[This post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with cookbook authors, bloggers, women entrepreneurs and home chefs whose work I enjoy and admire. If you’ve got someone in mind you’d like me to approach for an interview, please shoot me an email at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today’s installment!]
I’m delighted to bring you an interview today with Lisa Pitman and Nicole Axworthy, authors of the new ebook Tiny Treats: Vegan Recipes that will Tantalize Your Taste Buds and Nourish Your Soul, and two of the most lovely and inspiring women I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They’ve also kindly agreed to provide a copy of the book for today’s giveaway–see bottom of post to enter!
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I actually met Lisa many years ago when I first attended the annual Vegetarian Food Festival here in Toronto. Lisa was the cheery, energetic volunteer with the always-smiling face who greeted many of the guests and helped us find our way as we wandered among the many stalls and vendor booths at the Fair (and, in more recent years, has become a presenter in partnership with Nicole, drawing a packed house for their recipe demos). Later, I began to read Lisa’s blog, Vegan Culinary Crusade. When I held a giveaway for baked goods from Sweet Freedom just before the book was published, it turned out that Lisa was the winner (you can read her review of the goodies here). From there, an email friendship grew and like her other loyal readers, I’ve followed along as Lisa has developed her blog, studied to become a raw food chef, and trekked around the world sharing her joyful veganism.
I was lucky enough to meet Nicole a couple of years back when Angela threw a birthday party and we were both invited. I was delighted to learn that she worked as a writer and editor (a dream job of mine!). As a food blogger and recipe creator, Nicole also holds certification in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, so she’s adept at making those fabulous and great-tasting recipes good for you, too. Her blog, A Dash of Compassion, highlights delicious, healthy, vegan recipes, which she refers to as her own brand of “baketivism.”
Now, Lisa and Nicole have collaborated to bring you Tiny Treats, and entire ebook of 25 delicious whole-food vegan sweet treats, many of them raw (though they do also offer baked options)–no special equipment required (just a food processor or blender). The recipes I’ve tried so far have been incredible, and the photos in this ebook are also stunning (and each recipe has its own full-color photo)–every page is a mini celebration of healthy, beautiful, delicious food! And perhaps most importantly, the women are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, in order to sponsor the elephants there. Every purchase will help them reach their goal!
Today I’m sharing the recipe for Cinnamon Bun Granola, a crispy, chewy, satisfying and just-sweet-enough treat (note that I adapted the recipe for the ACD, with no problems at all; in fact, most of the recipes would be easily adaptable by subbing coconut nectar for maple syrup).
I asked Lisa and Nicole a few questions about their baking, blogs, and ebook. Once you’re done reading, be sure to enter the giveaway, below!
1. You obviously work well together as recipe creators and cookbook designers—the recipes are all delectable and the photos are stunning. How did this collaboration come about?
We met at a vegan cookbook launch party a few years ago. It didn’t take long to discover that we’re culinary soul mates. We share a food philosophy, a curiosity about creative cuisine, and a love of learning new techniques. Over the years, we’ve collaborated on blog challenges, co-presented food demos and travelled to vegan events. With our shared love of sweet treats, the ebook became the perfect platform for us to tackle the recipes we’ve been dreaming about for years. We have different palates and different sources of inspiration, which helped to develop a diverse collection of recipes that all shared the same basic qualities: whole food ingredients and amazing flavours.
2. What did you enjoy most about working together?
We delight in each other’s creations. We’re inspired by one another’s enthusiasm and when things don’t work out there is always someone else ready to retest the sauce or taste the next batch.
3. Your ebook features many raw treats. How much of your own diet is raw? Any reason you eat this way?
The ebook recipes focus on whole-food ingredients, so they don’t call for any processed flours or sugars. However, we do use a few ingredients that do not fit into the standard definition of raw cuisine, such as maple syrup. We love the wonderful flavours that nut flours and date pastes impart but we also believe in flexibility. Even the directions in the book are not exclusively raw. Most kitchens don’t have a dehydrator so we made sure to include oven-baking instructions for any of our recipes that need a little heat.
4. Why are all the treats so small?
We both believe that a healthful diet is built around plenty of vegetables and fruit. The desserts in this book fit well into that plan. These desserts are nutrient dense and therefore surprisingly satisfying. They are the perfect size to enjoy at the end of a meal or as an in-between snack. But if you like a heartier portion, go ahead and cut those brownies into 10 rather than 20.
