Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#Review & #Recipe: YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle by Heather Crosby - 5 Wine Glasses

20702929Title: YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle
Author: Heather Crosby
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Published: October 28th 2014 by BenBella Books
ISBN: 1940363241
Links: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 5/5

Adding more plant-based, gluten-free foods into your life just got a lot tastier.

Whether you’re transitioning to a completely plant-based diet or you just want some ideas for how to prepare scrumptious veggie dishes, Heather Crosby provides a step-by-step guide to adding good stuff into your existing routine.

YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole Food Lifestyle offers a creative collection of more than 150 amazing recipes developed by Heather, all with no meat, dairy, gluten, or soy. But this is more than just a cookbook—it’s a treasure chest that will help you build health-promoting habits and recipes of your own for a lifetime. Once a bacon-loving skeptic, Heather knows first-hand how overwhelming yet rewarding the transition to a plant-based, gluten-free diet can be, so she’s included essential, everyday know-how for folks seeking to adopt and maintain a healing whole foods diet.

Fans of YumUniverse.com, Heather’s inspirational food blog, and new readers alike will discover unique recipes that are as delicious as they are beneficial. With hearty dishes such as Skillet Crusted Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Cardamom Cream Chia Pudding with Raspberries, as well as divine desserts such as Mexican Unfried Ice Cream and Chocolate & Salted Caramel Stack Cake, Heather’s recipes will have you saying "yum” and finding joy in clean foods that respect and nourish your body.

A plant-based, gluten-free diet is delicious and doable. So say goodbye to temporary dieting and embrace healthy, incredible dishes as part of your long-term wellness adventure!

Linda's Thoughts:
I was blown away by this book!

You don't have to be a health nut or a foodie to easily incorporate plant-based, gluten-free foods into your life. YU just have to start.

YUMUNIVERSE by Heather Crosby is an amazing, inspirational step-by-step guide to making positive changes in your existing routine.  It allows you to take baby steps towards a delicious plant-based, allergy-friendly diet and includes more than 150 recipes that are scrumptious and easy to prepare!  Don't expect a guilt trip! Heather is very non-judgmental and isn't interested in labeling people by what they eat. She simply advocates eating more plants and whole foods, and encourages the reader to take what they want from the book.  

YUMUNIVERSE is so much more than a cookbook!  It's a road guide to health. Basically, it's broken down into three sections:
  • Why?
  • How
  • Let's Eat

In the Why? section, Heather soundly dispels common misconceptions about...
  • Protein.  Is there protein in veggies?  Heather writes "Picture a 400-pound gorilla. What does he eat to grow that strong muscular body? Leaves, stems, roots, seeds, and fruit."  She includes suggestions for what a plant-based protein-rich day could include.
  • Calcium.  Don't I need dairy for calcium? Heather writes "Billions of dollars are spent by the meat and dairy industries to convince us that we need milk to build strong bones and animal protein for a healthy body. And they use scare tactics, too: When we hear "osteoporosis," what words come to mind? If you said "calcium" and "milk," then the American Dairy Association has done its job well. The fact is that science doesn't support these claims. Animal products are actually incredibly acid forming in the body... We can get more than enough calcium from plant-based sources." She includes suggestions for a plant-based calcium-rich day could include.
  • Carbohydrates.  Shouldn't I avoid all carbs? People fear carbs. Heather simplifies the issue by stating that refined carbs should be avoided. Refined carbs are processed, starchy foods like doughnuts. On the other hand, carbs from whole plant-based sources should be embraced as they include essential fiber and energy with health-boosting nutrients and they actually help us maintain a healthy body weight. The author clarifies complex carbs vs. simple carbs -making the decision of what carbs to eat an easy choice!
  • Iron. Don't I need to eat animal foods to get enough iron? Heather explains how to increase the absorption of iron from plants.... what to eat, what to avoid, how to prepare...
  • Fiber.  What's the difference between soluble and insoluble?  What are the sources of each and what do each do?
  • Fat. Isn't all fat bad? We have been conditioned to dread fat in all forms but we need whole-food fats to function optimally.  Heather explains the different kind of fats and how to make fat your friend.
  • And More.

In the How section, Heath addresses plant-powering your kitchen, shopping and storage, social situations, prep, cooking and baking.

For instance, under storage, Heather gives advice about glassware and addresses concerns about plastic baggies.  She shares how to store pantry staples and the best way to use them. She explains how to dry your own herbs and how to create "easy meal" seasoning cubes. Under fruit and vegetable storage, she includes a list of the ethylene producers and how that knowledge can be used to maximize storage. She also addresses the freeze-ability of each fruit and vegetable; If it can be frozen and how best to do so. She has instructions for sprouting; instructions for cooking grains, rice, legumes and beans; and much more.

