Friday, September 14, 2012

My second raw cheesecake recipe EVER!

 I have yet to post my first raw cheesecake... I'll post that one soon enough.

But for now, check out my second attempt at a raw cheesecake:



Drooling yet? I know I sure was! 

So, what inspired me to make this cheesecake??? Browse Fragrant Vanilla Cake's recipes for raw cheesecakes, and you will completely understand my obsession with raw cheesecake! 

Let's take another look at this exotic treat, shall we? *giggles with delight*


Magnifique!!!

I'm so sorry, forgive me if I am sounding a little crazy at the moment. I truly don't mean to be this way right now, but I just get so excited! You can ask my friend. We went to a health food store together, and I started bouncing around like an idiot pointing at random healthy, vegan objects and squealing with glee. She even videoed me doing this. -__-  



Anyway, I was inspired to create this cheesecake flavor because I love pineapples and raspberries, and I had both of them on hand so I thought, "Why not?" And then the best idea EVER came to me: Put in some lime juice. And I did just that.



I've got to say, I was a little surprised at the end result: tastes just like pina colada! So, if you love pina colada, and you love raw cheesecakes, you will seriously LOVE this recipe. 

Ok, I'll stop babbling so that I can give you the recipe!



Raw Pineapple Raspberry Lime Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:
* 1 cup almonds (do not soak)
* 4-5 dates
* 2 pinches of salt
Pineapple Filling Ingredients:
* 2/3 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 min. (make sure to soak first, and THEN measure 2/3 cup)
* 1 cup diced pineapple
* 2 Tbsp. agave
* juice of 1 lime (you can add a little more if you want)
* pinch of salt
* 4 Tbsp. coconut oil (make sure that it is FRESH, not old)
Raspberry Filling Ingredients:
* 2/3 cup cashews 
* 3/4 cup raspberries
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 4 Tbsp agave or honey (I used a little bit of both, mostly honey)
* juice of 1/2 lime
* pinch of salt 
* 4 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions:
1) In Vitamix dry blender or your food processor, blend crust ingredients until almonds are pretty much finely ground and dates are well incorporated. Press mixture into bottom of springform removable bottom pan (about 9 inch, I believe) and place in freezer.
2) While your crust is freezing, blend all of your pineapple filling ingredients except for coconut oil. When pineapple filling is smooth and creamy and satisfying to your taste (if you feel it needs more sugar, salt, etc, you can add more to your taste), add the coconut oil.
3) Pour completed pineapple filling on top of your crust, and place back into freezer.
4) Blend raspberry filling ingredients except for coconut oil until smooth and creamy. Check for bitterness - if it's still a bit bitter (from the raspberry seeds), just add a bit more sweetener and a little more lime juice. When satisfied, add the coconut oil.
5) Pour raspberry mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Swirl both cheesecake filling mixtures together with a knife or spoon.
6) Let cheesecake set in the freezer for 30-45 minutes, or until firm (like tofu, sort of). 
7) For best flavor, serve IMMEDIATELY. Does not hold its good flavor for a long time in the refrigerator. 

I hope you guys enjoy this cheesecake as much as I (and my friend) did!

Much love,


~ Natalyn

P.S. You can try experimenting with a little less coconut oil - like maybe 3 tablespoons instead of four. I know it's a lot of fat. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Refreshing Juice for One

Hello y'all. :)

So today, I was realizing what a sugar rush I've had lately... ok, I didn't just "realize". I knew.

So I decided to start a little colon cleanse of sorts: Juice fasting - or juice "feasting", as Angela Stokes Monarch from Raw Food World likes to say. I agree with her, actually. Juice is good. It doesn't have to be torture to drink simply juice for a couple days. I know it sounds horrible, and it may feel horrible at first (because the toxins are exiting your body), but once you finish a juice feast, you will be so happy you did.

Today, I have a unique juice for my experienced juice feasters to try:


It looks like your ordinary green juice, right? 

