This Cafe-Gratitude inspired recipe is blowing my mind! In anticipation of my parents' visit this weekend, I wanted to make a simple and healthy treat, and this cashew-coconut-lemon cheesecake is perfect. No fuss, no hassle, no guilt! I'm not much of a baker, but this was super quick and easy, and actually there was zero baking involved. I'm so enjoying the first bite! I'm telling you... Vegan treats ARE this good.
Cashew Lemon Cheesecake
For the filling:
2.5 cups soaked cashews
1 cup almond milk
2 lemons (squeezed juice)
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
3 big strawberries (optional; or you can throw in any other fruit!)
3 tablespoons lecithin (an emulsifier; you can find soy lecithin granules in the bulk aisle which you dissolve with water, or find it bottled in liquid form in your bake aisle)
3 tablespoons coconut butter
For the crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cups pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
5 large dates, pitted
To make the crust, bring together all the ingredients in a food processor until it all sticks together. Stop, scrape and mix with spatula every now and then. Press crust onto bottom of a coconut butter-greased 9" pan.
To make the filling, blend all ingredients except lecithin and coconut butter until smooth. Then add in lecithin and c. butter, mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into pan with the prepared crust, and set in fridge for 1-2 hours until firm... Garnish with coconut flakes, lemon zest or strawberries!
Happy Weekend. Eat Cake!
Zucchinis are still aplenty, which means it's still summertime! (I love a good reminder.) Here's what I whipped up with zucchini, orange pepper, red onions, corn and wild rice- topped with arugula dressed in chimichurri sauce! A yummy dinner, and 100% carnivorous boyfriend-approved!
First, cook 1/2 cup wild rice with 1 cup water.
For the saute: In a skillet, drop in a tablespoon of olive oil and bring together 1 large zucchini chopped, along with 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, 1/2 red onion chopped, and 1 orange pepper chopped. Stir it all up until tender and cooked. Turn off heat, let cool. Once rice is cooked, throw the rice into the saute mixture. Stir until all is wedded.
For the Chimichurri sauce: In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons chopped basil, 1 tablespoon minced chives, 3 teaspoons dill, 1 minced up garlic, 1/2 a lemon squeezed, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix, mix, mix. Throw in 1 cup arugula and stir it around until the leaves are thoroughly drenched in sauce. Pour arugula-dressed mixture over the saute and stir until completely mixed well. Serve and enjoy!
This didn't turn out restaurant-style, but a combo of good flavors made this dish unique, fresh, healthy, perfect for summer, and totally sufficient for dinner.
What I used:
1 packet of rice sticks (they're gluten-free, a plus!)
1 cup mung beans
1 green onion, chopped
3/4 cup grated cucumber
1 handful cilantro leaves
1 handful of mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cashews or peanuts
For the dressing:
1 cup coconut milk
2-4 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on how much kick you want)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon non-gmo miso paste
1/2 a lemon, squeezed
-Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Boil the noodles; rinse, drain and transfer to a bowl. Pour dressing over, and top with sprouts, cilantro, green onions, cucumber, mint and nuts... That's it!
Well, a big reason I moved to California, at least, was to be near the beautiful coast and explore it as many ways as possible. This past wknd, we loaded up our Subaru with eager adventure seeking buds, and rode up to Tomales Point, the most northern tip of the Point Reyes Peninsula- to take a hike... The 9.5 mile Tomales Point Trail is ripe with wildlife viewing and floral diversity, and is also an enclosed reserve for the native Tule Elk, a subspecies of North American elk found only in California. For thousands of years vast numbers of Tule Elk thrived in the grasslands of central and coastal California; in the mid-1800s, following the gold rush, hunting and habitat destruction by settlers nearly drove them to extinction. Through conservation efforts, Tule Elk population has increased to about 4,000.
Some notable features of this experience: Tule Elk sightings all along the way made this hike super memorable... (PS, the male/bull elk have gorgeous antlers and protect large harems of ladies, or the cow elk).
