Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mini Raw Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Cheesecakes


I saw some pumpkin spice yogurt at the store recently, and I decided that I had to try making my own vegan version with coconut.  It sounded so good!  I love coconut yogurt, and I imagined the pumpkin spice would be a wonderful addition, so it had to happen. It turned out so good, and you could not tell it was vegan.  I used my usual coconut yogurt base with probiotics, and added in all of my essential pumpkin spices along with pumpkin puree and a little sweetener and it was perfect.  Especially when topped off with raw pumpkin spice granola! If you would like this yogurt recipe, I have included it at the end of this post!  


That yogurt was so good, that I was inspired to make more of it and make it into mini yogurt cheesecakes.  I fell in love with yogurt cheesecakes this summer when I was big into making lots of probiotic rich coconut yogurt.  They taste like they contain dairy, and very rich when in fact they are vegan and lighter than you think.  So, anyways, I thought that the pumpkin spice yogurt would make wonderful cake.


Nothing fancy shmancy here, just simple little yogurt cakes that taste like heaven.  Yes, the yogurt needs to sit overnight to culture, but that is the most time consuming part of it.  All you need to do is buzz all of the filling ingredients together and pour them over the simple crust (which doesn't take long to make either) and if you like, you can leave them bare, but for mine, I added a spiced pepita topping that also makes a good snack.


No swirling or cake decorating skills needed here (I am sure this will make some of you very happy)!  These are so good!  The recipe makes two, because I like to share with my boyfriend, but if you would like to make four, or one big one, you can double it.  Also, since I don't discriminate here, and I know not all of you are strictly raw, it is perfectly fine to use canned pumpkin in this recipe for a vegan but not raw version (which is equally delicious).


Mini Raw Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Cheesecakes
Makes 2

Spiced pumpkin seeds:
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp chipotle powder

Yogurt:
2 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin puree**

Crust:
2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

Filling:
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
a pinch sea salt
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2/3 cup raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid

To make the seeds, combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss to coat.  Spread out on a lined dehydrator tray, and dehydrate until dry, about 12 hours.  

To make the yogurt, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth, and pour into a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place overnight until tangy. 
Lightly coat two 4 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and cacao powder and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pans, and set aside.
To make the filling, combine the yogurt, and all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Pour the filling over the crusts and smooth the top.  Place in the freezer for about 4 hours to firm up. 
Once the cakes are done, garnish with the seeds.  Serve!  Store extra cake in the fridge.

Note: You can double the recipe, and make one big cake if you like, just use a 6 inch round spring form pan. 

*You can use 2 cups soaked raw cashews if you do not have access to young coconut meat, and you do not mind this not being nut free.
**you may use canned if you do not mind this not being raw


Raw Pumpkin Spice Coconut Yogurt
Makes about 3 cups

2 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin puree**
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
a pinch sea salt
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener (or maple syrup works too)***
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract

To make the yogurt, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth, and pour into a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place overnight until tangy. 

*You can use 2 cups soaked raw cashews if you do not have access to young coconut meat, and you do not mind this not being nut free.
**you may use canned if you do not mind this not being raw
***If you would like it sweeter, feel free to add more


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Candy!


Since it is almost Halloween, I decided that a little bit of Halloween candy food porn was in order.  So, I have compiled photos of all of the candy I consider Halloween worthy on my blog.  As you can see, it all involves chocolate because in my opinion that is the best kind! If you like what you see, you should take some time for yourself, have fun and make one of these recipes so you can enjoy them too!  After all, it is way more fun than simply buying candy, plus you know what goes into it.  Enjoy! 








Monday, October 27, 2014

3 Pumpkin Seed Recipes




















When I was little and we would carve pumpkins, my Mom would always save the seeds, and toast them for a delicious snack.  She would simply soak them in salt water, then roast them in the oven until crisp.  They were so simple and delicious!  I can not imagine throwing away pumpkin seeds, even as an adult. So now, when I carve pumpkins, I save them! Because why waste such deliciousness!  


Although, I can be a bit of a little kid, sometimes, I don't like to waste things, so pumpkin seeds are no exception!  Although, I have changed up the method of making them a bit, dehydrating them instead of roasting them in the oven since I eat mostly raw foods now.  I like the salt method still, but I also enjoy the recipe that I am sharing with you today for Spiced Pumpkin Seeds.  



They can actually be made with squash too, if you happen to be making something with that, and it they taste the same.  Today I am sharing my 3 favorite ways to prepare them, simple like my Mom used to, savory, and sweet.  They are all delicious and easy!  Be warned though, they are addictive.  Happy Pumpkin Carving!


Simple Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 3 cups

3 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

To clean the pumpkin seeds (if they have pumpkin gunk on them), soak them in water for 30 minutes, then rinse well, and dry with a towel.  Add to a bowl along with the other ingredients.  Toss, and spread out on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate for 24 hours, or until crispy.  Store in an airtight container.  