But I added a secret ingredient...
Cilantro!! 

Wait, what are you doing? Don't leave! I promise it will taste refreshing!!

Nat's Refreshing Cilantro Juice for One

Serves 1 small glass

Ingredients:
* 1 green apple, washed very well
* 2 leaves lacinato (dinosaur) kale
* 1 big handful of cilantro
* 1/2 peeled lime (leave the white part of the rind on the lime)

Directions:
1) Run all ingredients through your juicer, starting with the cilantro.
2) Enjoy immediately! :) Your body thanks you.

WARNING: I do not necessarily recommend this juice as a starting juice for beginners. Cilantro is a strong, powerful herb and your body may not be ready to ingest it yet.

But if you have juiced before, then go for it!! :) I hope you enjoy this juice as much as I did - it's so refreshing!

Much love,

~ Natalyn.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rice pilaf

Rice pilaf! Rice pilaf! Rice pilaf! ...


Well, those are the noodles. Later, I'll show you a picture of the actual rice. This recipe was loosely following a recipe for rice pilaf that I remember trying a year ago. You see, I had this packet of short noodles and at the back of the package was a recipe. At that time, I used real butter. It was so delicious, but I felt guilty eating it because of the fatty, processed butter I used.

Well, you can have your food and eat it too, you know! Today I have officially healthified that rice pilaf! I replaced the processed white rice with whole grain brown rice, and I swapped the butter with Earth Balance butter.


Healthy Rice Pilaf 

Serves 6 (half recipe serves a nice little meal for 4)

Ingredients:
* 2 cups basmati brown rice (I use the Trader Joes variety that they import from India)
* 4 cups water (or whatever amount of water you use for your basmati brown rice)
* 1 heaping tablespoon Earth Balance (you can use olive oil too)
* 3/4 cup short spaghetti noodles - fideos, I think they're called
* 2 tsp. cumin
* sea salt, to taste

Directions:
1) In a very large saucepan (or medium rice pot), bring water to boil. Flavor water with salt and olive oil if you'd like. Add your rice and let the water start boiling again. Mix your rice, and once the water is boiling again, cover and put heat on low. Set timer for 40 minutes.
2) In a medium frying pan, add the olive oil and let it heat up a bit. Add noodles, and stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Let sit for 30 seconds. Start stirring again and continue this pattern until noodles are golden brown and smell buttery, NOT BURNT. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) At the 20 minute mark, add your noodles to your rice and stir the rice. Cover again and let the rice cook for the remaining 20 minutes.
4) After those 20 minutes have passed, remove from heat, uncover, and fluff with fork or serving spoon. Add cumin and salt as needed, and mix thoroughly. Let cool for 10 minutes or so.
5) Eat, my child. Eat.

I hope you enjoy it - I know I did! ;)

Much love,


~ Natalyn

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Buttery Vanilla Almond Shortbread Cookies

Take a look at these beauties:


Nom nom nom!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited because I just received some almond flour in the mail that I ordered. It's so beautiful, and its nutty flavor and texture is perfect for shorbreads!! I'm sure this flour is also great for other things such as pie crusts, any cookies, and maybe even cake! If you would like to purchase some of this almond flour, check out http://local.honeyvillegrain.com and buy some natural almond flour. Here's what the bag looks like:

It's HUGE! It's a little bigger than a normal sized all-purpose flour bag. What a great deal!
Well, back to the cookies. The reason I made these cookies today is because I'm doing a test run of the food I'm making for my mommy's birthday dinner. Man, I'm so glad I made these! 



These cookies are a treat for your tastebuds! Their flavor is sweet, nutty, and unique, and the texture is crispy yet dense (the perfect crunch and a slightly soft middle). The nutty, rich almond flour pairs fantastically with the salty Earth Balance butter and sweet sugar. To add extra flavor and fragrance, I add the seeds of a fresh vanilla bean to the mix:

Here are some fresh vanilla beans! 
Here's another shot of those cookies before they bake to perfection in the oven:


 And here they are after being baked to perfection:


 Simply. Poetry.

