The Pressing Issue of Food Waste Becomes the Talk of the Nation, Prompting Readers to Take Immediate Action

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“I just read a great article in The New York Times about food waste in current American culture. In it, Kim Severson talks about guilt-ridden composting, glorifying misshapen produce, millenials and foodie movements aimed at reducing waste. Kim was writing to ME. I promptly bought the two cookbooks cited in the article: ROOT TO LEAF by Steven Satterfield and THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.”
–Akemi Martin, The Pampered Pauper Eats (March 5, 2015)

It was heartening to see other articles, online discussions, and Tweets about this week’s New York Times Food section’s most-emailed article “Starve a Landfill,” demonstrating what a deep chord it struck among readers to learn of the United States’ embarrassing 31 percent rate of food waste.

The Christian Science Monitor ran an op-ed by Jonathan Bloom entitled “The New York Times talks trash – and that’s a great thing,explaining,The New York Times’ Food section features three compelling, informative pieces on food waste this week, suggesting that this once-ignored issue is finally getting the respect it deserves.”

Bloom wrote:

“Anyway, we mostly have Kim Severson to thank for this exploration of the wasted food, which centers on her article, ‘Starve a Landfill.’  It’s an ideal title because it connotes that vital EPA hierarchy for keeping food out of landfills.

Because waste prevention should take precedence, I wish the piece hadn’t begun with composting, which sits at the bottom of the hierarchy. Still, I was thrilled that Severson mainly focused on avoiding wasted food. And I loved the discussion toward the end about how cooking solely from recipes drives waste, as you accumulate many items you only use once. The prescribed remedy: intuitive cooking, as found in THE FLAVOR BIBLE.”

FoodTank.com re-ran Jonathan Bloom’s article in its entirety.

Yesterday, in turn, THE FLAVOR BIBLE — a six-and-a-half-year-old book — hit #199 overall on Amazon.com, becoming the #15 bestselling cookbook.

This is a testament not only to the power of a talented writer (i.e., Kim Severson) and of a must-read newspaper (i.e., The New York Times) to spur a national discussion but to that of readers eager to take immediate action to address a pressing problem.

We find that very heartening.

Food Tank is focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters, spotlighting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and creating networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change:  foodtank.com.

USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist addresses the U.S. Food Waste Challenge at usda.gov.

WastedFood.com is the website of Jonathan Bloom, who writes about why we waste food, why it matters, and what we can do about it:  wastedfood.com.

THE FLAVOR BIBLE Receives Its First-Ever Mention in The New York Times

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“[Brandi Henderson, an architect who became a pastry chef and blogger and teaches at the Pantry in Seattle] recommends THE FLAVOR BIBLE, a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg that features no recipes but encourages intuitive cooking using lists of ingredients and complementary flavors and techniques. ‘If we leave the recipe behind and get back to technique cooking,’ she said, ‘kitchen waste will go away.’” 
—Kim Severson, The New York Times
(March 4, 2015)

It was already turning out to be a red-letter morning.

While out to pick up a bagel and The New York Times today, Andrew ran into NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.  Andrew stopped to say hello and to let him know he was heading home to watch the Commissioner’s wife Rikki Klieman on “CBS This Morning,” as we knew she was appearing at 8:20 am to provide her always-insightful legal commentary, today on the Maryland “free-range parenting” case.

Then, while waiting for Rikki’s segment to take place, we caught the CBS promos for another segment featuring uber-restaurateur Danny Meyer (of USHG, Shake Shack, et al) and his pizza emporium-to-be Marta (which we featured on our blog during its opening week).

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Left to right: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, “CBS This Morning” legal analyst Rikki Klieman, and uber-restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer

By the time we’d finished Tweeting the Commissioner and his wife and Meyer, we finally got around to perusing The New York Times — where we discovered that THE FLAVOR BIBLE had received its first-ever mention in the paper!

(It only took 6 years, 5 months, and 16 days — plus ~300,000 copies + a James Beard Award — for THE FLAVOR BIBLE to merit a mention in the Times…which is so much better than never!)

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Left: Today’s New York Times Food section cover story; Right: Kim Severson

The two of us are even more thrilled that it’s part of Kim Severson‘s excellent Food section cover story on how to salvage more of the 31% of food currently wasted in the U.S., which addresses how out-of-fashion it is for chefs to waste food.

We love that THE FLAVOR BIBLE is able to help readers address this pressing problem by providing tips on using everything one finds in one’s refrigerator or cupboards and making them all taste even more delicious.