In the Let's Eat section, you'll find more than 150 tempting recipes and the most appetizing pictures I've ever seen in any cookbook!  No kidding - the pictures are gorgeous! I was surprised to find so many recipes that I'm dying to try. None of the recipes appear to be difficult and most have minimal ingredients. Here's a mouth-watering assortment of a few of the recipes included: 

Heck Yeah, Banana Pancakes Chickpea Flatbread
Almond-Cardamom Cream Chia Pudding with Fresh Berries
Crunchy Onion & Poppy Seed Breadsticks
Roasted Veggies Traditional Cole Slaw
Mini Chesapeake Veggie Cakes Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower
Basil & Pepper Pine Nut Crisps Crispy Chickpeas
Beet & Eggplant Crisps Multi-Bean Chili
Comforting Veggie Noodle Soup Asian Cabbage Salad
Baby Kale Salad & Blueberries with Chinese Spiced Pecans
Rainbow Veggie Ribbon Alfredo
Jerk Lentil & Avocado Wrap Raspberry & Peach Fruit Leather
Strawberry-Banana Crunch Snack Wraps
Sliceable Cashew Cheese Easy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Pretty Pretty Pie Crust Mexican Unfried Ice Cream

Simple, easy, swap-outs are offered with variations for almost every recipe. They all look and sound yummy! Whether you want inspiring ideas on how to prepare veggies that everyone will clamor for OR you want to transition to more of a plant-based diet, you will find a plethora of recipes here to tempt your taste buds!

Following are a few of my favorite motivational quotes from the book:

A teeny fraction of the S.A.D. (Sad American Diet) comes from plant-based foods and the vast majority comes from animal-based and processed foods, it's pretty plain to see why we're overweight and sick - it's simple cause and effect.

It's important to know that what we eat for health and what we eat for enjoyment don't have to be mutually exclusive.

"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want. " - Anna Lappe, educator and author of Diet for a Hot Planet

"Fill you plate with the colors of the rainbow. What pleases the eye, pleases the body." - Deepak Chopra, author and alternative medicine practitioner

"We talk about the health-care system in America, but that's a misnomer - what we really have is a disease-care system." - T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study

When I grew up, my Mom had multiple cookbooks but she had one that she referred to all the time; It was her cooking bible. I would put YUMUNIVERSE  in the cooking bible category.  Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, there is something here for you. If you have an allergy to or are trying to avoid eating gluten, dairy or soy, YU really need this book! If you have any interest in adjusting, tweaking or overhauling your diet by adding more whole foods, then rush to whatever brick-and-mortar or online bookstore you use and buy it now! It's a perfect Christmas stocking stuffer for anyone you care about!

Thank you to NetGalley and BenBella Books, Inc. for allowing me to read and review YUMUNIVERSE.


The publisher has graciously given us the following recipe for Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Brownies from the book to share with our readers.  Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Brownies
12+ Servings

I do love to sneak unexpected, nutrient-rich ingredients into treats, and this gluten-free recipe is a perfect example. Black beans, sweet potato, and dark chocolate combine into bona fide fudge-like decadence. You can use canned beans for this recipe, but I recommend starting with dry beans (soaked and then cooked by you) to reduce aluminum intake, boost flavor, and optimize digestion and nutritional benefits.


1 ½ cups almond flour
1⁄3 cup Sucanat
½ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

2⁄3 cup sweet potato, diced and steamed
2 ¼ cups black beans, cooked (1 cup dry)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 3 – oz. gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil*
¾ cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9" x 13" or 9" x 9" baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
2. Sift or whisk together all dry ingredients in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
3. Place all wet ingredients into the food processor and pulse until super-smooth.
4. Fold together wet and dry ingredients and transfer to the parchment-lined baking dish.
5. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in baking pan before serving.


For a triple dark chocolate brownie, top brownies with shaved chocolate after baking.

Fold some toasted almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts into your batter.

Fold ¼ cup cherries and ¼ cup toasted coconut into your batter before baking.

Make ’em Mexican style. Fold 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg to the batter before baking.

You can find another recipe from this book to try here: Buckwheat Noodle Pad Thai

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interesting post on nutrition. The culture of proper nutrition is not at all developed in our country, as I believe. That is why if you have a goal to lose weight, then it would be better to seek help from a specialist. I used to do it myself and got some health problems. That is why I am looking for a nutritionist and read noom reviews, where they talk about my experience.


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