Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We've moved!

We are happy to announce that we have a brand new website! We've combined our blog and website together, so we will no longer be posting here. Please join us at http://veganheritagepress.com
While you're there, sign up for our monthly newsletter and get a free eBook sneak preview of Robin Robertson's Nut Butter Universe!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuxedo Cheesecake Brownies


Summer is coming to an end, and many people around the U.S. will be having Labor Day picnics and cookouts this weekend. Tuxedo Cheesecake Brownies from Amber Shea Crawley’s Practically Raw Desserts is an excellent dessert for at your holiday parties. Not only are they incredibly decadent and delicious, they don’t require any heat to prepare, so your kitchen will stay nice and cool in the fading summer heat. They are best served cold, straight from the fridge, but you can bring them to room temperature before serving if you prefer; you just may need to eat them with a fork instead of your hands!

Ingredients:
Brownie Layers:
  • 1 cup dry pecans

  • 1 cup dry walnuts

  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates

Cheesecake Layer:
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup water or nondairy milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

  • 30 drops liquid stevia (or equivalent sweetener of choice), or to taste

Preparation:
Brownie Layers: In a food processor, combine the pecans, walnuts, cacao powder, and salt and pulse until finely ground (be careful not to overprocess). Add the dates, 2 to 3 at a time, pulsing between additions until each date is well-incorporated and the mixture is sticky. Taste for sweetness, and add another date or some stevia if desired.
Press half of the mixture (about 1 heaping cup) firmly and evenly into an 8-inch square baking pan (lined with plastic wrap for easy removal, if desired). Place the pan in the freezer to chill. Set the other half of the mixture aside while you make the cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer: In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, water, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and stevia and blend until smooth. You can add more water, a teaspoon at a time, as needed to help the mixture blend. Taste for sweetness and add more stevia if desired.
Remove the pan from the freezer and transfer the cheese- cake mixture onto the brownie layer, spreading it evenly with a spoon or spatula. Place the pan back in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours to allow the cheesecake layer to firm up. Once frozen, remove the pan from the freezer again, and evenly scatter the remaining half of the brownie mixture on top of the cheesecake layer. Gently but firmly press the brownie bits into the cheesecake. You may still be able to see the cheesecake layer underneath; that’s ok. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.
Store the brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Makes 16 bars

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


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beyond PB&J with Nut Butter Universe


Not long ago, the only nut butter sandwich around was the traditional PB &J made with peanut butter, grape jelly, and white bread.  Did you know that before the age of 18, the average American child consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

But why settle for tradition, when you can put your own spin on the classic sandwich.  These days, you can choose from over a dozen kinds of nut butters, paired with an orchard full of jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades, and served on a wide variety of whole-grain breads.  You can also get even more creative by adding another flavor layer to your sandwich filling by sprinkling your spreads with anything from dried or fresh fruits, to crushed nuts or chocolate, or even shredded carrots or cooked vegan bacon.  Even Elvis got creative with his now-famous grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich (which he reportedly ate with a knife and fork.)

Variations on a PB & J are, in fact, infinitely versatile when you consider that by combining a different variety of nut butter for the peanut butter, and a different flavor of jam, jelly, or preserves, combined with different “add-ons” as well as types of bread, you could potentially enjoy more than 32,130 different variations of America’s favorite sandwich.

The sandwich recipes in Robin Robertson’s new book, Nut Butter Universe include:
  • My Favorite PB&J
  • Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
  • Flower Power Almond Butter Sandwich
  • Walnut Butter Waldorf Wraps
  • Open-Face Peanut Butter and Tomato Broil
  • Chocolate-Hazelnut Paninis
  • Roasted Eggplant Pita with Garlicky Lemon-Almond Sauce
  • Peach-Almond Butter Quesadillas

And one of Robin’s personal favorites, these Thai Tofu-Vegetable Wraps



Thai Tofu-Vegetable Wraps
Filled with baked tofu strips, crisp fresh vegetables, and a creamy, zesty sauce these wraps make a yummy lunch or a light supper. You can add more vegetables, if you like.  For an even quicker version, you can use a package of ready-made baked marinated tofu, although making it yourself is more economical.  In place of tofu, you can substitute seitan or soy curls. To make them gluten-free, use gluten-free flatbreads.

Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari, divided
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon natural sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste, or more to taste
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion or scallion
  • 2 lavash flatbreads or large flour tortillas

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or spray it with cooking spray. Arrange the tofu strips on the pan, drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until lightly browned, turning once about half- way through, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cashew butter, tamari, lime juice, sugar, and chili paste. Blend well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the lettuce, carrot, bell pepper, bean sprouts, if using, and onion. Toss to combine.
  4. Spread the cashew mixture onto each flatbread, dividing evenly. Top with the vegetable mixture, spreading on the lower third of each wrap. Top the vegetables on each flatbread with strips of the reserved tofu.
  5. Roll up the sandwiches and use a serrated knife to cut them in half. Serve at once.
Serves 2



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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Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Year Anniversary of the Northeast Blackout

This week saw anniversary of the Northeast Blackout. On August 14th, 2003, about 50 million people from Ohio to New England and even into Michigan and Ontario, Canada lost power. New York City commuters had to walk miles home across bridges or face being stranded, as the city's transit system came to a halting stop. While telephone systems remained operational, circuits quickly became overloaded so calls couldn't go through. Water systems in several areas lost pressure, forcing boiling advisories to be put into effect. Power was restored within hours in some areas, but others had to wait a few days before their electricity was turned back on.

The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was caused by an aging electric grid and a few overgrown trees. While the system has been upgraded since then, power outages can still be unpredictable and hit at any time. Anticipating emergencies and being prepared ahead of time can be the key to surviving events like the blackout of 2003. Vegan Unplugged by Jon Robertson with recipes by Robin Robertson is a pantry cuisine cookbook that also features a concise emergency preparedness section for everyone in the family, including companion animals. This handy book contains instructions on how to put together a Five-Day Meal Box to feed up to four people for five days, and how to personalize your home pantry for emergencies. The recipes are simple and easy to make using basic ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. Vegan Unplugged book is a must for those who want to be ready for crisis situations in these unpredictable times.

Vegan Unplugged for Nook and Kindle
Stay prepared with Vegan Unplugged and rough it in style with delicious pantry cuisine meals. Vegan Unplugged is available as a paperback, as well as digitally for Nook and Kindle, just make sure your batteries are charged before your power goes out.




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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Go Back to School With Nut Butter Universe

It's back to school season! Here in the US, children in the Midwest are already heading back to class, while those who live on the East and West Coasts are preparing to go back soon. School lunches can be tough for children who on a meatless diet, as options are limited in school cafeterias. Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson is here to help!

Nut Butter Universe has a chapter devoted to delicious sandwiches that will be welcome in any lunchbox. There are recipes for creative new twists on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, such as the Flower Power Almond Butter Sandwich and Peach-Almond Butter Quesadillas. Thai Tofu-Vegetable Wraps and Walnut Butter Waldorf Wraps are also excellent lunchtime choices. Robin even provides a "Sandwiches Unlimited" chart in the chapter, so you never have to make the same sandwich twice!

If your young scholar one would prefer a salad, Nut Butter Universe has you covered there too. Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce makes for a delicious midday meal, as do Indonesian Gado-Gado and Roasted Niçoise Sald with Cashew Goddess Dressing.

If you're packing healthy snacks in your little one's lunch box, consider Robin's Handcrafted Granola Sunflower Bars or a slice of Walnut Butter Banana Bread. Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus and Crudité with Spicy Cashew Dip packed alongside cut veggies are also great choices, and the spice levels in both recipes can be altered to your child's taste.


Nut Butter Universe is packed with recipes that the whole family will enjoy for lunch and snack time, as well as for breakfast, dinner and even dessert. There are recipe for making your own nut butters, and there's even options for those who have nut allergies.  Pick up your copy today and make back to school season a little easier!



Photos by Lori Maffei.


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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Go Back to College With Vegan Unplugged

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Walnuts
August is here and college students everywhere are packing up and preparing to head back to school. College living often comes with mealtime challenges. Options are often limited to eating in a campus dining hall, eating fast food or trying to cook up something simple back in the dorm room. Vegan Unplugged by Jon Robertson and Robin Robertson is a pantry cuisine cookbook that can help college students cook up quick, easy and nutritious meals.


