One for the Road. Vegan Mini Chocolate Cashew Cheezcakes

Photo Courtesy of Annie at An Unrefined Vegan

Many of you know how much I love Annie at An Unrefined Vegan. When she asked me to develop a chocolate version of this recipe to take with her and feed the masses at her brother Charles’ memorial this weekend, I jumped up at the ready. You see, I’d all ready been planning to make Chocolate Cheezcake from the moment of the first recipe’s inception. It had to be a recipe that would freeze well, since she would be taking it in coolers for a trek to the desert. Indeed, it may even be tastier partially frozen, and as I’m unable to be there physically to support her, creating this recipe was the least I could do. And if I may toot my own horn, they WILL blow you away with how much they taste exactly like chocolate cheesecake, I think they make the original cheezcake “pale” in comparison.

Mini Chocolate Cashew Cheezcakes, “Milk” or Dark Directions
1/4 Package Pomona’s Pectin, instructions below
1 1/4 C. Raw Cashews
1/2 C. Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Chips
2 T. C. Cocoa Powder (optional, add for dark chocolate version only)
1/4 C. Agave, or for less sweetness, one half of 1/3 C. (however much the heck that is)
1 T. Lemon Juice
1 C. Boiling Water, plus additional cool water for calcium packet in pectin
1/8 t. Sea Salt
6 Whole Graham Cracker Sheets, I used these vegan ones, but hey, there’s no shame in using gluten free substitute or a half pack of Newman-O’s instead 😉
1/4 C. Earth Balance OR Coconut Oil, melted
6 Strawberries, halved (Annie’s brilliant addition)
Shaved Cacao Nibs or Dark Chocolate Shavings (another one of Annie’s brilliant additions)
12 Foil Lined Cupcake Liners
Photo Courtesy of Annie at An Unrefined Vegan
Method: Make crust first. Break up graham crackers or Newman-O’s, place in food processor, then process until uniform and crumbly. Add melted earth balance or coconut oil. Pulse until combined. Using a cupcake tin and the foil liners, put a heaped spoonful of graham mixture into the bottom of each of the 12 cups. Press with the bottom of a spoon to compact it and get a uniform surface. Make calcium water by adding 1/2 C. Water to a small jar, add the calcium powder and shake until combined. Set asidePlace cashews in blender (you may need to pre-soak these for a few hours if you don’t have a power blender), add chocolate chips, agave, lemon juice and sea salt, also add cocoa powder at this point if using. Pour boiling water over the mixture and blend til completely smooth. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons of pomona’s pectin to the mix and blend again til smooth. Quickly shake the calcium water again and pour 2 T. of it into the mix and blend again. (Please save the rest of the Pomona’s pectin for jam making or a 3/4 batch of cashew cheeze!) Immediately pour into the tins, you should have a scant 1/4 C. filling for each cheezcake. Place a halved strawberry on each cheezcake and sprinkle with shaved cacao nibs. Cover with plastic wrap (I like the press and seal variety). Freeze until solid. Defrost for 20 minutes before serving.
Photo Courtesy of Annie at An Unrefined Vegan
Annie has ran the Little Grand Canyon10K with Charles for the last couple of years. Since we’re not there to run it with her this weekend, maybe you wouldn’t mind mirroring her run and joining me for a “Run for Charles’ Memorial” at 6am on Saturday or anytime this weekend to support her.
Love, Somer.

Carb Loading – Somer Saturday

I’ts Somer Saturday and I have been either been intentionally or unintentionally carb loading for my Ragnar Relay Race Next weekend. Not really sure which one, but I am really, really loving carbs at the moment.

Pretzel Rolls: Adapted & veganized from this recipe here.  3 C. White whole wheat flour, 1 C. organic unbleached flour, 1 t. salt, 1 1/4 C. warm almond milk, 1/2 C. warm water, 2 t. active dry yeast, 2 T. vital wheat gluten, kosher salt for sprinkling. In a breadmaker or other kneading apparatus (possibly your hands) knead all the above for 10 minutes. Let rise for 30 minutes. Divide into 12 rolls or 8 hamburger buns (for the best vegan Scott Jurek burger ever). Let rise for 15 more minutes. In the meantime boil 2 quarts (8 cups) water with 1 T. kosher salt and 4 T. baking soda. Poach 3 rolls at a time for one minute, turning over halfway through until all are poached. Remove with a slotted spoon. Slash each roll 3 times across the top with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and some sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes for rolls or 25-30 minutes for hamburger buns. Please use parchment paper to bake on, otherwise you will need a chisel and a hammer and quite possibly ruin your favorite baking sheet. I also made a sourdough version later in the week by replacing 1 C. Sourdough starter for 1/2 c. of the liquid and 1/2 C. of the flour. INSANE.

Kristy’s Vegan M&M Cookies. I baked them for 2 minutes less than she recommended, because I like super soft cookies. There aren’t any left. BOO! I also used leftover dairy free chocolate beans I got for my kids for Easter from a Jewish Kosher online store because the one’s Kristy used are no longer available (I would provide you with a link, but can’t find it). These would also be crazy good with Vegan Chocolate Chips!

And finally….. Vegan Sourdough Pancakes: I did an “In the in the pan shot” because look! I had to show you that they behave like normal (non-vegan) pancakes do! Getting dry at the edges and bubbles bursting when ready to flip. It nearly made me cry! Plus they were the fluffiest vegan pancakes I have made to date!

