Giveaway & free Halloween recipe for a decadent treat from YumUniverse!

My favourite day of the year is nearly upon us: Halloween! There are few things I love more than dressing up, decorating and getting campy. The fall season also brings out my inner housewife to the point where I can’t fight the compulsion to nest, cook and explore hearty, homey recipes. YumUniverse has long been a source for ideas for me, so I’m pretty excited that this particular October marks the release of YU mastermind Heather Crosby’s wonderful first bo0k (see how you can win a copy below)!

The vegan community is very lucky to have many inspired, enthusiastic and creative members, many of whom gladly share recipes, tips and advice. Heather is absolutely a leader among them, having long offered both a comprehensive directory of freebies, along with a members only section.

It’s only logical that the next step be a book, where her enthusiasm, dedication and culinary vision can live on in sleek hard copy format, courtesy of Ben Bella Books, that one can reference easily while cooking or dreaming up the evening’s menu. Can you imagine how much trial and error, crafty substitutions and general ingenuity goes into re-imagining traditional, beloved dishes into balanced, nutritionally sound and cruelty-free incarnations? There are more than a few ingredients I’d either never cooked with before at all when I first started exploring YumUniverse, or that I’d never dreamt of using in that fashion before.

What I also appreciate about Heather is that she isn’t an absolutist. Her goal isn’t to shame people into converting to a purely plant-based lifestyle, but rather to encourage, inspire and engage meaningful change. A plant-based lifestyle need not leave you deprived, wanting or left out — there’s a lot of goodness to be had!

Here’s a recipe for rich, decadent brownies that challenges the average bear’s notion of where certain foods and ingredients belong in our kitchens while delivering guilt-free indulgence. You can get your inner Caligula on with this one, kids, because it’s loaded with neatly disguised and powerful nutrition!


Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Brownies
12+ Servings

I do love to sneak unexpected, nutrient-rich ingredients into treats, and this gluten-free recipe is a perfect example. Black beans, sweet potato, and dark chocolate combine into bona fide fudge-like decadence. You can use canned beans for this recipe, but I recommend starting with dry beans (soaked and then cooked by you) to reduce aluminum intake, boost flavor, and optimize digestion and nutritional benefits.



1 ½ cups almond flour
1⁄3 cup Sucanat
½ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

2⁄3 cup sweet potato, diced and steamed
2 ¼ cups black beans, cooked (1 cup dry)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 3 – oz. gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil*
¾ cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9″ x 13″ or 9″ x 9″ baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Sift or whisk together all dry ingredients in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place all wet ingredients into the food processor and pulse until super-smooth.
  4. Fold together wet and dry ingredients and transfer to the parchment-lined baking dish.
  5. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in baking pan before serving.

—For a triple dark chocolate brownie, top brownies with shaved chocolate after baking.

—Fold some toasted almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts into your batter.

—Fold ¼ cup cherries and ¼ cup toasted coconut into your batter before baking.

—Make ’em Mexican style. Fold 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg to the batter before baking.

Do yourself a favor and pick up Heather’s book here, and also stay in the loop with her for recipes, tips and inspiration online!


If you’re feeling lucky, we’re giving a copy away, courtesy of YumUniverse and BenBella Books! To win, simply follow @WeRAddicted and @YumUniverse and tweet:

“I’m #Addicted2YumUniverse & want to win Heather Crosby’s #vegan cookbook from @WeRAddicted, @yumuniverse  & @BenBellaBooks! #healthy #food”

We’ll announce the winner on Monday, November 3, 2014!
@YumUniverse Crosby
Instagram: @YumUniverse


Emy Stantcheva
Emy Stantcheva is a lifelong music junkie-turned-music biz dabbler, from music publicity and artist management to the not-for-profit sector. By day, she champions the indies at Canadian Independent Music Association and MusicOntario, and moonlights as Lifestyle Editor for Addicted and rep for southern rock n’ roller Basia Lyjak. A healthy living fan (yes, vodka is a plant), vegetarian of 20 years and lover of cooking, wine and craft beer, she’s always on the lookout for tasty and cruelty-free wares and fares. She’s also known for her hoarding of cats (she has four) and leggings (300 pairs and counting). With her feisty way with words, Stantcheva brings a fresh and intelligent perspective to Addicted’s Lifestyle section.
Emy Stantcheva