Our heartfelt thanks to Seattle cooking instructor Brandi Henderson of The Pantry for recommending THE FLAVOR BIBLE, and to Kim for including Brandi’s quote.

Hope you’ll read through to the article’s very last paragraphs:

Kim Severson has her own website at KimSeverson.com.

The New York Times’ Food section, ably headed by editor Sam Sifton, is at NYTimes.com.

An Unforgettable Night Seeing “Hamilton” — And Two Hillarys

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‘Hamilton’ Is the Hottest Ticket in New York: A hip-hop inspired musical about Alexander Hamilton is sold out before it even opens.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Rooted in hip-hop, but also encompassing R. & B., jazz, pop, Tin Pan Alley, and the choral strains of contemporary Broadway, [‘Hamilton’] is an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining.”
The New Yorker

We have Susan Dey and Alexander Hamilton to thank for our unforgettable night with two Hillarys on Sunday.

Months ago, Susan asked if we were free to see a new musical inspired by Hamilton and created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose still-in-previews “In the Heights” we’d seen and loved years ago thanks to Susan’s recommendation.  We were in.

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So two nights ago, we braved the snow and slush to make our way to pre-theater dinner at Vic’s, which is just around the corner from The Public Theater, where Miranda’s since wildly-oversubscribed groundbreaking hit “Hamilton” is playing.

We’d loved Chef Hillary Sterling‘s cooking so much during our lunch visit with friends in December that we were as excited to return to Vic’s as we were to see the musical.  A talented alum of A Voce and Lupa, Hillary’s signature Mediterranean-inspired vegetable-based dishes — including crispy sweet onions with dried tomatoes; heirloom carrots with dill, capers, and roasted shallots; and spicy cabbage with chiles, caraway and basil — lived up to our fond memories.

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Left: Hillary Sterling; Right: Hillary Rodham Clinton

After dinner, we all made our way a few blocks along the icy sidewalks to The Public, where we had the surprise of encountering yet another Hillary: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked past our row to seats just three rows ahead of ours, along with President Bill Clinton (who is mentioned on pages 45-46 of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE for having lost 24 pounds on a vegan diet) and Chelsea Clinton.

Seeing “Hamilton” was an exhilarating and awe-inspiring experience in and of itself.  But to have the unbelievable good fortune of experiencing it in the company of a living President (and perhaps a future President — or two?) was so profound that it inspired this Tweet from “Hamilton”‘s creator Miranda:

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“Hamilton” is playing at the Public Theater until May 3rd, and it is scheduled to move to Broadway as of July 13th — tickets go on sale on Sunday, March 8th:  “Hamilton: The Musical”‘s Facebook page

Hillary Rodham Clinton (aka “Maybe #45?“) can be found here:  clintonfoundation.org

Vic’s is at 31 Great Jones Street (near Lafayette) in Manhattan.  212.253.5700.  vicsnewyork.com

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s March 2015 Virtual Book Tour Celebrates Registered Dietitians and National Nutrition Month

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“Overall, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population does not meet daily vegetable intake recommendations.”
—Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Great new book for a healthy 2015:  THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.”
—Ellie Krieger, RDN, long-time TV show host, bestselling author and columnist

“[THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE is] a great book…Fantastic information.”
—Brigid Titgemeier, MS, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) at the Cleveland Clinic

On the heels of yesterday’s release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (and not a moment too soon!), we’re in the midst of planning THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s next cross-country Virtual Book Tour (VBT), which was inspired by National Nutrition Month (March 2015) and National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day (March 11, 2015).

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Jill Nussinow, Elizabeth Jarrard, Dianna Sinni, Amanda Archibald, and Deanna Segrave-Daly

Many of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s greatest champions have turned out to be food-loving RDs and RDNs* — who love how the book celebrates the unity of healthfulness AND deliciousness, instead of one over the other.  So we thought we’d turn around and give the love right back to them by visiting some of their websites and blogs during the weeks leading up to and during the month of March.

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Lourdes Castro, EA Stewart, Julie Harrington, Christina Bauer, and Danielle Omar

You’re about to meet some distinguished and fascinating nutritionists — and we look forward to helping you get to know this impressive group in the weeks ahead.  While they range from omnivores to vegans in terms of their own diets, we expect that in a country where 90% of us don’t eat enough vegetables they’ll be in 100% agreement that more of us shouldand that it can be delicious!

