YumUniverse Pantry to Plate: Book Review and a Recipe

Improvise Meals You Love―from What You Have!―Plant-Packed, Gluten-Free, Your Way

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I have something I want to share with you. I love rainy days. I like to be able to stay home all day and do all the things I love to do. Wear a cozy sweater after a week of blazing heat, pull out a pair of fuzzy socks that usually only see the light of day, during the winter months. Tidy up my desk that’s buried under mounds of paperwork because life has been really busy and I simply can’t be bothered to tidy a few minutes at night- read, I’m too tired to be sorting, filing and shredding. I love turning the TV on and watch re-runs. Today I’ve “watched” Three’s Company, Everyone Loves Raymond, Reba to name a few. While the TV is on, and in between making sure the kids are feed (the kids only have two days of school this week due to May long weekend), I’ve sat down and read Pantry To Plate. If you know me, I’m known to read cookbooks cover to cover, they are *the* new novels.

I can follow any recipe to a T, but I really like how Heather Crosby shows you how to make everything using a template and offering you ingredients that you can use. She has a basic “must use” ingredients for baking then lots of options for fruits, sweetener, flour, puree, and so on.  Not only that but Heather has templates for everything!! YumUniverse Pantry To Plate is divided up Good Morning Universe which has scrambles, pancakes, milks, breakfast cookies and more, Munch & Lunch which has crackers, bites and tots, Veggie Fries and more, Main Meals which includes cheesy comfort foods, Mmmaki, hand pies and more, Sweet Tooth which includes cookies, sneaky brownies, crisp and crumbles to name a few. Not only does she give you a template for crackers or mmmaki, or hand pies etc, BUT she also shares a complete recipe. Most recipes have a photograph, but there are also lots of smaller pictures throughout the book.

This is THE book, as it will please everyone. If you like a recipe, you’re covered, if you like a guideline- covered. This is a go to resource with endless possibilities. I’ve been looking for a book like this for a long time, as I’m not a strong baker. Don’t get me wrong I’m a great baker (when I follow a recipe), but I have never understood the science behind it (I’m hard on myself). Heather has given me the best gift ever! She’s shown me how to make whatever baked good I want without wondering if it will fail. She is giving me confidence of being able to think outside the box and create my own creations.

YumUniverse Pantry to Plate was the best kept secret of all times, until The Experiment released it on May 16, 2017. When you make dishes from this book, you will want to spread the word and let your family, friends, co-workers know where you found your inspiration or what recipe you used. This shouldn’t be kept for ourselves.

I’m excited to be able to share a well loved comfort food, with a twist. Mac n cheese with sriracha. It has 2 cups of delicata squash, which your kids or picky spouse won’t notice. It gets blended with water, cashews, ginger, nooch, garlic, lemon juice and a  few other ingredients. This is the perfect meal for lazy rainy days like today, or a busy weeknight supper. Or a bedtime snack. I think it’s perfectly suitable to have the leftovers for breakfast. You can’t argue with me on that one 😉 Hot sauce is hated by my kids, too much heat, so I don’t add any to their Mac.

Here’s the sexy gorgeous  Sriracha Mac!! Enjoy, don’t eat responsibly! This is legit healthy, just don’t tell them that!!

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Sriracha Mac

Serves 4+

I discovered the magic of Sriracha in my mac and cheese at a vegan diner in Chicago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. For a simple-yet-decadent version, skip the Sriracha, ginger, and scallions. Try adding your favorite veggies or switching up the delicata for sweet potatoes or any other winter squash.

Ingredients 

  • One 12-ounce (340 g) package gluten-free macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups (230 g) peeled, seeded, and diced delicata squash, steamed
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) water
  • ½ cup (70 g) raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for 4 to 6 hours, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or any similar style hot sauce), plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger, or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Get a large pot of water boiling and prepare the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions.
  2. While the noodles cook, combine the squash, water, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, salt, Sriracha, and ginger in the blender and purée until ultra-smooth. Taste and add more Sriracha if you like. Transfer to a large pot heated to low.
  3. Drain the noodles and dump into the pot of sauce; add the scallions. Stir together, seasoning with more salt if necessary. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil if you like and serve warm.

Credit line: 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.

 

One thing I should disclose, other than receiving this book for an honest review is- Heather has about 3 maybe 4 recipes that calls for honey. No big deal, you can always use maple syrup, agave or another sweetener you have on hand. That’s the only ingredient that wouldn’t be vegan.

I’d love to hear what you have made from this book so far, or what template you used.

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Happy Anniversary Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan, and Tattooed By Cecilia Granata!!!!

It was roughly a year ago when I was introduced to Cecilia Granata ok it was actually to her cookbook, Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan, and Tattooed – which came out on April 12, 2016.

