— Shepherdstown recipe developer and wellness advocate publishes game-changing new book.
In 2009, Heather Crosby launched a website—YumUniverse.com—dedicated to helping people enjoy eating more plants (without judgement). The site includes meal plans, a membership, over 500 recipes, and much more—for both plant eaters and meat lovers alike.
Equal parts public service, personal health journey, and work of art, YumUniverse essentially derived from a diagnosis Crosby had received from a doctor in her early thirties, stating: “You’ll be on medication for the rest of your life.” She decided, instead, to get to the root of what was causing her illness, on her own. And she discovered the culprit: diet.
Fast forward to 2014, and buttressed by the popularity of her internationally celebrated website, Crosby’s first book—YumUniverse – Infinite possibilities for a gluten-free, plant-powerful, whole-food lifestyle—made a huge splash, propelling the T. Collin Campbell Foundation Certified Plant-Based Wellness Advocate into the spotlight as one of the most renowned voices in the plant-based diet movement.
Three years later, and Crosby’s second book—YumUniverse – Pantry to Plate – Improvise Meals You Love from What You Have!—has landed (wherever books are sold), and is shaping up to turn the plant-based cookbook industry on its ear yet again.
“After I wrote the first book, people were asking me how I ate on a day-to-day basis, and I realized that I really didn’t make recipes three times a day,” she revealed in a recent interview. “I usually just take what I have in the fridge or the pantry and, based on steps that I’ve memorized from my favorite foods, I create templates.”
So, she decided to take those templates and put them in a book. “I thought it would be useful because people mostly cook without a recipe; in fact, people need more than recipes to make a healthy lifestyle work. They need tools to build confidence in the kitchen, and they don’t always have to follow a recipe to get good, healthy food on the table.”
An admitted former “veggie-phobe turned veggie-lover,” Crosby currently lives in Shepherdstown (WV), and spent the last year and a half working on not just the follow-up to her first smash hit, but also an online gluten-free bread baking academy. The Academy is designed for folks who want gluten-free bread without any crutch ingredients, like xanthan gum or processed starches. “It’s a four-week course that utilizes whole grain, wholesome ingredients, and textures that are comparable to artisanal breads of all kinds—from tortillas to quick breads to sour dough,” she explained. “The first session was a huge hit earlier this year, and the next course opens in September [GlutenFreeBakingAcademy.com].”
Ultimately, Pantry to Plate boasts nearly 100 beautifully photographed recipes and 30 recipe templates. The templates basically represent thousands of meal combinations possible. “People can make recipes exactly as I have them in the book, or they can use the templates to make them based on what ingredients they have or like or prefer,” emphasized Crosby. “What I think they’ll love about it—the templates are based on comfort foods—basic staples that we all like to eat every day or week: breakfast cereals, fries, soups, snacks, ice cream, cookies, and much more.”
Crosby returns from a busy tour schedule for a book-signing/meet-up/ice cream social at the Shepherdstown Community Club (102 E. German St., Shepherdstown) on July 29, from 6-8pm. in the summer. Partners include FlowerHaus and Four Seasons Books. Find out more here.