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Interview with Heather Crosby author of YumUniverse Pantry to Plate

Yum Universe nicecream

Heather Crosby author of Yum Universe Pantry to Plate

We are so excited to welcome Heather Crosby to the blog for an interview and a recipe from her newest book, Pantry to Plate. The book uses templates which can be used to create an endless number of recipes.  Following our interview with Heather, check out Anna’s summary of recipes that she made, and then the recipe for Bourbon Salted Chocolate Pecan Cluster Nice Cream.

Heather Crosby is a former veggie phobe turned veggie lover who lives in a historic small town in West Virginia. Like many folks who find their way to clean eating, she became accountable for her health because she had to, and she continues to work on it every day.

Heather has a certification from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and she’s a big believer that everyone comes to the table with varied habits, beliefs, traditions, and dietary needs, and these layers change and evolve over a lifetime. She’s not interested in being the food police, or telling you how to eat. She’s interested in connecting with other health-minded peeps, sharing resources, and providing inspiration for anyone who wants to simply eat more plants and not compromise the “flavor” in their life to do so.

She’s a recipe developer and wellness advocate who approaches food through a creative, plant-inspired lens—thinking outside of the box to create shareable, comforting recipes for people of all dietary inclinations.

Heather is the creator of GlutenFreeBakingAcademy.com, author of YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle, and the founder of YumUniverse.com, where over 500 free recipes and helpful resources like meal plans for whole-food, plant-powerful cooking can be discovered.

Her work has been featured in O Magazine, and on Oprah.com, Reader’s Digest, NPR “It’s Your Health,” HGTV, HuffPost, Design*Sponge, MindBodyGreen, and more.

 

How did you get into veganism, and vegan cooking specifically?

 I have to clarify, that while animal welfare is a very important thing to me, I don’t call myself or my recipes “vegan” for myriad reasons, even though they do fall under that umbrella for the most part. 🙂 I do use honey, but often provide alternatives for my vegan friends. I came to eating more vegetables out of a desire to change my state of health and found that they provided infinite, creative possibilities for comfort food that folks of all dietary inclinations could benefit from and enjoy.

You changed your own eating habits for the better after you were told you would be on medication your whole life. How daunting was that thought of change, and what advice would you have for others who want to change but haven’t taken the first steps?

It felt very daunting given the fact that I disliked veggies so much that I actually had a gag reflex for them. I had to train my tastebuds and I did it one step at a time. Most folks don’t have such melodramatic hurdles to overcome, but I started with green smoothies loaded with fruit to simply get more greens into my body. Eventually, I weaned out the fruit, and before I knew it, I started to crave vegetables. Then I got creative. Since I had no real frame of reference for how to cook with veggies (given the fact that I never ate them), I could use them in unexpected ways. It satisfied me creatively and emotionally to play with these ingredients. One step at a time, I created a relationship with the good foods that ultimately healed my body. My advice is add more good stuff in little by little. Eventually it will squeeze out and replace the bad stuff. Try one new recipe per week. Buy one new veggie per week. Make it fun, because it is.

How did you transition from blogger to cookbook author?

I wanted to share recipes in a different context than online, my community was asking for a book, and when I decided to do one I felt ready—it was a natural progression. In my other life I’m a designer, and there was something so precious and official about being able to hold a collection of recipes in your hands. On paper! So, I found an agent, and she helped me send out proposals for a print book. I have a lot of tips and thoughts to share and I enjoy doing so in many ways. A book is just one tool to reach folks who need/want help and inspiration.

What are some differences between your two books?

Both books focus a lot on HOW change is made—the tools that make health goals easily achievable. Book one is more like a textbook, and book two is all about how many of us cook on a day-to-day basis, without a recipe! Pantry to Plate has 30 recipe templates in it plus almost 100 recipes whereas my first book, YumUniverse shares the WHY, HOW and EATS for a plant-inspired dietary approach.

What made you decide to include templates in Pantry to Plate, and how did you create them?

During the promotion period for my first book, folks would ask me “what do you eat on a daily basis?” The more I thought about it, I realized that I was a freestyle cooker. I had steps memorized and would swap out the ingredients for those steps based on what I had in the pantry, in the CSA box, or in the fridge. These memorized “templates” were for all my favorite comfort foods—tacos, pancakes, muffins, cookies, soups. I realized then that I had to share these templates so other people could do the same. It would help busy types prepare healthful meals on the fly.

What was your favorite part of developing this cookbook?

I’m a creative person (not to mention Type A) and it was very satisfying to create every bit of both books. I designed Pantry to Plate, took the photographs, wrote it, developed the recipes, and painted the doodles. It’s truly my book baby. Every page I look at sparks a simple memory. Like what it was like outside when I took the photos of the pancakes (cloudy), or when I painted the salad greens while munching on snacks and watching Game of Thrones with my love Mike, and our bud Bernardine. These are things that make it more special to me than if my publisher’s art department handled these parts of the production.

