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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamix’

chscake1chscake3chscake4chscake7

 

If you’ve never eaten raw cheesecake before, you will be shocked at how much like traditional (think Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese) cheesecake it tastes! In fact, I prefer raw vegan desserts over traditional desserts nearly all the time now. A few exceptions include my lemon olive oil cake and chocolate rosemary cake. As an added bonus, most traditional desserts, even when they’re made with reduced sugar, contain either dairy or gluten–both of which many of us would like to avoid these days. Even if a dairy-laden dessert (e.g., panna cotta, cheesecake, etc.) doesn’t result in uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects, such as gas, cramping and bloating, I always feel “ugh” after eating it.

But after indulging in even a large piece of raw vegan cheesecake, I might feel full, but I also feel light and comfortable and I love knowing I just consumed something that tasted delicious and was actually good for me. Soaked cashews give raw cheesecakes an insanely creamy silky texture that I find superior to anything you get using traditional cream cheese.

Just a few months ago, I served a raw vegan lemon cheesecake to my father who is approaching 80 and is very–did I mention very–traditional about food, particularly dessert. He gave the cheesecake a thumbs up and was shocked to learn it was dairy-free.

Although this recipe is for strawberry cheesecake, you can easily substitute raspberries, blueberries or mango for the top layer. Maybe some really clever cook more talented than me will make three layers of fruit, which would look awfully pretty once sliced.

 

Ingredients

Crust:

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup almond meal

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted

Pinch of kosher salt

Filling:

1 cup cashews, soaked in salted water overnight

1/2 cup plant milk (I use almond)

1/8cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

Topping:

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

 

Preparation

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Process the ingredients for the crust in a food processor using the pulse function until you get a similar texture to this (see photo). Dump the crumbly mixture into the pan and use your hands to press it firmly and evenly into the bottom. Place in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

 

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Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with filtered water. Place all the ingredients for the filling in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix), and blend, starting on low and moving to high until you have a completely even, creamy consistency. Pour the filling mixture over the crust and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Put the ingredients for the topping into a blender and process until it’s a thick, even consistency. Pour over the filling and return to the freezer for 4-5 hours.

Transfer the cheesecake from the freezer to the fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

 

chscake2

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mashed caul closemashed caul aboveI resisted making these for months because somewhere in the back of my mind an unpleasant relationship with cauliflower lingers in my childhood memories. My mom was an excellent cook overall, but being inventive with vegetables simply wasn’t her thing. If she served cauliflower to us, it was plain and raw or steamed plain.

I’ve been doing lots with roasted cauliflower these days (see Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower and Cauliflower Apple Soup with Truffle Oil and Chopped Chives), but have been reluctant to try much more. I’ve tried the “rice” made from cauliflower, and while it was a decent and much healthier substitute for regular rice, it wasn’t anything worth writing home about.

So I guess I had low expectations when I tried making mashed cauliflower as a great base for meats in sauces and a mashed potato substitute. But no matter–mashed cauliflower is amazingly delicious!! It’s also super easy to make and you get to feel great about eating it because it’s very nutritious and far superior in taste, texture and nutrition to the ol’ white potato. Remember, doctors recommend we eat cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.) 2 to 3 times per week. Cauliflower is an excellent source of Potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6.

 

Ingredients

2-3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp butter, ghee or other butter substitute
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Fresh-ground pepper

 

mashed caul raw

 

Preparation

Preheat a toaster oven or regular oven to 400F. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a small heat-proof dish and roast until soft, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 1/2-inch of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Drop in a steamer basket and add the cauliflower florets. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off all the water and place the florets in a food processor or high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix.

Remove the papery skins from the garlic cloves by squeezing them gently and add the cloves to the cauliflower along with the remaining ingredients. Process or blend until smooth.

Serve immediately. Serves 4-6 (just 4 with my family because we fight over every spoonful).

Enjoy!

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carrot soup

 

There are days when I crave simplicity–a boiled egg and a handful of ripe berries for breakfast, a chunk of smoked salmon with fresh vegetables for lunch and a straightforward, warm soup for dinner, served alongside a roast chicken or with just a basic salad. Yes, I overindulged this past weekend (a little red wine, French food and an absurd amount of gluten), and I’m definitely paying the price. So as of Monday morning, I’ve craved simplicity.

