Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: YumUniverse by Heather Crosby

Benbella Publishing contacted me several weeks ago with an offer to share 3 of the their newest publications with me. I was excited because I started a whole-foods, plant-based, vegan-ish dietary change several months ago and let me tell you, it's been a challenge. I think in some ways it's been much harder than going gluten-free was for me. You can replace cookies, cake, muffins, etc... especially with all of the great gluten-free flours available now... but it's not quite as easy to replace a steak. Trust me, there are days I REALLY miss the steak!

But moving on... one of the cookbooks they sent was this beautiful book by Heather Crosby. First of all... can you have a cooler name for a cookbook than "YumUniverse ?" I know...I didn't think so either... it's just way cool!

Beyond the coolness however, it's just a wonderful cookbook. Filled to the brim with great information on how to begin a plant-based diet, how to stock your kitchen, how to shop, and most importantly HOW to cook! This really is a primer on how to learn to eat and cook using plant-based whole foods.

A big bonus for this cookbook? It's also gluten-free!

I've tried out several recipes so far, my favorite being the banana bread muffins. I made these for work this week and they are just simple and delicious. I'm really trying to learn how to bake again without eggs and using as little fats/oils as possible, so these muffins Heather created are a great beginner recipe. She uses whole grain-gluten free flours, along with almond flour and of course bananas.

The muffins are also gum-free, as Heather uses as few processed ingredients as possible. These muffins (despite their appearance) are really light and fluffy and have a wonderful banana flavor.

Heather uses a technique in these muffins that I had not thought of before. She purees the bananas with water and chia seeds (to replace the eggs) to almost create a banana "milk" which is the bulk of the wet ingredients. She also added chopped bananas to the batter to have some texture, but I realized that I really don't like chunks of fruit in my muffins, so I just pureed all the bananas in the water. I LOVE how the muffins turned out this way. They don't have odd, "wet" areas, and they are smooth and have a wonderful texture throughout the whole muffin.

For the recipe you'll have to check out the book, "YumUniverse" but Heather does have an earlier version of the muffins on her website, which I'm sure are just as tasty!

This is a great cookbook to check out if you're both gluten-free AND trying to follow a plant-based or vegan diet. The photography is just stunning throughout the whole book and it's very well written. Great job Heather! I'm a big fan! :)

Now as a bonus, the publisher is providing one book to giveaway , so if you would like a copy, please leave me a comment below! This contest will run through December 19th and end at midnight. I will use to choose a winner.

The Giveaway:
  • BenBella Publishing is providing one paperback copy of YumUniverse to give away.  
  • This giveaway is open to everyone. 
  • One entry per person.
  • Enter by leaving a comment below on this post AND please include a way for me to contact you -- your email address preferably.
  • The giveaway begins December 12, 2015 and ends on December 19, 2015  at 12:00 am eastern daylight savings time.
  • No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  
  • The winners will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winners will have 24 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

GLG Disclosure: 
BenBella Publishing provided me with a paper copy of  "YumUniverse" for the purpose of sharing an online review, if I chose to do so. They are also providing a copy to one reader of this blog through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored post and I did not receive compensation. The opinions in this post are completely my own. 

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  1. I miss burgers... They don't have the right texture.... But, I have come up with some yummy quick meals!

  2. You have inspired me to try more plant based recipes-easy and yummy would be great.

  3. Mmm banana bread is one of my favorites. I can't wait to see what other tricks she includes in her cookbook!

  4. I would love to win this one thanks for the chance.

  5. Carrie,YOUR banana muffin recipe has been my go-to recipe for years now and I would love to try this one from Yum Universe. I know just what you mean about those 'odd wet areas' which is why I smash bananas all to pieces!

  6. Would love to win this book! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  7. I am wanting to go more vegan-ish too and would love the help of this super yummy looking book. Love the name and these muffins look delicious!

  8. would love to have this for my nephew... JM LEDER

  9. always ready to switch things up a bit for my health...and I love a new cookbook!

  10. I love YumUniverse's recipes... and GingerLemonGirl, of course.
    Please email me at
    Thanks... and Merry Christmas, Carrie!

  11. OMG - this book looks amazing. Thank you for this opportunity Carrie. Please enter me in the contest at