Monday, December 7, 2015

DIY Vegan Book Tour--Review, Recipe, and Giveaway!!

Gushes upon gushes of gush. Beware, many pictures forthcoming.
Photos above courtesy of DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy. 
When I heard from Julie, that DIY Vegan was out, I raced to my computer to email the authors, Lisa Pitman (Vegan Culinary Crusade) and Nicole Axworthy (A Dash Of Compassion)--begging to join their blog tour. I knew I'd love this book, because I make most of the kitchen staples we use in the Berns-Kerns pad, plus I knew these recipes would be light on the gluten and the refined sugars. 

I truly haven't been this goo-goo over a book in a really long time. The book arrived on my porch just before Thanksgiving, and since it's joined my family, I've been cooking from it constantly.

So far I've made the Date and Fig Cashew Cheese, Coconut Bacon Bits, L.P.'s Worcestershire Sauce, Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce, Strawberry Chia Jam, Spice it Up Tortilla Chips, Sweet Potato Hummus, Quick Caramel Sauce, and Tahini. 

I ran out of time to cram them into this post, but I have big plans to make more recipes too. Specifically the Nacho Sauce, which is made from sweet potatoes and white beans (sorta similar to my Squeeze Me sauce), and the Chocolate Buckwheat Crunch cereal speak to me, but there are loads more I plan to try.

Some of the loot I've made from DIY Vegan.
The saucer hiding on the far left is filled with homemade Worcestershire Sauce.
I could sorta gush about the recipes I've made forever, but one of the real stars for me has been the Stir-Fry Sauce, which I'm so happy to have permission to share below.

I'm always looking for vegetable heavy dinners to make, and stir-fry has been completely missing from my radar, since I never found a sauce I like. The sauce in DIY Vegan is SO GOOD, I had it for dinner three nights in a row, and have aspirations to get bok choy-y this week too. You can switch it up all sorts of ways, with cashews, or pineapple, but the focus is pure vegetable heaven, especially over some short grain brown rice. I found a little shortcut from the book, too. Instead of cooking the sauce separately, I mix in the arrowroot and just pour it directly on top of my cooked veggies. It only takes a second to thicken in the saucepan.
Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce
Reprinted from DIY Vegan. Copyright (c) 2015 Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Makes 1 1/2 cups (enough for 3 stir-frys)

One of the easiest ways to increase your vegetable consumption is to add a stir-fry to your weekly meal plan. But pass up the shelf-stable bottles with the ingredient lists you'd rather ignore, and create your own ready-to-go, sauce-sweet ginger goodness. This recipe makes enough suace for three batches of stir-fry.

What You Need:
♥ 1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari
♥ 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
♥ 2 cloves garlic, minced
♥ 2 tablespoons mirin (Kittee note--I subbed white wine)
♥ 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
♥ 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
♥ 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
♥ 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
♥ 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

What You Do:
1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the arrowroot powder, with 1/2 cup water in a small airtight container. Shake it to mix well. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

2. When you're ready to make a stir-fry, in a small saucepan, just before you turn on the heat, mix sauce and arrowroot, using 1/2 tablespoon of arrowroot powder for each 1/2 cup of sauce. Stir until all the lumps are dissolved. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat and cook until it thickens.

3. Saute your favorite VIPS--very important plants (e.g., mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, cashews, mung bean sprouts). Once everything is heated through, pour the sauce over your veggies and stir until everything is coated and glistening in all that goodness. Serve warm.

Coconut Bacon Bits.
This was my first time making coconut bacon, and these came out great. If I can stop eating these by the handful, they'll go on top of salad (I also used some to sprinkle atop a casserole of Mac 'n' Cheesie I made for Dazee over the holiday).

Date and Fig Cashew Cheese. It'd go so well on a cheese board with a friend, some olives, and a pile of homemade crackers (lots of recipes for these inside, which I'm about to hop on top of).
The Date and Fig Cashew Cheese was easy to make, but did take a few days because it's fermented and then air-dried. I popped mine into a dehydrator on a low temperature, to helps speed things along.

Besides getting married to the Stir-Fry Sauce, I really love how pantry friendly these recipes are (if you have a well stocked hippy kitchen). Only a few recipes call for cane sugar, and in the tortilla chip recipe, I was able to sub out the cane for coconut sugar with great results. If you're gluten-free, most if not all of the recipes that call for gluten also offer a GF option.

Strawberry Chia Jam made lickety split from frozen strawberries.

Peanut Butter Freezer Cup filled with Strawberry Chia Jam.
Of course, the first thing I did once I made the strawberry chia jam and the caramel sauce was to shove them both into their own freezer cups. The caramel was especially great turned into a turtle cup with a walnut, but I also tucked some into chocolate cups alongside a little peanut butter and they were knock outs, too.

