Raw Lemon Vanilla Coconut Cheesecake

We always like to try out raw, vegan, gluten free recipes. It's pretty amazing how plants can replace sugar, cream, and butter. When it was our dear friend's birthday last month, we decided to try our hand at a raw birthday cake that was completely plant-based, gluten-free, vegan, and processed sugar-free. This cheesecake was not only delicious but also a big hit at the celebration. I altered this recipe to decrease the sugar and swap out a couple of ingredients. 

Ingredients

Crust

  • 12 pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tbls water (to help bind everything together)
  • 2 cups of your choice of nuts (I did a combo of cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts)
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 2 cups raw soaked cashews
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 cups coconut oil liquified
  • 2 tbls maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: First thing's first. Soak those cashews in water for 2 hours or longer. You want them to be soft and plump when you are ready to use them. Grease a pan with coconut oil. I used a 9' spring form pan. Springforms make raw desserts much easier and I can't recommend them enough. For the crust: add the pitted medjool dates, nuts, and salt to a food processor and pulse until mixture is chopped, then add the water and pulse a few more times until the mixture takes on a sticky consistency. Spread the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan and place into the freezer. For the filling: drain the cashews, then add all the contents to a high speed blender or food processor and blend away until everything is smooth and creamy. We used our Vitamix and it mixed everything like a dream. Once the filling is smooth, pour filling into your pan on top of crust and spread out filling evenly. Garnish with lemon zest, then place cheesecake into your freezer for 1-2 hours to set. Done. 

When you're ready to eat the cheesecake, take it out of your freezer and let thaw for 30 minutes or so. You can decide what temperature you prefer your raw cheesecake. Frozen, it will be harder, and as it thaws it gets softer and softer. I prefer mine to be about 30 minutes defrosted. This is such an easy dessert to make, the only drawback is the amount of time it takes with the soaking of the cashews and the freezing of the cake itself. The actual assembly is quite simple and the finished result is beautiful, delicious, and healthier. It's also a nice treat to serve with berries. 

Sweet Potato Kale Salad

We spent the weekend in San Francisco this weekend and had the most unique, delicious kale salad. I thought I would try to recreate that salad but in a simpler recipe. Below is my take on a sweet potato kale salad with olive tapenade. This salad is vegan, gluten free, and so delicious. 

Ingredients: (2 servings)

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Olive tapenade
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 6 tbsp Hemp hearts

Dressing:

  • 2:1 ratio of lemon juice:olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 450F and then bake sweet potato wrapped in foil for approx 1 hr, or until soft. While potato is baking wash and chop kale, pour dressing over kale and add generous portions of salt and pepper. Dressing the kale while potato is baking allows kale to marinate and soften a little. After sweet potato is finished, let cool, cube and add to salad. Add cranberries, pepitas, hemp hearts, and olive tapenade. Enjoy!! 

This salad is a wonderful balance of flavors and textures with the salty tangy tastes from the tapenade mixed with the sweet from the cranberries, the crunchiness from the pepitas, and the texture from the hemp hearts. Hemp also adds a nice dose of protein (11g/salad from hemp hearts alone).We only used about half of the sweet potato and plan to use the remainder for another salad later this week. 

Hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did.

Tulum Inspired Smoothie Bowls

Typically on vacations, you splurge when it comes to meals, forget about your diet, and just eat whatever you want. Surprisingly, on our recent Tulum vacation, we ate really clean majority of the time. One reason we were drawn to Tulum was the yoga, holistic vibe going on there. The vegan, raw, holistic food scene there is unreal, and we returned home inspired, with ideas for new recipes. Smoothie bowls were something we ate a lot of in Tulum. They were surprisingly filling, and so refreshing in warm weather. Below is our version of the Tulum's smoothie bowls:

Ingredients: (2 servings)

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 handful frozen mangoes
  • 1/4-1/2 almond milk dependent on consistency
  • 1 in of ginger root peeled
  • 1 packet of frozen acai (found in frozen section at your grocery store)

Toppings:

  • Sliced fruit (bananas, papaya, strawberries)
  • Nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, gogi berries

Directions:

Combine all bowl ingredients in a blender and blend away. We use and love a Vitamix. For vegans and raw foodists, a Vitamix can be a game changer. Other high-powered blenders would do the job as well : ) You want the consistency to be thicker than a typical smoothie you drink. Pour smoothie into bowls and top with fruits, nuts and seeds. We topped our bowls with mangoes, strawberries, banana, hazelnuts, almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chia seeds, and gogi berries. I forgot to add the shredded coconut, but normally would top my bowls with coconut as well. That's it. Enjoy, preferably with an extra large spoon. Buying frozen fruit, and nuts at Costco is a great way to keep the cost of smoothie bowls down. 

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Vanilla Oatmeal Muffins

There was one day last week where I just really wanted some muffins. I was also feeling adventurous, so I decided to pull out a bunch of stuff from our cupboards and fridge, to make my own recipe. These muffins are pretty good, even better the next day for some reason. Give them a try when you want baked goods without refined sugars or gluten. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4C maple syrup
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4C plain yogurt
  • 1/2C blueberries (I used frozen)

Β 

  • 1C oats
  • 1/4C coconut flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together bananas, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, lemon juice, yogurt, and blueberries. In a separate bowl mix oats, coconut flour, pinch of salt, protein powder, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and sprinkle top with a few dry oats. Bake 25-30 minutes. Muffins should be golden brown around the edges and inserted toothpick should come out clean. 

