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All too often, I start down the well-intentioned path of a healthy recipe only to find myself missing one or two of the more minor ingredients. I’m left scrambling, with the help of Google, to find a substitute I might have on hand — and praying the recipe still works out.

I will be foiled no more! Heather Crosby of Yum Universe has a new cookbook out, Pantry to Plate: Improvise Meals You Love — from What You Have!,  which is made up of easily adaptable recipe templates. Crosby lays out the base ingredients that are necessary for any given category, and then walks you through a myriad of options to successfully complete the recipe.

Below I’m sharing my recipes, based off the Breakfast Cookie template and the Dairy-Free Milk template. Gluten-free, vegan milk, and cookies anyone? Enjoy! 

cookies-milkPhoto credit: Laura Fogelberg

Pistachio Pecan Breakfast Cookie


      • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, uncooked
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios and pecans (any ratio to make up the half cup)
      • 1 to 2 tbs. chia seeds
      • 1 tbs. coconut sugar (optional)
      • 1 tsp. psyllium husk
      • 1/3 cup dairy-free milk, gently warmed
      • 2 tbs. coconut oil, gently warmed to liquid
      • 1 tsp. almond extract
      • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
      • 2 tbs. brown rice syrup
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients until well mixed. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except for the shredded coconut, and mix well. Fold the wet into the dry ingredients, and then stir in the shredded coconut.

Scoop the mixture into 2-inch dollops, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press flat or keep in rounded shapes.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges brown. Remove from oven, and cool on a baking sheet. Store in a container in the fridge for two weeks.

Almond Oat Milk (With Maca Boost)


      • A pinch of sea salt
      • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, uncooked
      • 4 cups of water
      • 1/2 to 1 tsp. almond extract
      • 2 tsp. honey
      • 2 tsp. maca powder (optional)

Add the first five ingredients into a high-powered blender. Blend until very smooth, about one to two minutes.

Strain the mixture into a glass jar or bowl using a nut-milk bag or cheesecloth (a fine mesh sieve could work, too). If adding the maca boost, transfer the milk back to the blender and blend until smooth.

Store milk in glass container, and refrigerate. Use within five days.

For more of Heather Crosby’s plant-based, gluten-free recipes, check out “Yum Universe” in the Experience Life archives.

Photo credit for lead image: Marta Sasinowska

Laura (Fogelberg) Lineburg

Laura Lineburg is Experience Life’s associate director of marketing and media strategy.

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