5. You donate a portion of the proceeds to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand. What was the motivation for this choice?
Last year, Lisa spent a week volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. It was a life-altering experience. The elephants at the park have all been rescued from situations where they have been abused at the hands of humans and yet they treat all of the guests of the park with warmth and affection. It is powerful to learn forgiveness from an elephant. Although we wish we could help to end the suffering of all animals, we felt that this would be a personal place to share the proceeds.
6. What’s your personal favorite raw food, either in the ebook or not?
Lisa: The raw food I tend to eat the most is kale. I’m a big fan of leafy greens and seem to find a way to enjoy them at every meal. When it comes to desserts I look to the combination of apples, cinnamon and ginger—making a raw apple crisp is my ideal treat.
Nicole: Just like Lisa, I gravitate toward greens (usually in salad form). On the sweeter side, I love the fresh, tangy flavour of lemon—the Lemon Lava Cakes recipe in the ebook is one of my favourites.
7. For someone who isn’t used to cooking this way, what would be the best starter recipe from the book?
The Cinnamon Bun Granola recipe would be a fantastic introduction to Tiny Treats—oats, buckwheat, walnuts and coconut are coated with spices and a thick, date-and-maple-flavoured sauce and then dehydrated (or baked) until dry. The Pecan Date Cookies are also super simple but incredibly delicious and nutrient-dense.
Having made the granola myself, I can only agree! Both The HH and I loved it. And it’s really simple to make! I’m reprinting with permission here (with my own changes in square brackets).
Cinnamon Bun Granola from Tiny Treats ebook (reprinted with permission)
[Lisa and Nicole say:] If we ever open a vegan B&B, this will be on each breakfast-in-bed tray. We would keep the guestrooms full by serving it up differently each day–in a layered parfait glass with sliced apples and almond yogurt, or on top of our favorite banana soft serve, or in special tea cup with a substantial splash of coconut milk. The options are endless.
2 cups (215g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (95g) raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup (65g) raw walnuts, chopped [I used almonds]
1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (40g) raisins [I used goji berries]
1 tbsp (15mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5mL) sea salt
1/4 tsp (1.25mL) fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (120mL) pure maple syrup [I used coconut nectar and 20 drops stevia]
1/4 cup (50g) Medjool dates, pitted [I used prunes]
2 tbsp (30mL) melted coconut oil
2 tbsp (30mL) water
2 tsp (10mL) pure vanilla extra
1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, buckwheat, walnuts, shredded coconut, raisins, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
2. Using a blender, blend the maple syrup, dates, coconut oil, water and vanilla extract into a smooth, thick sauce.
3. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry ingredients are well coated.
4. Transfer the granola to a Teflex-lined dehydrator tray and spread into a thin (about 1/2 inch thick), even layer. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours at 115F.
4. Preheat the oven to 300F. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread into a thin, even layer. Bake for 25 minutes, gently stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even browning. Allow to cool completely before gently breaking into clusters. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
Makes about 6 cups of granola.
Suitable for [with the changes in square brackets]: ACD Stage 3 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, lower glycemic.
Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”
AND NOW, FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
To enter, please leave a comment letting me know which sweet treat YOU love and would love to see in a whole-foods, refined sugar-free cookbook.
I’m going to keep this one simple: to enter the giveaway, just click the “comment” option in the Rafflecopter box, below, THEN leave your comment in the comments section. That’s it! Giveaway ends Friday, November 2nd at midnight. I’ll choose a winner at random and the name will be announced below. If I don’t hear from the winner within 3 days, I’ll choose another winner.
If you’d like, you can also tweet the giveaway, mention it on Facebook, Pin this page, etc. Any and all mentions (which will ultimately help support the elephant sanctuary) would be welcome! 😀
GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs via email. (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)
Last Year at this Time: No-Bake Caramel Cookie Dough Truffle Balls (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
Two Years Ago: It’s My Birthday–Have a Cigar! (gluten free; ACD stage 3 and beyond)
Three Years Ago: Easy Breakfast “Sausage” Patties with Smoky Almond Gravy (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
Four Years Ago: Date Pasta (use gluten free pasta; ACD maintenance)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs
[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]
I love both Lisa and Nicole’s blogs. They have such great attitudes towards food and balance, not to mention their great recipes. I don’t know if non- UK people are familiar with Bakewell Tart? It’s a pastry case tart filled with an almond and jam filling. I used to adore it before vegan and health conscious days so would love to see an update. I know you’re up to the challenge Ricki!
