Okay-- so I know I said health posts were coming... and hopefully you didn't think I'd go all salad and quinoa on you right away! To start, I should clue you all in that I can't really "bake" anything, so I figured I'd throw together a raw desert where the only thing I had left to do was freeze it! Easy as cake! So, as you may have guessed I'm not really making any bold moves here, this is a very simple recipe to make as long as you have a good (enough) blender.
Why I've been considering more "raw" options as well as easing into a grain-free diet isn't a fad or a plan to lose weight. Last November after having Sofia, I was rushed to the ER one night for excruciating abdominal pain. We didn't know if it was appendicitis, an ovarian cyst, an ulcer... there were so many possibilities. You name it. After a long eight hours and a rude staff to boot, I was sent home with some Maylox, Vicodin, and an unclear diagnosis. The only thing they thought might be causing all this pain was gastritis, or more easily described as, an inflamed stomach lining.
For months, I did nothing.
I ate the same way I always ate, yet still expected to just miraculously feel better one day. I knew I had to eventually put an end to all the pain I was in. I did a little research on eating less grains, less sugar, and basically a lot less crappy stuff and more delicious, whole foods.
It's definitely still an ongoing processes, but I can honestly say that this time I'm dedicated to making a change, and have blocked off the entire month of April to ease into this new diet. To further my seriousness this time around, I've even hired a certified holistic health coach through April to make sure I stick to it. Mmm-hmm. Big changes are coming.
It just so happened we were walking around in Whole Foods yesterday when, *GASP!* to my surprise, I had finally found some Meyer lemons! I've been searching high and low for what seems like forever for these little guys and I knew I had to incorporate them into my cooking over the course of the week. I had big plans for some lemon curd, too... but... I used them all. Oops.
It's honestly really hard to mess up this recipe. Honestly though I almost messed it up until I texted Abby to see how the hell I was going to get... the cheesecake... out of the pan. Seriously who has a springform pan just laying around? Good news is -- you can totally skate by with your regular 9 inch round pan, you just need a little finesse and a few silent prayers before you invert your dreamcake onto a plate.
(adapted from this recipe and this one and also Coco's.)
FOR THE CRUST:
• 2 cups of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
• 1 cup of walnuts (soaked overnight)
• 1/2 cup of dates or dried cranberries
• 1/4 cup of dry, unsweetened coconut flakes
FOR THE FILLING:
• one bag of Whole Foods 365 brand raw cashews (soaked overnight)
• 1/2 cup of Meyer lemon juice
• 3/4 cup of raw honey
• 1 cup of raw coconut oil
• 1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
• 1 vanilla bean, pod split lengthwise and seeds scraped (or 1tsp. vanilla)
• 1 tsp. himalayan pink sea salt
FOR THE TOPPING:
• 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
• 1/4 cup of raw honey
• dash of cinnamon
• zest of one Meyer lemon
For your crust, you'll want to have prepped all of your nuts (soaked) the night before. This makes it a LOT easier on your blender. "Trust me," says the girl who doesn't have enough money to own a Vitamix. Place all crust ingredients except for the coconut into your blender or food processor and blend to a consistency you'd like. I prefer the crust a little on the chunkier side, but I'm sure a finer crust would work just as well! Now, this is where I messed up-- I do not own a springform cake pan, so I used a regular 9 inch round pan... just make sure you place a plastic wrap lining prior to molding your crust. (Otherwise you'll have to find a way to macgyver your cheesecake onto a platter!) Take those coconut flakes we left out and scatter them on the bottom of your cake pan to prevent the crust from sticking to the pan, then carefully mold in your crust mixture.
For the filling, go ahead and load up your blender that you just cleaned back out with your juiced Meyer lemons, honey, vanilla beans, salt and coconut oil. You'll want to heat up your coconut oil in the microwave for around 2 minutes prior to tossing it into your blender due to its solid-ness while being stored. Once your liquids are mixed, you'll slowly want to begin adding in your cashews -- wait a minute now, don't get too jumpy! If you put too many in at once they'll just get stuck, and your blender... well... it will fight you. You need to outsmart your blender. ;) The "cheese" filling is done when it tastes great and is a creamy, smooth consistency.
Pour about half to three-quarters of your filling on top of your crust, then take what's left of your "cheese" mixture and add those blueberries and back to the blender it goes. After the final round with your mixer, spread the blueberry filling on top and put in your freezer until ready to use. To serve this raw cheesecake, leave it thaw on the counter until it's soft enough to run a serrated knife through.
This cake is so delicious even by itself (I was scooping out the filling from my blender with a spoon...) but it also tastes great with some form of a topping if you're into that sort of thing. I simply heated some blueberries, honey, zest, and cinnamon on the stove for a few minutes until little bubbles formed around the edges. Let cool, then top that cake up!
Enjoy this deliciously good-for-you, gluten/dairy/egg/grain free raw dessert!