vegan cashew cheezcake

Before you judge me about using the word “cheezcake”, it’s purely to get across a point about it not actually being cheese or animal based at all. This vegan cake, to me, is more like an ice-cream (or should that be ice-CREEM) cake.

This is my first attempt at making my own cheezcake, with my guess at what quantities are required.

WARNING: before you think that you’re going to make, then eat this bad boy today, unfortunately you will need to soak the cashews overnight so get cracking now!

For the base

1 cup almond meal (I used Naked Foods)
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup (I used Pureharvest) or for strict PALEO replace with an alternate sweetener but it will no longer be low fructose
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao (I used Naked Foods)

For the filling
4 cups organic raw cashews (I used Naked Foods)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbspns plant based milk (I used Pureharvest almond milk)
1/3 cup cacao
1/4 cup raspberries

METHOD
1. Soak the cashews in water overnight in 2 seperate containers, each with 2 cups of cashews. This is because we are doing 2 separate layers

I highly recommended not soaking much longer than 12 hours. Mine started to get little purple ‘veins’ on them (I soaked for 24 hours) which I have since researched & seems to be quite common (see below pic)

 

2. Line a round tin with baking paper

3. Make the base first – blend all ingredients in a food processor until it looks like (a very delicious version of) dirt – in little clumps.

4. Press the base into the tin lined with baking paper. I used my fingers to get it right to the edges & then used a fork.

5. Throw this in the freezer

6. While the base is freezing, throw one lot (2 cups) cashews DRAINED cashews in the blender with 1/4 cup rice malt syrup, 2 tbspns coconut oil, vanilla & 2 tbspns almond milk. Blend until smooth.

7. Remove the base from the freezer & sprinkle over the raspberries

8. Pour over the vanilla cashew mix, spread as evenly as possible, then place back in the freezer

9. Do not clean the blender – tip 2 cups cashews (drained) into the blender, followed by 1/3 cup cacao, 1/4 cup rice malt syrup,  2 tbspns coconut oil, 1/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. I’m warning you now, I was a cashew butter cynic before, but this stuff is addictive. Don’t lick the spoon til the end or none will make it into the cake tin.

10. Once blended well tip the cashew chocolate  back into the measuring cup. Once the vanilla layer is frozen (1-2 hours), pour the chocolate layer over, then put back in the freezer for 2-4 hours.

Peanut butter & coconut no-cook fudge

Don’t do what I did & make this in 30 degree heat, only for the fudge to literally melt in my hand (well I’ll maintain that as an excuse for shoving it in my mouth so fast).

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Mayver’s peanut & coconut
1.5 tbspns coconut oil
1 tspn vanilla powder (I love Honest to Goodness brand)
Sprinkle of salt (I am currently using a mix containing iodised Australian & Himalayan pink)
1 tbspn rice malt syrup (I tend to use Pureharvest)

METHOD

1. Stir all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
2. Tip into preferred moulds. I did 6 moulds, each were about 2.5 tablespoons of mixture.
3. Throw in the freezer for at least an hour. Keep in the freezer.

These are quite rich so take it easy & as always, ENJOY!

Kids banana & carrots muffins

I am constantly on the look out for healthy recipes to fill the lunchboxes of my sons. Seeing as they have a combined 25 years (EEK!) of school remaining, it would surely be of benefit to find something easy that they enjoy, & can be popped in the lunchbox.

GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT-FREE, SUGAR-FREE

INGREDIENTS
2 carrots
2 bananas
1 cup brown rice flour (I bought mine from Naked foods in Bondi Junction)
3 organic eggs
2 tbspns coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons vanilla powder (I use Heilala brand)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (more if you prefer)
1 tspn bicarb

METHOD
*Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
1. Throw carrots, bananas, vanilla & cinnamon in the blender until smooth
2. Pour carrot/banana mix into a mixing bowl.
3. In a separate small bowl, give the eggs a light whisk with a fork for about 10-20 seconds.
4. Pour eggs into carrot/banana mix, then add rice flour & bicarb.
5. Pour into muffin moulds & put in the oven for 25 minutes. They will not brown like muffins containing dairy/gluten, so just pop your finger on top & see if you get any bounce back. Leave a bit longer if required.

I kept them in the fridge & they were fine for Monday to Friday

   
  

Cheezy omelette 

This is a fabulous balance of protein, healthy fats & carbs. This simple gluten-free, dairy-free vegetarian dish, that should start your day on a good note.

I wasn’t a big egg eater until I saw a Naturopath in July 2015 who suggested I add more to my diet, due to being a lazy pescetarian (I love seafood, but don’t often bother to make it), now I aim for 2 organic eggs every second day.

I would love to hear how you enjoy eggs; or what your favourite breakfast is.

INGREDIENTS

2 x organic eggs (I used Southern Highlands brand – from Wholefoods House in Woollahra)
1 cup kale
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 avocado, sliced (If avocadoes are in short supply in your area, or out of season, replace with ricotta or feta)
2 slices preferred bread (I use Naturis organic buckwheat bread)
2 wedges lemon
Chilli flakes (optional)

METHOD

1. Heat the stove to a high heat. Tip in olive oil then kale & parsley.
2.  Stir constantly for 1 minute then crack in 2 eggs & put in 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast. Flip over after 1 minute, take out once cooked.
3. Serve with toast, sliced avocado & lemon wedges. Chilli optional

Omit the buckwheat paleo friends

Vegan chocolate

I may be anti-Valentine’s Day due to if having become a money making exercise BUT I am all for an excuse to make chocolate…..