Ha ha! I’ve heard of it but never tried it. .. on the list! 🙂
Holly Ellerton says
I love bakewell tarts! I even have a recipe if you’d like me to share it. I make it gluten free with homemade almond paste.
Holly Ellerton says
I love bakewell tarts. I make them all the time. I make it gluten free with homemade almond paste. Delicious!!! Let me know if you’d like the recipe.
Chef Amber Shea says
I love both these girls and the recipes they create. I’d love to see their take on baklava!
janet @ the taste space says
I have been fortunate to eat these girls’ treats all summer long. I’d love to see a raw Turkish delight. 🙂
Wow, what an interesting idea. . . ! 🙂
I’d absolutely fall head over heels for a Pierre Herme’s Ispahan macaroon! Thanks for the giveaway!
As a kid I loved peanut rolls. I imagine they’d be pretty easy for someone dessert-savvy to veganize. That would be delicious!
Would you believe I don’t even know what those are? 😉
Gabby @ the veggie nook says
Any sweet treat made with good ingredients would be fine with me! Maybe a nanaimo bar!!
Fawn MacMichael says
Oh gosh, I have many I would love to see made over into a healthy sweet treat. I LOVE raw treats, and would love to see some baked goods make raw…baklava for sure, or buckeyes, or pumpkin rolls.
Ricki, thank you for sharing this interview with all of us! I picked up a copy of ‘Tiny Treats’ a few weeks ago and was BLOWN AWAY. Such inspiring creativity, and fabulous photography. It was lovely to read more about both of these beautiful ladies… and if they do open up a B&B, I’ll be there! 🙂
and… whoops, just to mention I’m not entering the giveaway – just wanted to comment!!
Oh so many amazing ideas already posted. But a pumpkin rolls sounds mighty good! Layered squares, like nanaimo bars would be amazing too.
Debbie E. says
Oh I like the name Tiny Treats! I sometimes have just enough time to “eat in bites” (busy nurse) and would love a raw recipe for high protein “bites” or tiny bars for quick energy (regular protein bars are way too much–bite-sized needed). Probably pretty easy I would imagine–no refrigeration needed though. Thanks!
Thanks for sharing the interview and recipe. I love Lisa and Nicole’s superwonderfilled websites! So happy they are as enamored with elephants as I am. 🙂
Could they possibly transmograwfy cannoli please? I’d be eternally grateful!
Oh, I’ve just seen someone mentioned baklavas, and I thought “yes! this!”. The thing is that I could easily make vegan ones myself, but since I’ve had to go gluten free a few months ago, a traditional baklava made vegan is no longer an option, and I haven’t yet figured what I’d use instead of the phyllo pastry sheets. Hopefully, inspiration will hit me soon, or someone else will have an idea…
You do such interesting interviews, Ricki, I always enjoy reading them.
Thanks so much, Andrea! And good luck winning the ebook–it is fabulous. 🙂
I used to be a massive fan of chocolate coated oreos when I was a kid…until a couple of years ago when I realised they didn’t have much love for me at all! A gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free version of these would be amazing :’D …and would probably lead me into making a healthier version of cookies n’ cream ice cream…
Wow, great interview 🙂 I would love to see a makeover for a Neenish Tart… they remind me of my chilhood (they are always my Dad’s favourite!)
A gluten-free vegan snicker doodle or peanut butter cookie.
I would Love to win this cookbook! Paws crossed!
I’m so proud to see Lisa’s accomplishments – she’s such a sweetheart and great cook!
As for a yummy treat re-do, I haven’t an eclair in years. It would make my belly so happy to have a vegan, GF version 🙂
I don’t like to admit it, but I am a fan of really sweet stuff. Like Snickers Bars or Magic Bars. Sigh. I also would LOVE to have a caramel recipe that is good.
I love banana muffins or banana bread.
