Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Author Round-Up

It's hard to believe that July is almost over and August will be here in just a few short days. We've had an eventful month here at Vegan Heritage Press. VHP authors Robin Robertson, Betsy DiJulio and Bryanna Clark Grogan were named in Holistic Nutrition Degree's 101 Leading Sites for Healthy Vegan Living. Our authors have been busy with quite a lot of other things as well. Here's what they've been up to:

Robin Robertson shared her recipe for Peach-Almond Butter Quesadillas from Nut Butter Universe in the July issue of Vegan Culinary Experience. The Marin Independent Journal said "even non-vegans would go nuts over Nut Butter Universe" and shares a few recipes from the book as well.

Practically Raw Desserts author Amber Shea Crawley shared her recipe for Tuxedo Cheesecake Brownies in Vegan Culinary Experience.

The Blooming Platter Cookbook author Betsy DuJulio has had a busy month! Her Vegan Gumbo recipe was featured on Navitas Naturals website and her recipe for Indian Cashew Swiss Chard, Kale or Spinach was featured on One Green Planet. Betsy's recipe for Lemon Verbena Shortbread Sandwich Cookies was also featured on One Green Planet, and it used fellow VHP author Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Lemon Curd recipe as filling. Ms. Fit Magazine featured Betsy's recipe for Zucchini, Onion, and Yellow Squash Gratin in their article “Friday Favorite: Five Favorite Early Summer Veggies" a few weeks ago too.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Black-Bottom Peanut Butter Freezer Pie

This richly decadent Black-Bottom Peanut Butter Freezer Pie from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson is quick and easy to make, but looks and tastes like it took all day to prepare. Since there's no baking and it sets in the freezer, this pie is the perfect summertime dessert.

·      1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate cookie crumbs
·      1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
·      1 quart vegan vanilla ice cream, softened
·      3/4 cup peanut butter
·      1/4 cup chopped peanuts

·      1 cup chocolate curls


Crust: Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and the butter until well blended. Transfer to the prepared pan and press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and sides. Set aside.
Filling: In a large bowl, combine the ice cream with the peanut butter, mixing until well blended. Spoon into the prepared crust. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, let the pie sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts in the center of the pie and the chocolate curls along the outer edge.

Serves 8

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Keeping Cool in the Kitchen the Practically Raw Way

Most of the U.S. is smack in the middle of a brutal heatwave this week. It's so hot you could fry a slab of tofu on sidewalk, if you were into that type of thing. With temperatures in the upper 90s and low 100s, most people aren't very eager to spend time in the kitchen cooking over a hot stove. Luckily, Amber Shea Crawley's cookbooks Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts are full of delicious, easy-to-make recipes that don't require heat to prepare.

In the mood for pasta for dinner? How about Spaghetti alla Marinara from Practically Raw, made with zucchini "noodles' and fresh tomatoes. Or how about some Almond Butter Sesame Noodles made with no-cook kelp noodles?

Is it taco night? Try Practically Raw's Fiesta Taco Roll-Ups, which are made with nut meat, non-dairy cheese and lettuce leaves.

Would you rather have pizza? Practically Raw has you covered there too, with recipes for both Primavera Pesto Pizza and Italian Sausage Pizza.

Ready for dessert? Practically Raw Desserts is packed with tons of no-bake sweet treats. How about some Pecan Chai Bars, which can be enjoyed straight from the freezer? Or Amber's Famous Five-Minute Blondies II, which come together quickly and just need a little time to chill in the freezer before they're ready to eat.

Would rather have pie? Practically Raw Desserts has many recipes for no-bake pies and tarts, including Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart with Macaroon Crust, Coco-Nana Cream Pie and the refreshing Summer Fruit Pizza.

If it's a cold treat you're looking for, try Amber's Creat-Your-Own Ice Cream, made using cashews, non-dairy milk and your choice of flavor options.

Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts are both available in softcover, as well as digitally for Nook and Kindle so you can take them with you on your summer vacation.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pecan Chai Spice Bars

Most of the U.S. is in the middle of a brutal heatwave, and the last thing most people want to do is to turn on the oven to bake dessert. We don't need to be deprived of sweet treats during hot weather though, as Amber Shea Crawley's Practically Raw Desserts is full of recipes for delicious, no-bake desserts. These scrumptious Pecan Chai Spice Bars are easy to make and require no heat at all to prepare. You can either eat them straight out of the freezer, when they’ll be solid enough to eat out-of-hand, or enjoy them from the refrigerator, when the buttery topping will be pleasantly gooey and melty.

  • 1 cup dry pecans

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • Big pinch of sea salt

  • 1/4 cup strong brewed chai tea

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Filling and Topping:
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed chai tea
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • Pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup dry pecans, chopped if desired

Crust: Combine the pecans, coconut flour, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the chai tea and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse until the mixture is combined and crumbly. You can add water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into an 8-inch square baking pan lined with plastic wrap for easy removal, if desired.
Filling: Combine the cashew butter, chai tea, maple syrup, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir vigorously to combine. Pour the filling over the crust and scatter the (whole or chopped) pecans on top. Place the pan in the freezer to chill for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Yield 16 servings

From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nuts and Seeds in Raw Food Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley

Today we have a guest post from Amber Shea Crawley, author of Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts. Amber was classically trained in the art of gourmet living cuisine at the world-renowned Matthew Kenney Academy, graduating in 2010 as a certified raw and vegan chef. In 2011, she earned her Nutrition Educator certification at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. She's here to talk about using nuts and seeds in raw vegan desserts.

