to grow your very own pesticide-free tomato plant, simple tips for picking that perfect Solanum lycopersicum, a handy guide for the various classes of tomato varieties (many of which you’ve never heard of) and Scott’s 12 all-time favorites.The book also boasts simple and inexpensive recipes for sauces, sides, drinks, desserts and even marmalade! When springtime rolls around you can be sure that we’re going to make that marmalade. 


Although the recipes contained in this book are not all vegan, each one is very easy to veganize. We ended up making a fabulous side dish called A Mid-Summer Night’s Cherry Roast, which was sweet, savory and very tasty. This side would complement any rice or grilled/bbq dish quite nicely. As it turns out, I chose to make Scott’s favorite recipe in the book…we must have some type of tomato telepathy. 

There’s so much to love about this book. Scott’s absolute obsession with tomatoes permeates this fun and informative title. I highly recommend this book for yourself or as a gift for anyone who digs tomatoes, which is just about everyone. There’s a reason why 60 million tons of tomatoes are produced every year. They rock. By the way, while I was writing this piece (at a Starbucks in NJ), a woman asked me about the book and vowed to buy it. I commend her choice. 

To learn more about Scott and tomatoes, make  sure to check out his remarkable site, Tomatomania which will simply blow your mind!