Ingredients: 1.5 C. sourdough starter, 3/4 C. White whole wheat flour, 3/4 C. Soymilk, 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. baking powder.

Method: Whisk until just combined. Cook over medium heat in lightly oiled skillet. Makes 4 giant pancakes or 8-12 smaller pancakes. Top with fruit of choice and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

p.s. if you want to start your own sourdough starter, google it. I’m not an expert. Carolyn gave me mine and I think I nearly killed it. I did recently however convert it to a 100% whole wheat starter and it is currently a normal color and doing well in my fridge at the moment since I have stopped neglecting it.

Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the most recent nomination for Good Clean Food! Thanks Kristy at Keepin it Kind, for your cookie recipe and the nomination!!! I’m pretty sure she is a fellow runner and carboholic. 😉 Love her!

Are you carb loading for any races at the moment too?

A Week in the Raw

It’s Tasty Wednesday Tuesday and many of you all ready know that I live in Utah, what you may not know is that my particular city should be named “Kidville”. There are literally over a thousand children in my subdivision. It’s fabulous and all the kids are always out and about riding bikes, playing at the parks and sharing lots and lots of germsWe get sick more often since moving into this neighborhood than we ever have before. Vomiting, colds, flus, pink eye, rsv, Montezuma’s revenge, you name it, we get it. There are a few nasty bugs going around at the moment and we caught them too :/ so in an attempt to strengthen my immune system and help me heal faster, I have been eating entirely raw for the last few days. I’m planning on eating raw for the rest of the week. I have to say that I don’t think I would be surviving otherwise. Raw foods provide far more nutrients than cooked and give the body more energy. I wish I was cool enough to eat raw all the time, but I’m not, and frankly, I like cooked food, a lot. However, I think eating “high-raw” is sustainable and really good for our bodies.

It’s not really that hard and you don’t need a half-naked Juliano cookbook to do it either (I used to own that book, some of the photos are….well, Juliano nearly in the buff, shopping, playing in the ocean, but not cooking, because that would just be gross).

I’m juicing, eating lots of fruits on their own, making big ol’ salads with raw dressings I whiz up in my blendtec. I’m more than a little obsessed with chia seeds too at the moment, maybe it’s because I recommended Born to Run to a friend, then  I had to start re-reading it again myself because it’s awesome.

Here are a couple of raw chia recipes I’m LOVING right now:

Raw Overnight Neopolitan Oats

Holy Crap, it’s like the best dessert ever for breakfast, this is adapted from this much cuter than mine recipe here, but my adaptation is fully raw.

1 C. oat groats (use certified gluten free for gluten free option)

4 T. chia seeds

2 1/2 C. raw almond or raw cashew milk (I used cashew milk, drool)

2 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave (or to taste)

1 t. vanilla extract (oops, not raw)

2 sliced frozen bananas

4 sliced frozen strawberries

Method: BEFORE YOU GO TO BED: Blend oat groats in blender or grind in coffee grinder until fine. Get out two pint-sized mason jars. Put half  of the ground oat groats in each jar. Add 2 T. chia seeds to each jar, 1 1/4 C. nut milk to each jar and 1 t. raw agave to each jar. Add the raw cacao powder to one of the jars and the vanilla extract to the other. Now you have chocolate and vanilla. Put lids on and shake until well combined. Put in fridge. IN THE MORNING: get out your food processor and put your frozen bananas in it with a splash of nut milk. Process until creamy. Mmms. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add frozen strawberries to the food processor and process the same way. Now you have raw strawberry and banana ice creams FOR BREAKFAST. Layer and alternate ice creams, and chocolate and vanilla overnight oats in mason jars or fancy cups. Serve with fresh fruit. I didn’t because I hadn’t been to the store because we were sick and I only had frozen fruit. This should serve 2, but I stretched it to serve 3. I was sorry I didn’t have any leftovers at lunch time.

Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 C. raw cashew milk (you could also use raw almond milk)

3 T. chia seeds

1 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave

Method: Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk until cacao is fully incorporated. Let sit on the counter top for an hour or so. I thought this would serve two, I also thought I would take a photo before eating it all. Wrong on both accounts.

I have also been growing my own wheat kamut grass, it’s not all that difficult, but since I’m a total novice and nearly killed it because I hadn’t watered it enough, I shall refer you to this post if you so desire to grow your own.  I’m  absolutely in love with it! The juice of the grass gives me instant energy and clarity and I even like it’s grassy taste. You can almost feel the cells inside your body healing when you drink it. Try it, you might like it.

“Tastes Like Nummy Beautiful Butterflies”

Its Somer Saturday! (At least for another few minutes on my clock!)

I don’t have enough brainpower to wax poetic or to conquer the world with more plant-based truths, but I can share a recipe with you, a tasty simple one at that. At our house, we called it dessert, you can call it breakfast, a really tasty smoothie or whatever the heck you want 😉

My 3-year-old, who growls out his sentences and is always wielding some sort of sword or weapon (he actually carries a water gun in his pocket at all times) exclaimed while drinking this: “Mmmm, Thanks MommyIt tastes like nummy beautiful butterflies!” And then I laughed so hard a little bit of the nummy deliciousness went up my nose. Good times.

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Smoothie

2 C. vanilla soymilk

2 sliced frozen bananas

1 T. cocoa powder

2 T. justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (can you tell I’m in love with this stuff?)

1 T. honey or pure maple syrup

Blend until smooth. Makes 3  servings. Caution, may cause butterfly deliciousness to come out your nose.