Enough talk - Let's bake!



 Nat's Vanilla Almond Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen mini shortbreads

Ingredients:
* 1 cup almond flour
* 1/3 cup Earth Balance Butter
* 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar 
* seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet.
2) Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure the butter is still cold from the fridge (shortbreads do not do well with melted butter). 
3) To access the seeds of the vanilla bean, use a sharp knife to make a slit at the top of the bean. Then drag the knife downwards until you have cut the vanilla bean in half. Inside will be a dark, grainy substance that is very fragrant. Those are the seeds. Scrape these into the mixing bowl with your knife.
4) With a fork, mash ingredients together. Then mix the dough with your own hands until well-combined and moldable, like playdough. Also, make sure the vanilla bean has been well distributed throughout the cookie dough.
5) Place the cookie dough on parchment/wax paper, and press it down to desired thickness (mine are a little on the thicker side). Cut into shapes with cookie cutters of choice and place on cookie sheet.
6) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned. The cookies will still be soft to the touch when you take them out. 
7) Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack with a spatula. Let the cookies cool and harden some more for another 5 minutes on the rack, and then they are ready to enjoy!

Bon apetit! Oui oui!

So what are you waiting for? Go make some cookies! 


Much love,

~ Natalyn :)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Chipotle - VEGANIZED!

Hello, my dears. Nope, no recipes today, unfortunately. Sorry. :'/ I am very excited to get my almond flour tomorrow, though, because I'm quite determined to make a gluten free vegan healthy donut recipe. :)

Anyway, today I would like to VEGANIZE another popular place:


I love Chipotle. They are actually a great place to try out your healthy options. Check them out:

* You can customize your burrito. My favorite combo is flour tortilla, cilantro lime rice, vegetarian black beans, grilled veggies, guacamole, and some other things like corn, lettuce and tomatoes. Mmmmm... so good. ^_^

* My very favorite: The Burrito bowl - you can also customize this. Well actually, you can pretty much customize everything on their menu! Here's what I suggest: black beans, brown rice, lots of corn, lots of grilled veggies, pico de gallo, a small dallop of guacamole, lots of romaine lettuce, and a little of that new tofu "meat" (it's pretty good, and gives a nice, mildly spicy flavor to your food)

* Tacos: Hard shell or soft tacos - these are customizable too, I think. That combo I recommended for the burritos would be amazing in the tacos, as well!

* Salads: Chipotle honey vinegrette - but if you're strict vegan or not into eating honey, you can probably bring your own homemade dressing to sprinkle on top? 

* Awesome side: Chips and salsa/guacamole! Delicious guacamole - nope, doesn't have milk. According to them, it's fresh mashed avocados. Delish!

* Kid's menu: Your choice of three ingredients and two soft or crispy taco shells. I think a killer delicious combo would be guacamole, grilled veggies, and cilantro-lime rice. Oh, and lettuce, if they're ok with one extra topping! The kids meal also comes with your choice of milk or juice - but I suggest asking for water instead - and yummy chips! I think your kids would love this meal.

Check out this link if you want to see HOW FRESH their guacamole is. They hand mash it in small batches every day! http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/fresh_cooking/fresh_cooking.aspx

Also, if you want to see your gluten-free options, check out their special diet section - it's great! Special diet information

And here's what I also love about Chipotle: their care for our planet!

"Food with Integrity is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers."

They're also trying to slowly incorporate more organic foods into their menu - currently, 40% of their beans are organically grown!!

Thank you Chipotle for being a great place to mingle with friends and also a great place to participate in eating planet-friendly foods!

Well, I hope you guys try out a super tasty vegan burrito from Chipotle, because they are amazing - so full of flavor! 

Much love, 

~ Natalyn