Who are a few people who’ve inspired you along the way, or continue to inspire you in the vegan community?

Too many to count or list! We’re a lucky community full of passionate and creative people who want to help. I’m forever in awe of some of the powerhouse ladies that started their sites back when I did like Angela Liddon and Meghan Telpner.  Jessica Murnane, Amie Valpone, Laura Wright and Ashlae Warner all make my heart sing, too. There’s something special about how these ladies lift each other up instead of falling into a competitive spirit. This is an exciting time for lady business owners, bloggers, and health-minded folks in general.

Your are a self-proclaimed former veggie-phobe. What was that one vegetable that used to make make you coil back in fear… that now you adore?

Broccoli! I could start the broccoli fan club nowadays, but as a kiddo, I was happy to sit at the dinner table all night long in defiance, wrinkling my nose at how absolutely disgusting it was. Second runner up would be celery. I owe celery a big fat apology and I’m making up for lost time with that one, too.

Tell us about your Gluten Free Baking Academy!

Oh, yes please. 😀 This is an offering that I am so very proud of. I worked for two years creating the content and recipes in this program. For 4 weeks, students learn online via eBooks, videos, transcripts, the community group, and more, how to make GF breads of all kinds. Whole grain, junk-y-ingredient-free breads like flatbreads (tortillas, skillet breads), quickbreads, yeasted breads, and sourdough loaves. The first session was a huge success with students joining in from all over the world. Enrollment for the second session opens again in September. Folks can learn more about it here: glutenfreebakingacademy.com

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I have lots of plans, and am always swirling with ideas, but next up is the Gluten-Free Baking Academy second session, more courses, and more face-to-face workshops, maybe even a retreat or two. And a nap. Definitely a nap!

There’s something special about how these ladies lift each other up instead of falling into a competitive spirit. This is an exciting time for lady business owners, bloggers, and health-minded folks in general.

Thank you so much to Heather for answering our questions and sharing her recipe! To our readers who want to learn more about Heather’s recipes, blog and cookbooks – you can visit her website at yumuniverse.com or connect with her online: Instagram| Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo | Pinterest | Youtube

 

Anna’s Book Review

Breakfast polenta with mixed berries, salted pepitas, toasted coconut, and maple syrup — this was my first time trying sweet polenta as a breakfast cereal and I loved it!  So creamy and flavored with coconut milk and lime zest. I savored every bite.

Pesto panzanella salad — the salad dressing is made from a pesto base which both basil and kale, and is so very green!

 

Matcha nice crispy bars — I used the template for these. They turned out perfect and I loved that they didn’t require any marshmallows (even vegan ones).

Roasted cabbage and sweet corn salad — the roasted cabbage gets sweeter and some crispy/caramelized bits. The vinaigrette dressing makes it so delicious (although I did sub maple for honey and flax for olive oil) that I actually ate the entire recipe in one sitting! It was that good!

 

 

 

 

Heather Crosby's Bourbon Salted Chocolate Pecan Cluster Nicecream

Bourbon Salted Chocolate-Pecan Cluster Nice Cream

  Servings: 4

This one is for my grandparents, who loved their bourbon, and their sweets. If you don’t love a boozy kiss in a dessert, simply leave out the bourbon.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (50 g) raw pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Two pinches cayenne pepper
  • Two pinches ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 cups (720 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch/flour
  • One 3-ounce (85 g) dark chocolate bar

Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the pecans, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup ¼ teaspoon of the salt, cinnamon, cayenne, and cardamom until the pecans are coated. Scatter on the baking sheet and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from the baking sheet and cool in the fridge.
    2. Press the vanilla bean pod so it lies flat on a cutting board. Carefully slice down its entire length with a sharp knife and open. Use the back of your knife to scrape out the caviar-like seeds and toss into a large pot. Heat the pot to medium-high and whisk together the coconut milk, the remaining 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup, oil, bourbon, arrowroot, and ¼ teaspoon salt until velvety smooth and starting to simmer. Remove from the heat and chill for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge, until thoroughly cool.
    3. Melt the chocolate bar over a double boiler and toss the pecans in the chocolate until coated. Cool in the fridge; chop into bite-sized pieces.
    4. Process the chilled milk mixture in an ice cream maker until firm but stirrable. Transfer to a freezable container and fold in the pecan clusters until evenly distributed but maintain swirls and chunks. Freeze for 1 to 3 hours, until firm. Thaw to scoopable consistency and serve.
Recipe from YumUniverse Pantry to Plate  © Heather Crosby, 2017. Photographs copyright © Heather Crosby, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com[

 

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