Along with fabulous company...
...and ridiculously stunning and dramatic views of the coastal bluffs and lush grasslands...
Here are Ben and Brendan at the climactic end--- perched atop the northernmost tip of Point Reyes National Seashore, where the Pacific Ocean meets Bodega Bay!
A hop skip from San Francisco, the drive was painless, and once off highway 101, the ride through quaint towns and many dairy farms felt like a drive through small country roads, which made the experience sweeter. There's so much to explore within Point Reyes; I can't wait to go back for more!
Get yourself reacquainted with Olive oil! Yes, it's one of the most popular cooking oils, and at that, a great source of heart-friendly-monounsaturated fats (the good, healthy fat) but did you know that its uses extend beyond the kitchen? It's an incredible cleaning agent and a gentle, effective moisturizer for skin.
Here are my suggested top alternative uses for Olive Oil:
*Unsqueek door hinges! Forget the WD40. Olive oil works just fine... no mold, no lingering chemical smell either.
*Buff, shine, and polish a bunch of household items: rub oil with clean cloth to prevent tarnish or corrosion and/or add sparkle to your stainless steel products, rusty tools, stuck scissors, leather furniture, and shoes!
*Bathe, shower, scrub, shave, & moisturize! Add a few drops in your bath, or while showering, use it along with a scrubbing agent to exfoliate, and also shave your legs! Ditch the $$$ moisturizers and oil up the skin for an incredible softness and nutrient-rich alternative to creams and lotions. And while you're at it, rub into cuticles!
*Hair tonic: Control the frizzies! It's kind of better than your $20+ pomade; no build up either!
*Get your key or zipper unstuck... Keyholes get rusty and keys get stuck; so do zippers. Rub keys with oil using a cotton swab and place in rusty lock. For zippers, rub oil onto the teeth, and gently pull on tab.
*Remove makeup: Attention gals, guys and babies- whether it's every day or Halloween, massage oil onto face and rub off with damp cloth.
Remember, you don't need amazing, expensive, unfiltered, dark-green, extra-virgin Olive Oil for alternative uses other than cooking.
Happy Olive Oiling!
A real fav of mine of all time, 'Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps' are really that magical. This family company recently celebrated their 150th anniversary, and continue to deliver their multi-purpose, all in one, USDA certified organic, quality grade soaps made with fair-trade ingredients.
Their soaps are made of a combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, natural plant-derived Vitamin E, and citric acid to protect freshness. Available in bar or liquid form, it cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed. My favorite scent is peppermint, but the variety includes lavender, citrus, tea tree, almond, rose, and eucalyptus. All versions are biodegradable and vegetable-based. They are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) cylinder bottles and paper labels and best of all, they contain no synthetic foaming agents or fragrances, thickeners, whiteners, or preservatives!
Dr. Bronner's products are perfect for sensitive skin, camping and hiking trips, as hand soap, shampoo and body soap! Also available are lip balms, moisturizers, conditioners, and baby care.
This well-loved product was documented in a film which was released a few years ago, called "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox". This documentary delves into the history and incredible family legacy behind this socially-responsible company. Quite magical indeed... Check out the trailer!
The coconut is a vital source of food and well being, and its nutritional benefits have been recognized in many parts of the world for centuries. Coconuts and coconut oil have been a food staple of Asia, Africa, Central America, and the Pacific Islands for many years, comprising 30% to 60% of the local diet, yet the natives have normal cholesterol levels and no cardiovascular disease.
Yes. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA)- not a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) like many other fats. MCFAs are digested differently than LCFAs; they’re absorbed directly into the liver rather than into the bloodstream, so they’re used immediately as energy, not stored as fat.
Virgin coconut oil is a truly unrefined oil and its benefits are amazing:
*Has high Lauric acid content, (naturally found in human breast milk) which is antiviral and antimicrobial, and thus kills bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi in the body- thereby balancing the immune system. Lauric acid is also believed to ward off degenerative disorders.