I would love to have this book. If I don’t win I will certainly order it. I would love to see a gluten free (and not quinoa), soy free, refined sugar free version of a chocolate mud cake. And I would cut it into little pieces to make it a small treat!!
I would love any pumpkin-y dessert! I am new to plant-based eating but I am amazed at how many delicious things can be made in such a healthy way!
I Have been trying for years to make a good apple crisp recipe without oat meal, gluten, dairy, or refined sugar- very tough… Maybe you have ideas.
My problem is trying to make something that looks and taste like the fully loaded version that used to win me acclaim “Noone makes Tammy’s Apple Crisp like Tammy” I love those comments.
Tammy, I have one just like that on this blog! Here you go–click here. 😀
Doris Romano says
Thank you for a great interview, Ricki! I am a cookie monster at heart…and only when there’s mylk to dunk that homemade whole-food creation in 🙂
I love the idea of this book! I can’t wait to try the granola. I make granola every week to take in my lunch and am always looking for new low-sugar options.
I would like to see a low-sugar but really chocolatey two-bite brownie recipe that doesn’t have black beans or tofu.
Hallie @ Daily Bites says
Raw granola recipes are so fun! I have *got* to get a dehydrator one of these days… 🙂
Hmm, a good sugar-free ice cream would be awesome. I’ve tried several, but they always taste a little too sugar-free unless you use dates or banana. It would be nice to have some that doesn’t taste like dates or banana 🙂
The granola looks awesome!!!
I would love to win this cookbook because I visit their blogs every day – their recipes are so inventive!
I would love to see some sort of chocolate peanut butter pie! Or, teddy grahams cinnamon flavor!
I would love a healthy brownie recipe! I know there are raw brownies chock full of nuts, but I can’t do that many nuts…something not necessarily raw and not nut based would be what I would want!
Thanks Courtney! Can you eat these?
Wild Child says
I can’t wait to try this granola! I’m GF and DF, and I like Alethea’s suggestion for Oreos, but I wouldn’t turn down any of the recipes. I’m a fairly new blog follower, and I am so glad I found you! The new cookbook looks great, and I’ve already opened a new tab with their blog.
Thanks for sharing this interview & ACD renditioned recipe, Ricki. I have been following your blog for a couple weeks now and it’s incredibly encouraging! Thank you. Oh, yes I would love to see a whole food version of pumpkin spice cupcakes and faux cream cheese frosting.
Elizabeth Handler says
I’d love to see a croissant .
I would love this adorable book! And as we discussed, I’d love to see Butter Tarts 🙂
A healthy cupcake would be awesome, but with the fluffy frosting (not just cashew-based).
What a wonderful idea I LOVE sweets but always think portions are to large all I really want is a BITE. I wold love to see Lemon Bars, Key Lime Pie, or almost anything that combines the sweet and tart flavors 🙂
I would love to see a good cut-out cookie recipe for the holidays! Thank you 🙂
I would love to have an easy healthy fluffy white frosting recipe. I have a number of easy chocolate frostings using avocados but sometimes I would like a white frosting.
I would love to have a really great chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for birthdays around here. Maybe a healthy ice cream to go along with it.
Thanks for the opportunity to win the giveaway!
I have seen this book mentioned on another book recently, and it definitely has my attention. I wouldn’t mind checking it out!
Kim Dias says
My absolute favourite dessert pre-vegan was strawberry lemon cheesecake with a cinnamon graham crust – I can still make a dee-lish vegan version, but I wouldn’t call it a “whole food”. Are you up for the challenge?
Oh, yes, Kim–you know I am! 🙂
Maria @ Little Miss Cornucopia says
I’d love to see a version of Scottish Shortbread. It’s one of the very first things I ever learned to make on my own – straight from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.
Great giveaway by the way. These tiny treats would look perfect in the hands of my tiny little “Taste Tester”, a little 7 year old who stole my heart 😀
Molten Lava Cake is one treat I miss that I haven’t found a good vegan recipe for yet!
I would love to see a healthy cinnamon roll. I used to adore those packaged ones in the biscuit tin. I haven’t had one in years.
I already own this e-book and I love it! I admit I haven’t tried any recipes yet but I’m sure it will be used this holiday season for some sweet treats 🙂 The photography and ingredients are both calling my name. Great interview too, it reminded me of some of the relationships I have with my good friends who love to cook together!