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I liked the book and decided to see if I could find any social media accounts that belonged to her. I did find her, so like anyone else would, I reached out to her, we started chatting and asked her if she would be interested in an interview, she said yes! . Cecilia is one of the most down to earth people I have met online. Her book reflects her personal style, which I love that she was able to combine her tattoo art with her recipes.  Check out the interview, I think you will enjoy it.

I’m able to share a recipe to celebrate the anniversary of Mama Tried, thank you Microcosm Publishing!! Cecilia has a lot of good recipes but I decided to use the one I shared before and let her show you how to  make something new out of it. I know a lot of people who hate leftovers, so she’s here to tell you that leftovers are awesome! Cecilia takes last night’s risotto and makes something new and fresh out of it. Haters won’t be able to tell, they will just be impressed that you made “more” risotto 🙂

Risotto alla Milanese

 

Risotto Al Salto

Crunchy Risotto Leftovers

 

Ingredients:

Leftovers of saffron risotto

2 or 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp margarine

1. Grease a plate of the margarine. Pour the cold leftovers over and press them with the back of a spoon to make a disc. Heat 2 or 3 tbsp. oil in a pan and slide the rice onto it.

2.  If the disk crumbles apart, just press it into shape again with the spoon. Let it get crunchy on one side (at least 5 minutes). To flip the rice with a plate, place plate over the rice. While  pressing down on the plate, flip the pan to drop the rice on the plate, then slide it again into the pan on the other side. Let the other side get crunchy as well, and serve hot.

Do you like leftovers?

Note* The book cover is a photo I took. The photo of the saffron risotto belong with Cecilia Granata  and is used with permission.

 

 

 

Homemade Vegan Lasagna

I love pasta, almost as much as I love potatoes. There’s nothing more satisfying than noodles covered in a good sauce with veggies. I don’t make lasagna as much as I should. I mean, depending on how many layers you have, it really does feed a crowd; it freezes well so you’re not eating it for a week if you only have a few people living in your home. It travels well, so it’s right up there with chili for potlucks. What more can I say? I LOVE lasagna 🙂

I’m going to share with you my recipe. It’s fairly simple, but it does take some time to cook, but it’s ready within 40 minutes. You can make the marinara sauce and ricotta the day before. If you are really stuck for time, you can always grab a bag of cut veggies from the grocery store. I won’t judge. This here, my friends, is a judge free zone.

I need to tell you that if you come across Manitoba Hemp Heart Toppers, you need to buy them I generously sprinkled their Chipotle, Onion & Garlic blend on top of my lasagna and it’s a match made in heaven. Let’s get to the part you are really here for…. the recipe.

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You will need 6 lasagna noodles, 1 1/2 batch of marinara sauce, all the ricotta (1 recipe worth), cut veggies- how much is up to you, the more the better! Do not cook your noodles or your veggies!!! The oven and sauce will do all that hard work for you. Trust me; you don’t even need to buy the oven ready ones. Just choose any noodle you want. Brown rice will cook up faster than regular noodles. Remember to double the batch of my sauce for this recipe.

Brandie’s Marinara Sauce

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, or 6 even it’s all good

1 tsp of each thyme, rosemary

1 Tbs of basil

1 can of crushed tomatoes

2 tbs of Parmageddon  by the makers of Vegan Magic.

3 tbs of Manitoba Harvest Hemp

Oil, or veggie broth to sauté the onions

Method:

If you use oil, add some olive oil to your pot, otherwise use some veggie broth. Heat it on medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them for a few mins, add the minced garlic, stir it for about 30 seconds.

Add the crushed tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and basil, stir. 

Cover the pot with a fitted lid. Bring sauce to a boil. 

Remove pot from the heating source, carefully lift lid, and give it a good stir.

Reduce heat to low, you want it to simmer. Cover with lid. Set the timer for 30 mins. Just give it a stir every now and then.

Add the parm and hemp seeds, stir it up and BOOM baby, you have yourself an epic marinara sauce.

Ricotta

1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

3-4 cloves of garlic.

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

dash of salt 

Method:

Get out your food processor and break the tofu into pieces, add everything else and process it.

*Note, the ricotta recipe is adapted from Isa’s recipe in Veganomicon.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Now you’re ready to assemble your lasagna. Pour a fair amount of sauce on the bottom of you 9×13 inch pan. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Take half of the ricotta spread over the noodles; it doesn’t need to be perfect. Take your veggies place on the ricotta. Take the rest of the ricotta place on veggies. Cover that with some sauce. Place 3 more noodles on top, pour the rest of the sauce over the noodles. Cover with tin foil, cook for 40 mins.  

Of course you can add more noodles if you want more of a classic lasagna.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. The marinara sauce is my go to for dipping garlic bread/sticks in, or for anything when I need a red sauce. I think it’s way better than any pizza joint’s marinara sauce. Let me know what you think.