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Maribeth Evezich, Jackie Topol, Jessie Erwin, Michelle Dudash, and Kim Klee

You can follow the Virtual Book Tour’s calendar-in-progress (in the green box, below) as it continues to take shape throughout the coming month.

*BTW, an RD is a Registered Dietitian — and an RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  Both terms are used interchangeably these days, as each professional prefers.  Note:  While all dietitians are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are RDs or RDNs!

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Marisa Moore, Hope Warshaw, Sharon Palmer, Robin Plotkin, and Dawn Jackson Blatner

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE
Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists
Virtual Book Tour

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Calendar

Saturday, February 21st (Denver, CO):  Elizabeth Jarrard, RD‘s DontWhiteSugarCoatIt.com (whose initial longer review of the book appears here)

Thursday, February 26th (Kansas City, MO):  Dianna Sinni, RD‘s ChardInCharge.com

Friday, February 27th (Philadelphia, PA):  Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD‘s TeaspoonComm.com

Saturday, February 28th (Buffalo, NY):  Kim Klee, RD‘s JumpJiveAndKale.com

Monday, March 2nd (Santa Rosa, CA):  Jill Nussinow, RD‘s TheVeggieQueen.com

Thursday, March 5th (Portland, OR):  Jessie Erwin, RD‘s TheHappinessInHealth.com

Friday, March 6th (New York, NY):  Lourdes Castro, RD‘s Lourdes-Castro.com

Monday March 9th (Del Mar, CA):  EA Stewart, RD‘s EAStewart.com

Tuesday, March 10th (Boulder, CO):  Amanda Archibald, RD‘s FieldToPlate.com

Wednesday, March 11th (New York, NY):  Maribeth Evezich, RD‘s WholeFoodsExplorer.com

Monday, March 16th (New York, NY):  Jackie Topol, RD‘s JackieTopol.com

Wednesday, March 18th (Scottsdale, AZ):  Michelle Dudash, RDN‘s MichelleDudash.com

Friday, March 20th (Succasunna, NJ):  Julie Harrington, RD‘s RDeliciousKitchen.com

Monday, March 23rd (Shorewood, WI):  Christina Bauer, RD‘s Xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 24th (Chicago, IL):  Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD‘s DawnJacksonBlatner.com

Wednesday, March 25th (Alexandria, VA):  Hope Warshaw, RD‘s HopeWarshaw.com and (Los Angeles, CA) Sharon Palmer, RD‘s SharonPalmer.com

Thursday, March 26th (Atlanta, GA):  Marisa Moore, RD‘s MarisaMoore.com

Friday, March 27th (Dallas, TX):  Robin Plotkin, RD‘s RobinPlotkin.com

Tuesday, March 31st (Washington, DC):  Danielle Omar, RDN‘s FoodConfidence.com

[Schedule in progress]

On Presidents’ Day, We Share A Letter From The White House Thanking Us for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

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“Five years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to set children on a path to a healthy future. And over the past five years, we have seen incredible commitments from parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves to improve the health of our nation’s children.”
–From Let’s Move‘s website

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we wanted to share the thank-you letter we received for the copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE we’d shared with The White House.

As First Lady Michelle Obama wrote to us, “As you know, improving the health of our Nation’s families is one of my top priorities as First Lady.  By encouraging our children to get active and eat fresh, nutritious food, I am confident that we can build a brighter, healthier future for our next generation.”

We want to help professional chefs and home cooks alike make sure that the fresh, nutritious food they feed to families is also deliciously flavorful — which is where THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE comes in.  As suggested on the book’s last page (below, left), nutritional experts all underscore that “healthful eating consistently emphasizes the same foods:  vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains” (all of which are featured in great detail in the 576-page VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE).

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The bad news is that the United States is in the midst of a health crisis — one we unfortunately ate our way into via the “Standard American Diet” (SAD) dominated by processed foods and animal-based proteins.  Seven of the top ten causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity — with the health risk behaviors causing them including poor nutrition.

The good news that we can also eat our way out of this crisis — by shifting to a whole-foods, plant-based diet.  And the great news, which THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE celebrates, is that this can be more delicious than you ever dreamed possible!