Reading the posts above made my mouth water. I am currently on a Candida diet and dream of the day I can use dates, agave, or maple syrup again. When I am well, I would love to make a healthy version of coconut cream pie that is not made with tofu and vanilla pudding without tofu. I haven’t found a non dairy substitute that tastes creamy/ milky that does not contain tofu/ soy. Thank you for hosting this giveaway and Blessings to you. P.S. I am glad I discovered the both of you and look forward to following your blog.
Adrienne, are you okay with coconut milk? It’s my go-to creamy dairy replacement, without tofu! 🙂
I would love to see animal crackers. Even chocolate animal crackers. My problem is that I can’t eat very many nuts and I have a problem with grains and am constantly battling candida. Hopefully someone could spark an idea to make these. It would be awesome to see these raw!
Yum! I would love to see how they could whip up a sugar-free, raw peach cobbler! I love it but there is SO MUCH SUGAR (and lard..he he..that should be taken out too 🙂
Terri Cole says
The classic butter & egg filled lemon bars definitely need a healthy, vegan makeover!
Kimberly Storey says
I have celiac disease and crohns disease and anything I can eat is a joy to me! I would love to win!
thanks for the giveaway!
The vanilla Girl Guide cookie.
Thank you for the giveaway!
I would love to see a makeover for jello.
i would love to see bear paws for my gluten free/soy free kids!
A healthy doughnut that really tastes like a doughnut 😉
I know it’s been done, but really, I love cupcakes!
Anything with chocolate and peanut butter!
Laura West Kong says
Luckily most all of the treats I crave are easy to do whole foods, gluten/grain-free. Except baklava. The one gaping empty hole in my foodie soul.
sounds like a great book – have put my email into the rafflecopter! I love the recipes on dash of compassion – and I have been enjoying lisa’s recipe during mofo so I love hearing more about both the authors – and love your photos of the granola
Just also dropped in because have found that I must have deleted one of your comments as I have it on email but can’t find it in the post – have had such bad spam lately that haven’t been able to trawl all the comments to check for ones going in there inadvertently – but am glad you enjoyed the burgers
I would love to see anything with chocolate! I have been looking into massive diet changes since my Multiple Sclerosis has been out of control and I hear that going Gluten free/Vegan will greatly improve my symptoms. However, I do have a son that is allergic to tree nuts and everytime I go to find a recipe it calls for almond flour. It has been nerve racking trying to find great recipes the whole family can enjoy together!
Thanks for such an amazing giveaway!
Kimberly…would it be ok for me to email you? I have a friend who has MS and has had fabulous results…may I share? If so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly, good luck with the new diet. There are lots of GF and vegan recipes without nuts, though (just check my GF Recipe Index!) 😀
My ultimate sweet treat is these incredibly decadent lemon bars with some sort of crunchy sweet coconut topping and a thick creamy cheesecakey lemon filling and a sweet shortbread sort of crust – it’s a secret recipe from a local coffee chain “world famous lemon bars” 🙂
Sharon @ Bit of the Good Stuff says
These two ladies sound AMAZING and I can’t wait to check out their blogs 🙂 Their ebook sounds fantastic too and I love the fact that they are donating a share of the profits to the Elephant Nature Park. Such a worthwhile cause 🙂
If I had to choose one dessert that I’d like to see in a whole food, refined sugar free recipe book, it would have to be baklava. I adore baklava but haven’t worked out yet how to make it whole food, vegan and sugar free. Maybe you could help me there 😉
Thanks so much Ricki for such a wonderful post 🙂
Ohh That Granola looks delish. Cant wait to try some of the recipies. My favorite sweet treats involve pumpkin and cinnamon and if you make it in a miniature pan even Better.
thanks for the granola recipe. I will be trying that very soon. I would love to see anything chocolate and peanut butter, cookies, cupcakes anything.
I want the perfect, healthy cookie. And Brownie. And cake. And cobbler. And pie.
I would love to see a healthier verdion of the Dutch December favourite “gevulde speculaas”, which is two layers of speculoos filled with sweet almond paste.
I looove coconut squares and muffins; but I recently had to go gluten free and I am trying to eat healthier while not feeling like I’m depriving myself. The cinnamon bun granola sounds heavenly; can’t wait to try it!!!!!