Nuts can be chopped, crushed, blended, or used whole; they can add texture, flavor, crunch, or creaminess to a dish; they can even be turned into milks and flours. All nuts contain good amounts of healthy fats (particularly monounsaturated fat), fiber, protein, and minerals. Many nuts are also a great source of fat-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin E.

Almonds: Probably the most all-purpose nut in the raw food world, almonds make beautiful milks, flours, and nut butters, and they’re rich in calcium and vitamin E to boot.
Brazil nuts: The world’s best source of the trace mineral selenium, which is important for proper thyroid function, just one Brazil nut supplies 100% of the RDA.
Cashews: Thanks to their beautiful creaminess and slight sweetness, they’re an important component of many raw desserts. They’re also a good source of magnesium, which is vital for healthy muscles and bones.
Hazelnuts: Also called “filberts,” hazelnuts contain a great deal of folate, an important B vitamin that helps build and repair DNA. They’re super-crunchy and go great with chocolate.
Macadamia nuts: Macadamias contain more healthful monounsaturated fats and fewer pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats than any other nut. Rich, buttery-tasting macadamias can be used for creaminess in the same way cashews can.
Pecans: Pecans are one of my favorite nuts in the world for their toasty flavor and rich texture. They also contain more antioxidants than any other nut.
Pistachios: The lowest-calorie nut, pistachios possess an unmistakable (and lovely) green hue and an addictive crunch.
Walnuts: More anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids can be found in walnuts than in any other nut.

As with nuts, seeds are a very versatile ingredient. They have a variety of functions in raw desserts, from binding to thickening to replacing tree nuts. Raw seeds also contain plenty of good fats, protein, fiber, and minerals.

Chia seeds: These unique little seeds, which come in regular (black) and white varieties, are positively packed with omega-3 fats, fiber, and protein. When combined with water, they form a mucilaginous gel, which may sound ugly, but it’s seriously awesome. Chia seeds are fabulous at binding to toxins and scrubbing waste from inside your digestive tract.
Flaxseeds: Full of plant lignans, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber, flaxseeds also become gelatinous when ground and soaked. As such, they can be used as a binder in raw recipes. The whole seeds are indigestible and must be ground before eating or using in a recipe.
Hempseeds: These superseeds have it all: essential fats, dietary fiber, complete protein, and loads of minerals. They’re tiny and nutty-tasting, and I love making them into a nutritious nondairy milk.
Pumpkin seeds: A great seed to use as a tree-nut replacement, pumpkin seeds (sometimes called “pepitas”) are packed with minerals like zinc and iron.
Sesame seeds: I most often use these little calcium powerhouses in their ground form, called tahini.
Sunflower seeds: Full of vitamin E and delicious in their own right, sunflower seeds are my go-to seed for replacing tree nuts when I need to make a recipe nut-free.

From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Berry Cheesecake

Sweet summer berries are in season this month! This light and luscious non-dairy cheesecake from Robin Robertson's Nut Butter Universe is the perfect dessert dish to serve them with.  The creamy goodness comes from cashews blended into a rich butter and combined with vegan cream cheese. Be
sure your berries are well-drained and blotted dry to remove any liquid.

  •  3/4 cup almonds, soaked overnight, then drained and blotted dry
  • 3/4 cup soft pitted dates

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, then drained and blotteddry

  • 1/2 cup natural sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •   2  (8-ounce) containers vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
  •   1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries, well drained and blotted dry
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Fresh berries and mint leaves, for garnish
  1. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and set aside. In a food processor, combine the drained soaked almonds and the dates and process until finely ground. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, and process to a paste. Add the cream cheese, berries, and cornstarch,
    and blend until smooth and very creamy.   
  3.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for another 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and cool at room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan before slicing. (You may need
    to run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan.) Serve garnished with fresh berries and mint. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vegan Grilling

Grilled Seitan Satays with Ginger-Peanut Sauce from Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson
For the longest time, it was believed that the barbecue grill was to be used solely for cooking meat. We vegans know that's not true, and it's time for us to take back the grill! Just about every food in the plant kingdom can be grilled - and they taste great when cooked this way.  We at Vegan Heritage Press have all of your grilling recipe needs taken care of with our vegan cookbooks. Here are some grilled dishes to celebrate the 4th of July with this week:

Grilled Fruit Satays with Pineapple-Coconut Peanut Sauce from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson

Some great sides to serve at your cookout are:

Whatever you choose to cook on the 4th, we hope you have a happy and delicious Independence Day!

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Grilled Fruit Satays with Pineapple-Coconut Peanut Sauce

If you’re hosting a vegan barbecue for the 4th of July this week, these Grilled Fruit Satays with Pineapple-Coconut Peanut Sauce from Robin Robertson's Nut Butter Universe are the perfect dessert to end your meal with. Your guests will be amazed at how simple and delicious grilled fruit is. Creamy Pineapple-Coconut Peanut Sauce complements the fruit’s sweet flavor. Vary the fruit according to your preference – bananas, apricots, and peaches are good choices. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.

2 tablespoons vegan butter

1/2 cup natural sugar, plus more to sprinkle fruit

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 ripe plums, halved, pitted, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup hulled strawberries

Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Stir in the peanut butter, then add the pineapple juice and coconut milk, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute. Keep warm while you grill the fruit.
Fruit: Thread the plums, pineapple, and strawberries onto skewers in an alternating pattern. Sprinkle with a little sugar and grill them on both sides, just until grill marks start to appear, about 5 minutes.
Arrange the skewered fruit on 4 plates along with small dipping bowls of the warm sauce.

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Lori Maffei.

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