And while a 2012 survey indicated that over half of Americans (52%) believed it was easier to figure out their income taxes than to figure out what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier, all our research over the past several years backs up author Michael Pollan‘s seven simple words of advice:  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”

Imagine your dinner plate divided into quarters, and try to make sure your average meal features one-quarter vegetables, one-quarter fruits, one-quarter legumes, and one-quarter whole grains — accented by nuts and seeds.  It’s as simple as that — you don’t need to count calories, grams of protein, or anything else to have a well-balanced diet.

We lost three parents and a step-parent between 2000-2009 — all to cancer.  This week, another beloved family member suffered a stroke.  We don’t want to be preachy, but we do want to share  information about the kind of whole-foods, plant-based cooking and eating that has helped us both feel younger and more energetic than we ever dreamed possible. And we all owe it to the next generation to set a better example of what healthy eating looks like and tastes like.

As First Lady Michelle Obama — who becomes the first person ever to appear on the cover of Cooking Light magazine with its March 2015 issue (above, right), which reports on the five-year anniversary of the FLOTUS’s health initiative — would put it, “Let’s MOVE!”

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Let’s Move: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids, which was founded five years ago by First Lady Michelle Obama, can be found at www.letsmove.gov.

Our Valentine’s Day Dinner at Manhattan’s Kajitsu Is a Celebration of Winter

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Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi behind the counter at Kajitsu on Valentine’s Day 2015

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To complement Kajitsu’s meticulously prepared dishes (left), well-paired beverages ranged from sparkling wine cocktails (center) to hot kumquat juice (right)

Setsubun:  A day before the beginning of Spring in Japan.  ‘Setsubun’ literally means ‘seasonal division,’ and it is celebrated yearly on Feb. 3 as part of the Spring Festival.  In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year’s Eve.  That’s why it was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse all the evil of the former year, and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.  This special ritual is called mamemaki (literally ‘bean throwing’).”
–From the menu at Kajitsu (February 14, 2015)

One of the reasons Kajitsu is among the restaurants we love visiting most often — aside from the talent and charm of its entire staff (including Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi, whom we will miss upon his departure at the end of this month — although we’ll hope to follow him wherever he ends up), and the excellence of its cuisine — is because it is a different restaurant every time we visit.

With its passionate commitment to celebrating the seasons, you’ll find different ingredients and dishes on offer every month.  Last night’s mid-February visit was a celebration of winter.

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Our texturally rich first dish “Oni: Celebrating the Beginning of Spring” was made from black bean tofu, lily bulb, black daikon, crunchy cacao nibs, and leek powder — with the white tofu reminiscent of piles of snow.

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The “Plum Blossom Soup” — a broth holding a whole umeboshi plum (which came with an accompanying warning about its pit), a golden beet, and a soft, chewy rice cake — came covered, with instructions to unwrap, unveiling its aroma.

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Kajitsu’s “Seasonal Assortment” featured soy beans (symbolizing good luck), shiitake, carrot, arrowroot, turnip, kumquat, broccoli rabe, ume-fu, daikon, scallion, nameko, and ponzu sauce, served on long leaves said to symbolize cleansing bad luck.

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The Oshinogi dish featured eggplant, Kintoki carrot, turnip, spinach; spongy, chewy rikyu-fu, and ginger jelly.

When Kajitsu describes a dish as “White Miso Hot Pot,” it means HOT pot (as you’ll see in our 15-second video above)!  This one was served with lotus root, Japanese taro potato, konnyaku, mizuna greens, Brussels sprouts, scallions, and yuzu.

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Eho-Maki:  It is customary in the Kansai area to eat uncut sushi rolls called eho-maki, a good fortune roll, in silence on Setsubun while facing the year’s lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year.  This custom started in Osaka, but in recent years eho-maki can be purchased at stores in the Kanto area and it is getting more recognized as a part of the Setsuban tradition.  For this year, Eho (good fortune dirction) is West South West.”
–From the menu at Kajitsu (February 14, 2015)

Kajitsu’s “Fortune” Sushi Roll was served with a cup of rich miso soup, accented by chopped chives.

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Kajitsu’s “Special Dessert” was a small plate of four tiny desserts featuring azuki beans, chocolate-fu, hoji pudding, and fresh mango.

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Candy from Kyoto Kagizen-Yoshifusa (left) accompanied whisked-to-order matcha (right, from Kajitsu’s renowned downstairs neighbor Ippodo Tea Co.), prepared and served by Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi with a reverent bow to each guest — as profound a moment as we’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.