I served this soup last night, along with a whole chicken roasted with onions and cut lemons, and with a butter lettuce salad tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing on the side. Actually, I hastily threw together the chicken, onions and lemons without consulting any recipe and it came out delicious. If I hadn’t been so rushed to get food on the table, I would have snapped a few pics and posted them here, along with some sort of recipe. However, I will make it again, take a bit more care next time, document my preparation and post all the details.

But back to the soup… This is a good carrot soup recipe which you can prepare as is or easily alter depending on your mood or what else is going to be on the table. You can prepare this in about 40 minutes with only 15 or so minutes of active time. If you appreciate simple food like me, you’ll agree this soup qualifies.

carrotsonions

 

Ingredients

1 small- to medium-sized red onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter or ghee

2-3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

5-6 large carrots, sliced no more than 1/2-inch thick (approximately 3 cups total)

2 1/2 – 3 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth*

1/3 cup  milk (coconut or almond work, too)

4 whole bay leaves

sea salt

fresh-ground pepper

 

Method

Warm the oil (and butter, if you’re using) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and garlic and stir until softened. Add in the sliced carrots and allow to cook another 5-10 minutes. Pour in enough broth to fully cover the vegetables, and drop in the bay leaves. Turn up the heat a little until the soup comes to a boil. Then cover and turn down the heat to simmer. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Using tongs or chopsticks, remove the bay leaves (making sure you remove all of them!). Use a good regular blender* or immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s a very creamy consistency. Stir in the milk and season to taste. Optional: Garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche and some finely chopped parsley or a drizzle of pesto mixed with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Note: You can easily put an Asian spin on this recipe by cooking a 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped with the onions and garlic, using coconut milk instead of regular milk and including a tbsp of Asian fish sauce.

*Here’s where I put in another plug for the Vitamix blenders! They aren’t cheap, but they’re nearly indestructible, carry a hefty warranty and blend everything into the creamiest consistency you can imagine. I’ve also been told you can get them at a significantly reduced price as Costco.

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kids kale smoothieWhen I’m late pulling together dinner, or just too exhausted to think of creative ways to serve greens, I make this smoothie.

My kids recognize that it’s not the “green monster juice” I also serve, but that’s about the only distinction they make. They like this drink better than the Green Power Shake because this one is naturally sweeter from the banana and mango, and it boasts an amazingly bright green color.

Particularly if you own a Vitamix, you can get this drink incredibly smooth so that the green is merely thought of as the color of the drink (as opposed to what might be making it green). I mention this not because I’m a big proponent of hiding from my children what I feed them, but because I know there are plenty of kids (including mine, at times!) who balk at the thought of eating certain vegetables.

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, peeled

1 handful of frozen mango chunks

1 handful fresh kale, washed and tough stems removed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup coconut milk

A splash of maple syrup or Stevia to sweeten as desired

A splash or squirt of flaxseed oil (optional, but another great way to get in healthy Omega-3!)

Ice, if desired

Preparation:

Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Happy sipping!

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power shake

We always hear, “Eat your greens,” but you can also drink your greens, and sometimes it’s a lot easier, faster and equally nutritious!

I’m honoring kale this week. Yesterday’s posting featured kale caesar salad and a summary of kale’s nutritional benefits.

Here is my favorite breakfast shake. It serves as a meal, and works perfectly for those mornings when I’m late packing the kids’ lunches or want something lighter than a more traditional breakfast for myself. (Unfortunately this shake just doesn’t photograph well with my limited photography skills and equipment.)

I simply throw everything into my Vitamix and hit “high” for 20 seconds. You can make this with any decent-powered blender, but to put in a plug for my beloved machine, the Vitamix will literally liquefy anything, and it makes this shake incredibly creamy.

Ingredients

1 cup water
Approx. 1/3 cup coconut milk (I never measure–just pour out a splash)
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 scoop whey (or soy) protein powder
1 splash organic Grade B maple syrup
2-3 handfuls chopped kale (I strip, wash, dry, chop and freeze my leaves so there’s no preparation in the morning)
1/3 cup parsley (prepared in advance like the kale)
2 small handfuls of frozen berries or banana (I use blueberry and strawberry)

Preparation

Liquefy everything in a blender and drink slowly, treating it as a meal vs. a glass of water.
Note: My kids will drink this, but don’t always relish it. For a kid-friendlier green smoothie, please see my Green Monster Juice.
Drink up to your health!

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