Curry in a Hurry
Students who aren't used to fending for themselves at dinnertime will learn how to make delicious meals such as Quick Bean Burritos, Tuscan Chickpea Stew, Curry in a Hurry and Moroccan-Spiced Vegetable Stew. All of the recipe in Vegan Unplugged use inexpensive ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store, most of which are canned or boxes, so refrigeration is not required. Vegan Unplugged also includes instructions on how to cook meals without the use of a stove, such as in a microwave or on a hot plate, so it's perfect for dorm room cooking. Comfort food dishes such as Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Walnuts, Nice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Last Resort Lasagna will console students who might be away from home for the first time.


Chickpea Spread
Handmade snacks such as Chickpea Spread, Tapenade with Classy Crackers and Texas Twister Caviar come together in a flash, and are much healthier options than anything can be found in a vending machine. Easy-to-make treats like Almond Stuffed Dates, Tropical Energy Balls and Peanutty Granola Bars are prefect brain food to fuel late night study sessions.


Vegan Unplugged Paperback
Vegan Unplugged for Nook and Kindle














Vegan Unplugged is available in paperback as well as for Nook and Kindle.




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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream

August is here, and with it comes the reminder that summer is almost over. Children are preparing to go back to school and adults are making plans for their last few weekends of the season. This Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream from Robin Robertson's Nut Butter Universe captures the light, fresh tastes of summer and lets you savor them throughout the months to come. Penne pasta is used in this recipe, but any bite-sized pasta will work well. This dish is best if eaten immediately after prepared since the sauce may begin to turn brown if made in advance.

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup hot vegetable broth or water, or more if needed
  • 1 to 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved 
and pitted
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • Plain unsweetened almond milk, if needed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
  • Whole fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Preparation:
  1. Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is tender, about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the broccoli and carrots. About 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the zucchini. Drain the cooked pasta and vegetables well and return to the pot.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the drained cashews, garlic, and broth in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth and well blended. Peel and pit the avocado and add it to the food processor along with the scallions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. For a thinner sauce, add some almond milk, if needed. For a thicker sauce, add additional avocado. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  3. Add the sauce to the pot containing the drained cooked pasta and vegetables. Add the tomatoes and chopped basil and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with the whole basil leaves.
Serves 4

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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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Maple Streusel Coffee Cake Squares

These Maple Streusel Coffee Cake Squares from Amber Shea Crawley's Practically Raw Desserts are a perfect summertime dessert as they don't require a hot oven to prepare and they can be eaten right out of the fridge. If you're not a fan of walnuts, almonds or extra pecans can be used in their place. If you happen to have mesquite powder on hand, add 2 teaspoons to the batter along with the coconut flour for a delightful flavor enhancement.

Ingredients:
·      1 cup dry walnuts

·      1 cup dry pecans

·      1/2 cup old-fashioned cup old-fashioned rolled oats

·      1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·      1/8 teaspoon sea salt

·      1/4 cup coconut flour

·      1/2 cup pitted dates
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided

·      1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

Preparation:
1.    In a food processor, combine the walnuts and pecans and pulse a few times, until the nuts are roughly chopped. Add the oats, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse just until the nuts are coarsely ground (be careful not to overprocess). Transfer 2/3 cup of the nut mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
2.    Add the coconut flour to the remaining mixture in the food processor and pulse until just combined. Add the dates, 2 to 3 at a time, pulsing between additions until each date is well-incorporated. Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Transfer the batter to an 8-inch square baking pan (lined with plastic wrap for easy removal, if desired), using your fingers or a spatula to press it firmly and evenly into the pan.
3.    Add the coconut palm sugar and remaining tablespoon of maple syrup to the reserved nut-oat mixture in the small bowl. Use a fork to stir it together until it becomes sticky. Scatter the streusel evenly on top of the cake in the pan, and firmly press it down with your fingers or the bottom of a cup. Refrigerate until ready to cut and serve.
4.    Store the squares in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
Yield: 12 servings

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 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.

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

·      1 cup chocolate curls

Directions:

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.

Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 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

Preparation:
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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