Kajitsu
Valentine’s Day Special Dinner
February 14, 2015

Oni
“Celebrating the Beginning of Spring”
Black bean tofu, lily bulb, black daikon, cacao nibs, leek powder

Plum Blossom Soup
Plum, golden beets, rice cake

Seasonal Assortment
Soy beans, shiitake, carrot, arrowhead, turnip, kumquat, broccoli rabe, Ume-fu, daikon, scallion, nameko, ponzu sauce

Oshinogi
Eggplant, Kintoki carrot, turnip, spinach, rikyu-fu, ginger jelly

White Miso Hot Pot
Lotus roots, Japanese taro potato, konnyaku, mizuna green, Brussels sprouts, scallion, yuzu

“Fortune” Sushi Roll

Special Dessert
Azuki bean, chocolate-fu, hoji pudding, seasonal fruits

Matcha with Candy by Kyoto Kagizen-Yoshifusa

Gift:  Kajitsu Chocolate Fu

Kajitsu is located at 125 East 39th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, in New York City.  212.228.4873.  kajitsunyc.com

Thanking THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s Vegan Blog Tour Hosts

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THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE…is life-changing.  If you love to cook and create unique recipes, this book will greatly expand your resource of creativity in the kitchen….This is the most used book in my entire house.
Katie Henry, ProduceOnParade.com

“Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have won every prestigious cookbook award in the world for [THE FLAVOR BIBLE], and their vegetarian follow-up is just as brilliant….  Honestly, I don’t know how I ever cooked without this, and I highly recommend this book to ANY and EVERY cook…This book will make you a better cook, and will certainly give you the tools to make bolder choices in the kitchen sitting on the shoulders of chefs that have experimented before you….It’s just genius.
Tess Masters, TheBlenderGirl.com

We loved celebrating “Veganuary,” which ended up being extended into “Veganruary” due to popular demand — and one of the best parts about it, aside from discovering the joys of a virtually-entirely dairy-free month (there was a bit of a slip-up on 1/31, so we’ve kept going to make up for it), was being able to virtually “meet” the hosts of so many wonderful vegan food blogs that hosted stops on THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s Virtual Book Tour.

From Durham, North Carolina (January 6th) to Wasilla, Alaska (February 6th), we connected with bloggers who each had their own touching stories of how they became vegan.  Each also had their own unique way of celebrating veganism on their website.  While we’ve only met one of them in person (vegan dessert queen Fran Costigan), we feel like we got to know virtually all of them through their words and posts, and are happy to thank each of them yet again:

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE
“Veganuary 2015″*
Vegan Blog Tour

Tuesday, January 6th (Durham, NC):  Kathy Hester’s Healthy Slow Cooking

Wednesday, January 7th (West Orange, NJ):  Dianne Wenz‘s Chic Vegan

Thursday, January 8th (Manhattan, NY):  Fran Costigan

Friday, January 9th (Woodstock, VA):  Robin Robertson

Monday, January 12th (Bronx, NY):  Carlo and Carmella Giardina’s The Food Duo

Tuesday, January 13th (Ashtabula, OH):  Tamasin NoyesVegan Appetite

Wednesday, January 14th (Jamaica Plain, MA):  Amanda McGuire’s Pickles N Honey

Thursday, January 15th (Long Beach, CA):  Joni Marie Newman’s Just the Food

Friday, January 16th (San Diego, CA):  Zsu Dever’s Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Monday, January 19th (Brooklyn, NY):  Sarah Hohn’s Homemade Levity

Tuesday, January 20th (Los Alamitos, CA):  Jackie Sobon’s Vegan Yack Attack

Wednesday, January 21st (Kirkland, WA):  Sarah De la Cruz’s Fried Dandelions

Thursday, January 22nd (Redondo Beach, CA):  Erin Wysocarski’s Olives for Dinner

Friday, January 23rd (Portland, OR):  Sarah McMinn’s My Darling Vegan

Monday, January 26th (San Diego, CA):  Part I:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Tuesday, January 27th (Beaverton, OR):  Julie Hasson

Wednesday, January 28th (Germantown, MD):  Angela McKee’s Canned Time

Thursday, January 29th (New Britain, PA):  Lydia Grossov’s From A to Vegan

Friday, January 30th (Toluca Lake, CA):  Tess MastersHealthy Blender Recipes

Monday, February 2nd (West Orange, NJ):  Dianne Wenz’s Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

Tuesday, February 3rd (San Diego, CA):  Part II:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Friday, February 6th (Wasilla, AK):  Kathleen Henry’s Produce on Parade

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