Going plant-based is a process.
I often found the first year of my transition to be overwhelming, challenging, and if I’m being honest… sometimes downright awful.
The longer I persevered, however, the more I became aware of people like Heather Crosby, who reaffirmed my commitment. As one of the first guests on my co-hosted podcast, Nourish + Flourish, Heather opened my eyes to the inspiring work she has put into her site, YumUniverse, over the past near-decade. Not to mention her first book, with the same name!
I feel as if I owe her a debt of gratitude for the patience and dedication she has exhibited in her work to develop some of the most delicious plant-based and gluten-free recipes with nostalgia, cravings, and comfort in mind.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Heather, watching her cook, and enjoying some of her food.
Here we are Wanderlust Snowshoe, enjoying a bit of getting-to-know-you time ahead of our event next week (more on that below).
Heather demo’ed two recipes:
- Smoky Country-Fried Cauliflower
- Cabbage & Watercress Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Buttermilk Dressing
…all plant-based and gluten-free, of course!
I knew I had to try the cauliflower recipe at home, ASAP, which is exactly what I did last night.
I made a few substitutions, including baking it and keeping the cauliflower in “steak” shape, but the results were still fantastic.
One of the benefits of seeing Heather present was hearing all of her insights and tips, as well as encouragement to try new techniques and not be married to a recipe.
Which is exactly why I love her new cookbook, Pantry to Plate, so much!
I have been musing over each page and this week I made the Seeded Onion Crackers to snack on with some cashew cheese and sprouts.
I’m not much of a snacker, but I sure do miss crackers and bread and everything else that is glutinous and delicious… which brings me to another big part of Heather’s world: her Gluten Free Baking Academy, giving all of us GF eaters lots of hope and a whole new world of options.
But back to the cookbook!
Here’s why I love Pantry to Plate:
It is beautiful.
If you love to leaf through cookbooks for the eye candy, this one won’t disappoint you. There are beautiful and delicate watercolor details that grace the pages, all hand painted by Heather herself. Not to mention the alluring food photography!
It is a treasure trove of templates, resources, and techniques.
There are abundant categories and sections of this cookbook, all of which include easy to understand explanations of how to execute various techniques, and how to apply a myriad of flavor options to each recipe. If ever there was a choose-your-own-adventure cookbook, this is it.
It inspires play and creativity.
Like I mentioned above, Heather does not live and die by her recipes, and she doesn’t want you to either. This approach is right up my alley, and is further testament to Heather’s adventurous spirit in the kitchen.
It caters to comfort.
A big topic we discussed on N + F was the perceived death of comfort food in the plant-based world, which Heather wouldn’t stand for. She was certain there was a way to reclaim the creamy, gooey, luscious flavors and textures from her Standard American Diet past, and I am forever grateful that she did.
It covers the entire spectrum of flavors and textures.
Whether you are craving something cold and creamy, warm and sweet, savory and crunchy, or a mixture of all of the above… it’s in there. Every meal is covered, including snacks, staples, and desserts.
If you’re transitioning to a more plant-based diet, Heather’s cookbooks will alleviate a lot of the growing pains and challenging aspects that I encountered. I’m so glad I found her – better late than never.