Quick Caramel Sauce transformed into mostly raw chocolate turtle cups. I heart you too, little walnut.

Nicole, Lisa and their publisher, St. Martin's Griffin, have offered a free copy of DIY Vegan to one of my readers in either Canada, or the U.S. To win a copy, please simply leave a comment on this post, with an easy way to reach you, and I'll randomly pick a winner one week from today (be sure to comment by 10 PM PST on December 14th, to be eligible).

The winner is Shannonc, comment number two!

Date and Fig Cashew Cheese.
If you like my writing and/or my recipes, please consider sharing my posts (by linking back here), following me online, and being my friend when you bump into me at Food Fight. Building an audience with actual numbers makes it easier for me to offer you more and more content.

Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!

Disclaimer:  I requested and received a free review copy of DIY Vegan from St Martin's Griffin.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the awesome opinion posted here is my own.


  1. This book looks awesome! I'm interested to see how it compares to Miyoko Schinner's vegan pantry book- maybe a little simpler, which would be good :) smaksimo at g mail

    1. I haven't spent much time with Miyoko's book, but I don't think there is a huge overlap. DIY Vegan sorta focuses on easy, healthy pantry staples, and then has recipes to show you how to use them.

  2. Everything looks amazing - I'd love to win! shannonc at jhu dot edu

    1. You won! I'm emailing you now! Congrats, this is a great book!

  3. I've been following the blog tour and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this book.

  4. I need to get out of my vegan comfort zone, and this looks like a great way to do that. gina at snider11 dot com

  5. OMG so much goodness! thelacydavis at gmail!

  6. I'd love to win this book! jackydlt at gmail!

  7. I hadn't yet seen a picture of the Date and Fig Cashew Cheese; yours really makes it clear that this recipe is a must-try: it looks awesome! This is obviously a book I would love as much as you did.

  8. Those caramel chocolate turtle cups have me like WHOAAAAA.

    AmandaMRaney at

    1. They take about ten minutes to make, once you have the filling cold. Imma post about them soon, it's sorta ridiculous how good they are.

  9. Lots of lovely looking things here, I'd love to try some new recipes! jenn dot peters at gmail dot com

  10. That date & fig cheese and the peanut butter cups are speaking to my soul right now... Plus, I'm a sucker for a good DIY stir-fry sauce, so it's definitely going on my to-try list!

    veganrunnereats at gmail dot com

  11. Everything looks so good! I can't wait to try those treats!
    Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

    sophie_680 at hotmail dot com

  12. The picture of the Fig Cheez is intriguing. I'd love to try making it.
    one800mary gmail

  13. Looks so yummy!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. oops I somehow deleted my comment. I just said that I had everything but the lime for the stir fry sauce, and I'm going to get one on the way home tonight and make stir fry for dinner! Yay!

  15. The stir fry sauce sounds amazing!

  16. All the pictures look terrific, I would love to try any one of them -- thanks for hosting this opportunity to WIN...! :-D

  17. This book looks sweet and that cashew cheese has got me wanting to get it!!

  18. FIGS!!!!
    beckysekeres at gmail dot com

  19. what a great review, for such a great book! I just made a new batch of the stir fry sauce too. Love that stuff! I had my eye on the date and fig cheese too. Glad to see your pics. No need to enter me, obvs, just a note of shared joy and appreciation for this excellent book!

  20. Very helpful for transitioning vegan. Thanks

  21. Wow, this book looks fantastic! I would love to make my own Worcestershire Sauce. Vegan versions are pricey!

    gaia at cinci dot rr dot com

  22. This sounds like such a great book! I often want to make my own condiments and such (and hope to make all my food from scratch one day), but sometimes it's tricky to find the right recipe that makes it taste just the way you want it to. Thanks for this great review!

  23. Excited about this book! Sauces are where my creativity runs out!

  24. That fig and date cashew cheese sounds to die for - the perfect savory/sweet combination!
    theresac036, gmail

  25. I can't wait to make the stir fry sauce. I love stir fry, but the bottled sauces taste fake, and I never could come up with anything at home that tasted like anything more than soy sauce.
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. stir fry sauce sounds great, maybe try to cheat with bottled lime juice as I always have in fridge
    ec925 at usa dot net

  27. I saw that Stir-fry Sauce on Amey's blog and I absolutely need to get around to trying it. My stir-fry sauces are always more meh than awesome.

  28. This book looks awesome. I'm terrible about buying things that I could make!

  29. the book looks great - I really would love to try those turtles.....

  30. That book sounds like a real winner...and I hope I end up a winner! ;-) An easy way to contact me if I win is daynamoth (at) gmail (dot) com

  31. I'm all about making as many pantry staples as I can! psuke(dot)


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