Savory Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 3 cups

3 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 garlic clove, minced

To clean the pumpkin seeds (if they have pumpkin gunk on them), soak them in water for 30 minutes, then rinse well, and dry with a towel.  Add to a bowl along with the other ingredients.  Toss, and spread out on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate for 24 hours, or until crispy.  Store in an airtight container.  

Sweet Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 3 cups

3 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder

To clean the pumpkin seeds (if they have pumpkin gunk on them), soak them in water for 30 minutes, then rinse well, and dry with a towel.  Add to a bowl along with the other ingredients.  Toss, and spread out on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate for 24 hours, or until crispy.  Store in an airtight container.  

*Note, if you are not raw, and you want to bake these in the oven, simply heat the oven to 300F, and toast them on a lined baking sheet for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.  


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Raw 3 Musketeers Bar Cheesecake


I made Raw 3 Musketeer Bars earlier this week, and they were freaking delicious!  If you do not know what they are (which is ok, since my boyfriend didn't either until he tried my raw version, and I know they are not available everywhere), they are a whipped chocolate filled bar dipped in more chocolate.  Kind of like a chocolate mousse candy bar.  When I was a kid, I would usually only get to enjoy them around Halloween when the candy was plentiful.


So, since the raw version of 3 Musketeer bars was so good, I decided to use some of them in a raw cheesecake too.  Why not?  They remind me of chocolate mousse and I love chocolate mousse in cakes...so it seemed perfectly logical to make a 3 Musketeer Cheesecake!  I was drooling just at the thought of it. So it had to be made.


 Once you make your Raw 3 Musketeer Bars, this is really pretty easy to make.  Just one filling, and no swirling required.  The filling is heavenly by the way.  Like liquid chocolate mousse before I poured it into the pan to set.  I gave the cake a crunchy chocolate crust, because why not make this ALL chocolate.  The filling also included chopped up 3 Musketeer Bars as well, and then I topped it off with a gooey chocolate fudge glaze.


Does that sound decadent enough for you?  It was chocolate heaven.  Like double 3 Musketeer Bars the cake then the pieces.  Trust me, you need this chocolate decadence in your life, we all need a treat sometimes!  If you make the bars for Halloween, then you will already have them on hand. Unless of course they are so good that you eat them all first, which could happen, but then you will have to make a second batch...which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.  



Raw 3 Musketeers Bar Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake


Crust:
1/2 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats, dried in the dehydrator
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped
3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

Filling:
4 cups young coconut meat*
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar (or your choice of raw liquid sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid) 


1 cup Raw 3 Musketeer Bars, cut into chunks

Topping:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1 Tbsp raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
pinch sea salt

2 Raw 3 Musketeer Bars, cut into quarters for topping 

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pan with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process buckwheat, coconut, flax seed, cacao powder and sea salt in a food processor until it is fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside. 
To make the filling, in a food processor combine coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt vanilla, coconut nectar, and cacao powder and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter, and process for a minute until blended. Remove the filling from the food processor and place in a bowl). 

To assemble the cheesecake, Scatter 1/2 of the 3 musketeer bar chunks over the crust, then pour half the cheesecake filling over.  Then scatter the other half of the 3 Musketeer bars over that.  Pour the rest of the filling over that.  Place in the freezer for about 4-6 hours or until set.
Whisk together the topping ingredients, (if it seems too runny add a little more cacao powder, if too thick a little more syrup).  Spread over the top of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides. Top with quartered 3 Musketeer bars.  Store in the fridge.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can substitute 4 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained for the coconut and filtered water for the coconut water.





Saturday, October 25, 2014

Golden Apple Smoothie Bowl


I have been enjoying apples lately...tis the season!  Especially the local honey crisps, they are so tasty!  I have been eating them just as is mostly, but I love them in desserts, savory items and smoothies too.  I made this smoothie last weekend, and it was so good I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  I call it the golden apple smoothie bowl because of the lovely golden color it has.  


What makes it golden?  Turmeric!  I added in a bit of turmeric and ginger along with the other spices for their anti-inflammatory properties.  This tasted like apple pie in smoothie form, and I topped it off with more dried apples, walnuts, golden raisins and chia and hemp seeds for healthy omega 3s.  It was wonderful. Perfect for refueling after my workout! I don't think I will ever tire of smoothie bowls, the possibilities are endless!


Golden Apple Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1

Smoothie:
2 large sweet apples, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen bananas, cut into pieces (about 2 bananas)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small chunk fresh ginger
1 scoop raw vanilla protein powder (I used Sunwarrior Blend)
1/4-1/2 cup raw hemp milk or your choice raw milk (depending on how liquidy you like it, I like mine thick so I add less)
stevia to taste (optional, or your choice liquid raw sweetener)

Toppings (feel free to be creative and add your own):
dried apples
chia seeds
shelled raw hemp seeds
large flake coconut
raw walnut pieces
golden raisins

For the smoothie, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades.  Pour into a bowl, top with toppings.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Raw Pumpkin Spice Coconut Macaroons


One of my readers suggested a while back when I posted an Raw Apple Cinnamon Macaroon  recipe that I make some pumpkin spice ones.  I loved the idea, and I finally got around to making them last week!  I love coconut macaroons, as does my Mom, so I know if I make some I will be able to share them with her because they are one of her favorites. If I haven't made them in a while, she often asks for them in fact.  For the pumpkin spice macaroons, I made my classic coconut macaroon recipe with the addition of raw pumpkin, and my favorite pumpkin pie spices which includes ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.




