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
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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!

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

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.

  • 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

  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.


  • 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
  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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