I hope you all enjoy these muffins as much as we did. They are best warmed with some butter or coconut oil added. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie recipe is a family favorite. I baked these cookies with my mom always around the holidays, and they are too good not to share. I typically follow a gluten-free, no processed sugar diet but make an exception for these babies. They are fairly simple, straight forward, and hard to mess up IMO. Hope you all enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups quick or old fashion oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup butter softened
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup solidly packed of pumpkin puree (from can)
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips or raisins (I always opt for the chocolate option)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In separate bowl combine butter and sugars beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients and pumpkin alternately. Mix well after each addition until dry ingredients and pumpkin are completely added. Stir in chocolate chips. For cookies drop about 1/4 cup of dough onto greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets lined with silicone bake sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool on wire rack after removed from oven. Enjoy! 

Again, these cookies are awesome, and pretty difficult to screw up. I might try experimenting with making a gluten free non-refined sugar version in the future, but until then, I hope you try these cookies out because they are always a hit. 

Sunrise Smoothie

This is the green smoothie we make every morning for breakfast. Making smoothies for breakfast was a game-changer. Not only does it save me time in the morning, because I take my smoothie to go and drink it en route to work, or during my morning meeting, but I've also noticed just feeling better, lighter, and having more energy since converting to this routine. We've tweaked the recipe a couple of times to decrease the amount of fat and perfecting our morning smoothie will always be something we strive for. With it being the day after Thanksgiving and all, I thought it a perfect time to share our current recipe to help with your post-turkey detoxing : ) 

This recipe makes approx 2 smoothies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 medium apples
  • approx 1 inch of ginger root peeled 
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1.5-2 cups of coconut water (dependent on preferred consistency)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • (optional) 2 tbls coconut oil (we have omitted this, but if you need more fats, you can add this in)

Directions:

In a blender (we use a Vitamix and it's awesome) just blend away and enjoy. The quality of your ginger root really makes a difference in determining how intense it will taste. We have purchased really fresh ginger root and it ended up tasting too strong so just use with caution. The ginger really cuts the bitterness of the kale though, so it is an important ingredient. Hope you love this green smoothie as much as we do.

simple pleasure of the week: freshly baked bread

Though my husband and I lead a gluten free lifestyle, we make exceptions every so often for freshly baked bread. As a nice little treat every now and then, the husband bakes a loaf of naturally fermented sourdough and then we indulge until the loaf has been devoured. Let's be honest, it rarely survives longer than a day in our household. We are serious about our bread. Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread, the satisfying crunch of the outside, contrasted with the warm, doughy soft center as you bite down? While it is extra special to bake bread yourself, or to have a lovely bohemian husband who bakes bread on occasion. It's not necessary. There are plenty of great bakeries from which you can obtain this simple pleasure. Smother it with jam, spread it with butter, or drizzle it with honey. It doesn't matter how you like it, just that you enjoy it when you do indulge. Now go forth and conquer a loaf ; )

Happy weekend!

Grain-Free/Gluten-Free Vegan Flatbread

Hey you guys, I thought I'd share this flatbread recipe we just discovered. Unfortunately, I can't take any credit for the recipe, but it is super quick and easy to whip up. This flatbread would be an awesome accompaniment to any dips, salad, or soup. One thing I've really missed since going gluten free is having some nice bread to dip in my soups. This recipe is a game-changer. In the photos, we just served it alongside our cheesy cashew cream sauce. This sauce recipe will be a future post, but it's also delish. 

This flatbread recipe was found on Sophie Uliano's blog. Get the recipe here. Note, we didn't have any truffle salt and our flatbread was still really good.  Instead, we just used Himalayan sea salt. We also omitted the drizzle of olive oil on top since we were using the bread for dipping. Enjoy! 

simple pleasure of the week: frozen grapes

I would write this up as a recipe for a Wednesday post but it's a little too simple for that. Wash grapes and freeze...yeah, that easy. It tastes like sorbet. Like a real dessert. My mom would "make" these for me as a kid and I continue to thoroughly enjoy this snack or dessert as the years pass. One of my favorite foods in the summertime when the days are warm and want something healthy and cold to nibble on. So refreshing and satisfying.  

amazingly simple gluten-free pancakes

You'll never guess these pancakes are gluten free. This is an update on our protein packed pancakes recipe. Our friend, Deb, made her version of love+yoga pancakes one morning during the Wanderlust festival, and they were even better than our old recipe thanks to one secret ingredient. Deb added vanilla protein powder to her pancake recipe. Genius! Not only does this addition help everything bind together (an important factor in gluten free recipes), but it also gives the pancakes a wonderful flavor. After the festival, we started playing around in our kitchen, splitting the batter and adding some of this and some of that until we found the new love+yoga pancakes. This recipe is super simple, gluten free, super protein packed, and definitely low carb. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (we use this powder)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat (yup it's gluten free, and quite healthy, read about it here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A few sprinkles of cinnamon
  • Oil for griddle/pan (we use coconut oil)

Instructions:

  • Preheat griddle or pan over low-med heat
  • Mash bananas
  • Add eggs and scramble/mix with banana simultaneously 
  • Add protein powder, buckwheat, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and incorporate
  • Spread oil over pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle/pan 
  • Heat pancakes on both sides until lightly browned
  • Remove from heat and top with all the fixings (our favs are berries, syrup, and nut butter)