*Supports healthy thyroid function by not inhibiting the body’s thyroid metabolism like other vegetable oils do. It also helps prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay, reduces hypoglycemic cravings, and may improve symptoms of digestive disorders.
*Does not raise blood cholesterol.*Is not just for cooking; it's great as a moisturizer for skin! Coconut oil has anti-aging properties that restore damaged skin and protect against toxic free-radicals.
Coconut oil has a fantastic flavor, so it’s easy to use in place of any fats currently used in just about any recipe, and a great substitute for butters and oils. Coconut oil is your best choice when utilizing high-heat cooking methods since it’s stable enough to resist heat-induced oxidation and damage. Not to mention it's great in smoothies!
Did you see my post on Coconut water and its many benefits? Coconut water is the real sports drink: full of electrolytes, minerals and vitamins.So. To recap: coconut is amazing. Drink the water, eat the meat (which also can be used to make milk and desserts), and use the oil to cook and moisturize your skin! If you buy the oil, make sure to buy it raw or the extra virgin kind. I like Nutiva, Spectrum, or Whole Food's 365 brand.
I had a hankering for pizza night last week, so I took to it and used the fig spread (see previous post) to make 2 pizzas: one version for the meat-loving boyfriend and the other veg option for me! The flavors meld so beautifully together, but the hardest part about this is the dough; getting it right is an art form. If you have good, easy tips on how to make a fine crust, please chime in!
Otherwise, here's what you'll need:
For the dough
2.5 cups Whole wheat flour
1/2 packet active yeast, or 1 teaspoon (optional- but if it doesn't rise, it's not going to be that awesome. Check out my spelt crust-beet sauce-tofu ricotta pizza I made without any yeast. It was healthy...)
1.5 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 4 tablespoons water (great egg sub.)
1 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water and let sit for 10 minutes until creamy. In a separate bowl, bring together all the ingredients, adding in the yeast. Stir, mix, mix, stir. Cover the bowl and let it sit for up to an hour to let it rise. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350. After an hour or so, split the dough in 2 equal portions and roll it out, knead, and flatten on a flour-sprinkled surface. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a bake sheet or pizza pan and lay down the dough. Bake it for 7 minutes or so...
Then take it out of the oven and top with these:
Goat cheese (crumbled, herbed, creamy, doesnt matter)
Arugula, dressed in olive oil and balsamic
Sliced figs (optional)
Lay down the fig spread like sauce, covering the pie. Then pile on the goat cheese. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Then, top it off with freshly dressed arugula. Since you have enough to make 2 pizzas, you could customize one for meat lovers like I did, and add on the prosciutto. In any case, figs + goat cheese = delight.
Love pizza night!
Say hello to this beautiful Fig Spread. It's so easy and delish, you'll squeal with glee.
What you'll need:
8 ounces chopped black mission figs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion finely sliced
1 cup water
1 tablespoon agave
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons leftover-dinner-party red wine (optional)
In a pot, bring onions and oil together, stirring until tender and carmelized. Add in figs, balsamic, and wine (if you're using it. Conveniently we had some leftover from the other night), stirring until the liquid reduces and figs are plump with juice. Then add in water and agave, stir until water reduces down. Take the mixture into your food processor and blend!
Scoop into a jar and serve on breakfast toast or... make a pizza!!! Tune in on Monday to see how my fig-spread pizza turned out!
Lovely weekend to you!
Introducing Refoveo Bags, designed by my dear friend Ximena Sarango! Fully lined with heavy duty canvas, these fashionably repurposed market bags are handmade by seamstresses in Peru, sweatshop-free. Check out her website to view the 4 different designs; comes in a bunch of great colors and sizes- perfect for the farmers market, shopping, or everyday toting! You can order them through Proxy Apparel, an online site that supports ethical fashion.