I thought I would make them appear like little pumpkins as well, sticking a clove in the top as a stem.  They had to be dehydrated because the pumpkin was moist, which was a bummer because I wanted to try one right away...but the leftover bits of macaroon dough were amazing so it was ok.  Once they were firmed up in the dehydrator, I decided that they needed to be dipped in chocolate as well, because that is how I like my macaroons.  They were little bites of deliciousness, like pumpkin pie and coconut macaroons had a baby!




Raw Pumpkin Spice Macaroons
Makes 12

Macaroons:
3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 large shredded raw pumpkin*
2 tsp cinnamon
small chunk fresh ginger (about 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut

12 cloves

Raw Chocolate:
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw coconut oil warmed to liquid
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
pinch sea salt

Place 3/4 cup coconut, carrot, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and sea salt in the food processor and process until well combined. Add the nectar and process until the mixture holds together. Add coconut and pulse until the mixture holds together. Form mixture into 12 balls (they will be fragile before dehydrating, so be careful) and stick a clove into the top of each. Place on a dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate for 6 hours or so until firm.
To make the chocolate, whisk together all ingredients until smooth, in a small bowl.  Lay out a piece of foil, and dip the bottom of each macaroon into the chocolate, then set it on the foil.  Allow the chocolate to set (which will happen faster if you place them in the freezer for about 5 minutes).  Store extra macaroons in the fridge.

*You can also use raw sweet potato, squash, or carrot in this recipe and it will taste the same.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Raw Sweet Potato Ginger Lime Tart with Pomegranate Seeds


Sweet potatoes with lime are simply divine.  If you haven't tried this combo, you are missing out!  It is sooo heavenly! I first experienced it when I was in college and I saw a recipe for mashed roasted sweet potatoes with lime.  It was foreign to me at the time, but I tried it and I was hooked!  Just simply the potatoes roasted until tender, then combined with a touch of lime and sea salt.  Nothing else.  They were so sweet and so crave worthy!  


I have since made other recipes using the combo.  Including this one I made last week, Raw Sweet Potato Ginger Lime Tart with Pomegranate Seeds. I had a sweet potato on the counter and I could not resist making it into some sort of delectable dessert.  That is why I made it.  The filling was actually simple to make.  No cracking of thai coconuts involved, just blending.  Coconut butter made it nice and silky creamy, and it was pure deliciousness before I even poured it into the crust.


I happened to have a pomegranate on hand as well, and I thought I would use it to decorate the tart.  The tartness would be a nice contrast to the sweetness of the tart, and the seeds a nice crunch.  I had some finger limes as well, which I used as part of the garnish on top.  If you have never seen them, they are little tiny long limes which have flesh inside that looks like caviar,but tastes like the most intense key lime.


The tart turned out fabulous!  Sweet, and a little tart, kind of like a sweet potato pie had a baby with a key lime pie.  Super silky and creamy, with a little kick from the ginger.  I can imagine this being served as part of a holiday feast as the finale, maybe in place of pumpkin pie if you wanted something a little different for a change.



Raw Sweet Potato Ginger Lime Tart with Pomegranate Seeds
Makes 2

Crust:
1/2 cup ground flax seed

1 1/2 cups finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat (or additional coconut)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped


Filling:
3 cups raw sweet potatoes or yams, cubed
1/3 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp lime zest
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar, or maple syrup or raw local honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1 inch piece fresh ginger
3/4 cup raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)

1 cup pomegranate arils
Lime slices, or finger lime flesh

Spray one 8 inch  tart pan, lined with plastic wrap to make removal easier. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if it doesn't, add a little filtered water 1 tsp at a time while processing until it does). Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the pan, and set aside in the freezer to firm up.

To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine the sweet potatoes, lime juice, nectar, sea salt, vanilla, ginger and coconut butter and blend until smooth and creamy. (If you are not using a high speed blender, you may want to add the coconut butter through the feed tube with the motor running after already blending all the other ingredients to evenly distribute it.  Also, once blended, if you are not using a high speed blender, and you have little sweet potato bits, press the filling mixture through a fine meshed strainer to remove them if you wish, or you can skip this but the filling may not be as smooth.) Pour the filling into four the four prepared crust. Place in the freezer until it is set,about 2 hours.


Once tart has set, arrange the pomegranate arils and limes decoratively on top of them.  Serve!  Store extra in the fridge.