Thursday, May 9, 2013

Citrus Cashew Cheesecake


Today I am so excited to share this wonderful cheesecake recipe with you all! This was the first vegan, nut-based, dairy-free dessert that I ever attempted, so it is very near and dear to my heart. I also consider it to be my best creation. It probably even trumps most of my favorite pre allergy-free desserts.


Sometime last year my friend and I went to this healthy, little organic restaurant and for dessert we ordered a dairy-free cheesecake. When the server told us it was made of cashews, we figured he meant the crust was made of cashews and the filling made of tofu. No, no. He assured us that the filling was made of cashews. This was our first introduction to cashew cream.


I was blown away.

When I got home I searched the internet for anything resembling what we ate, and although I didn't find a recipe for our particular kind of cheesecake, I discovered that this whole cashew thing was pretty big among vegans and the like.

Determined to recreate what we had tasted at the restaurant, I combined and tweaked a few cheesecake recipes until I came up with this.

If you'd like to view some of the recipes that inspired mine, they can be found herehere and here.


I hope you enjoy this spring treat!


Ingredients:


Crust:

2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup whole dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/8 tsp sea salt
zest from lime, lemon and orange

Filling:

3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-7 hours
1/2 cup raw honey
2/3 cup coconut oil, in liquid state
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
juice from one orange (approximately 1/2 cup)
2 tsp zest from orange, lemon and lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:

For the filling, blend the cashews in a food processor for about 15 seconds. Then add the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until completely smooth. I always blend a little longer than I think it needs. Pour into a bowl and set aside in refrigerator.

For the crust, blend the almonds, cranberries, coconut and salt in the food processor. Add in the dates in small amounts until the crust begins to hold together. Press into the bottom of the springform pan. Then pour in filling. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, let thaw for 30 minutes.






Sunday, May 5, 2013

Berry Spinach Smoothie

(makes 2 large servings)


As the days are finally becoming warm and sunny, I am getting so excited to start making smoothies again. I love all kinds of smoothies, and this recipe is one of my favorite, go-too options during the summery months.

Please don't let the spinach turn you off! I've had "green monster" smoothies before that I really dislike. I made one once that I could hardly swallow because I felt like I was drinking liquid spinach. Blech.

I like healthy food but I expect it to taste good!

So in order to get a little more greens in my diet and still enjoy my food, this recipe was conceived. I found the problem with most spinach smoothies I attempted was that I could taste way too much spinach. But in this one, the berries hide its flavor. You truthfully cannot tell it's there.

So even though it's a little scary, give this recipe a try! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Ingredients:

1/2-1 cup fresh spinach
1 banana, frozen
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen berries of your choice (My favorite is blueberries and raspberries)
1/3-1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (use according to desired consistency)
1 lemon, freshly squeezed



Directions:

Place spinach in food processor and blend for a few seconds. Add the banana and berries and blend until they become small to medium chunks. Add lemon juice and coconut milk and blend until you reach the desired consistency. I like my smoothies really thick, so I only put in 1/3 cup of coconut milk. Top with a few berries and drink to summer!