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup hulled tahini (I’ve used Naked Foods brand for this one)
1/4 cup cacao (also Naked Foods)
1 tablespoon Rice Malt Syrup (you guessed it, from Naked Foods)
Optional: a sprinkle of vanilla powder – I’m currently using Heilala, which you can pick up at About Life
Raspberries, for decoration

METHOD

If you’re currently in Australia, your coconut oil will well & truly be in liquid form already….
1. Melt together coconut oil, tahini & cacao on a low heat. If you’re adding vanilla, throw it in now. Once combined, the mixture should look quite thick & ‘creamy’.
2. Remove from heat & stir in rice malt syrup well.
3. If you’re adding raspberries, place one in each mould before pouring in chocolate.
4. Pour chocolate into moulds, throw in the freezer. Lick spoon / bowl / any over utensils covered in chocolate
5. Attempt to wait a full hour until they are ready to devour.

*If it’s summer where you are, they won’t last long out of the fridge before they become a big chocolate puddle. Keep in the fridge or freezer 

  

Home made low-fructose vegan chocolate 

There’s something very dangerous I need to tell you: how to make your own vegan chocolate. At home. In 5 minutes.

Keeping in line with my name, it also contains 6 ingredients only.

INGREDIENTS

150g (3/4 cup) cacao butter. I use Naked Foods this time.
40g (1/2 cup) cacao
35g (3 tbspns) chia seeds
100g tahini. This time I used the Woolworths Macro organic brand.
75g (1/4 cup) Pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup
Optional: 1 tspn vanilla powder (I use Heilala) &/or 3 tbspns desiccated coconut

METHOD

note: I never bring this recipe to boil, it remains on a heat just high enough to melt cacao butter

1. Melt the cacao butter on a low heat.
2. Once melted, add in the tahini, cacao & chia seeds. Add the vanilla powder here if you are using it.
3. Remove from heat & stir in the rice malt syrup. Taste to see if you feel it needs to be sweeter.
4. Pour into moulds – I used a silicone cake loaf ‘tin’ & some individual silicone muffins holders. Place straight into the freezer & leave for a minimum 40 minutes.


2 months gluten-free & dairy-free

Well a full 2 months has passed since I ditched gluten & dairy from my diet in the hopes of clearing up my skin.

  • My skin is not better but I feel that it has been a really great learning curve in many ways.
  • I have expanded my repertoire in the kitchen & have dined out in cafes/restaurants less than ever.
  • I buy limited products at the supermarket, a fair bit at health food shops & the balance at my local Farmer’s Market.
  • by crowding out gluten & dairy, I’ve been enjoying even more delicious meals – I’ve added in more raw greens (raw broccolini cut in salads is delicious), baby Tuscan kale is delicious, I’ve nearly perfected a gluten-free quiche crust. I’m nearly able to boil the perfect egg. I’ve eaten more avocadoes in the last 2 months than in my whole life combined.
  • I have realised how little alcohol I drink these days – just 4 times in the last 2 months & all on social occasions.

Doing this elimination diet concurrently with studying through IIN has been beneficial in so many ways – it has made me empathise more with what other people go through when dieting/eliminating/avoiding foods. I had never done a diet in my life before this (apart from one time as a teenager when me & my friend Katie decided to do a diet & lasted oh, about 40 minutes, before we decided burritos were a brilliant idea)
I can eat eggs most of the time without gagging (but often still struggle to eat them).
I am still not amazing at eating sustainable seafood every second day. If I had a personal chef & was served a piece of salmon, sardine fillets, oysters, squid, barramundi or prawns, I would be thrilled but it all seems like an effort at the end of a long day at work with tired children in tow. I don’t make it to the seafood shop even though it is only 100 metres from my home.

I’ve been taking zinc & Vitamin D supplements for one month.
I have been getting a little more sunlight on my forearms where possible – get in me Vitamin D!

There have been 3 mornings I have woken up with distinctly better skin:

  1. I was doing a live-in nanny job for a family whose kids I have looked after for 10 years. It was a peaceful night, I didn’t sleep long enough (about 6 hours)
  2. After a night out to dinner with friends. I had spices but no gluten or dairy. I had way too many drinks – which for me means about 3 glasses of wine & 2-3 vodka sodas with fresh lime. I slept at home this night, but it was a child-free night. I woke up feeling HORRENDOUS but with fabulous skin.
  3. a night out for a girl friend’s housewarming last week. I got home at 1am, much later than my normal bedtime, & slept about 7-8 hours. I drank vodka soda with fresh lime. I slept at my parents house.

So in conclusion, I had slept in three different houses, but the common theme was having a RELAXING night out. My conclusion, as an unqualified nobody, is that the ‘rash’ is caused by stress.

So the next issue / question is how to resolve this. I don’t think of myself as a ‘stressed’ person & I am always conscious that there are people out there much worse off than me. I have family. I have 2 beautiful sons who drive me mad daily. I have a (recently repaired) roof over my head. I have a job. I have lovely friends, many of whom I have known for close to 30 years. I am loving my study. I enjoy my morning run/walk to work (most days), despite always being in a rush. I love cooking meals every day. I love playing hockey for my club. So what is making me stressed?

Now can somebody pass me a piece of bread & wheel of cheese?