Neapolitan Raw Cheese Cake

This was a nice treat for New Year’s Eve. I had saved a few pieces of Neapolitan raw cheesecake I had made for a dinner I had with friends the week before. I wanted to save these pieces to end the year with a Bang!

This raw cheesecake is so good and smooth that it is a  great alternative to the lactose version. It is pretty easy to make and a little more time consuming if you make it in 3 colors, but it is worth it.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1 cup soft Medjool dates
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼- ½ tsp sea salt

Filling:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best for a very smooth texture
juice of 4 lemons
the seeds of 2 whole vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
2/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup raw honey (solid or liquid.)(Vegans use agave nectar.)
½ cup (or more to taste) sifted raw cacao
1 cup strawberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
Crust:
1. Place the nuts in the food processor and pulse to chop until the large pieces are broken down.
2. Add the dates, sea salt and vanilla and pulse to chop until it starts to stick together. (It is preferable to have a finer crust than a chunky one). If you find it hard to get it to stick together, just add a few drop of water as you pulse and it should do the trick.
3. In a 9″ spring-form pan place in the bottom a cut round wax paper. This will help avoid your crust to stick to the bottom of your pan.
4. Scoop out the mixture and evenly tap it in the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer.

Filling:
1. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan over really low heat until liquid.
2. In the most powerful food processor/blender you own (if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, use that) place all liquid ingredients (melted coconut oil, honey, lemon juice, vanilla) and mix well.
3. Drain and rinse the cashews and gradually add them to the liquid.
4. After you have mixed it well and you get a homogeneous mixture, you should have a little over 5 cups of thick liquid. you now have to separate it in 3. 2 cups for the vanilla part, 2 cups for the chocolate part and 1+ cup for the strawberry part.
5. Mix the sifted cacao with 2 cups of the mixture and pour it on top of the crust and place it back in the freezer for it to harden a little.
6. Mix the melted or fresh strawberries with the 1+ cup of the mixture until smooth. Pour on top of the chocolate mixture. You might have to wait until the chocolate part in the freezer has hardened a little. Then pour the remaining vanilla mixture on top of the strawberry and place in the freezer until solid.

To serve:
Remove the raw cheesecake from the freezer at least 30 minutes before serving.
Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.
Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit or make a strawberry coulis by melting 2 cups of strawberries and mix it in the blender until smooth and pour on top of the cut pieces. If you find it too bitter, you can add some sweetener.
Store leftovers in the freezer (if any).

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Coconut yogurt power breakfast

I have decided to share one of my favorite breakfast creations. I like to call it “Coconut yogurt power breakfast”.

It is something that makes me smile in the morning and keep me full for quite a while. You have all the goodness and energy of the young coconut and the power of superfood added to it.

I have created a video that will give you the step by step:

Ingredients:
1 Young coconut
4 Tbls chia seeds
1 Tbls pumpkin seeds
1 Tbls sunflower seeds
1 Tbls goji berries
1 Tbls dry raisins
1 Tbls walnuts
1 banana
1/2 cup mixed berries

Optional ingredients: (one or a combination of)
Raw cacao nibs
Dry cranberries
Maca powder
Lucuma
Maple syrup
Crushed nuts
Anything else you might like

Directions:
Open the young coconut as shown in the video
Blend the coconut meat and coconut water in a blender
Pour into a bowl
Add the chia seeds and mix well
Add other ingredients

Enjoy

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Chocolate Bark

Once you eat this chocolate bark you will not be able to buy a chocolate bar from the store anymore. This is so easy to make and you can’t really go wrong. You taste it as you go and you can make it exactly the way you want.

Basic ingredients:
½ cup cacao butter
½ cup cacao powder
Maple syrup to taste
Salt to taste

Optional ingredients: (one or a combination of)
Dry raisins
Dry cranberries
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Hemp seeds
Crushed nuts (almonds or walnuts or pecan)
Chili pepper (for a nice spicy chocolate)

Directions:
1. Place the cacao butter in a double boiler.
2. Once the cacao butter starts to melt, reduce the heat or even turn it off. You don’t want it to become hot, just melted. If it stops melting, raise the heat a little.
3. With the help of a sifter, slowly sprinkle the cacao powder on the melted cacao butter.
4. Mix the cacao butter and cacao powder together as you are sifting.
5. Add the maple syrup to the chocolate liquid and keep mixing.
6. Add salt.
7. Taste and adjust to the darkness, sweetness or salt amount to your liking.
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8. Place a parchment paper with the side raised in the bottom pan or Pyrex.
9. Uniformly sprinkle the dry fruits, nuts, and seeds in the bottom of the pan.
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10. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the seeds and nuts.
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11. Place it in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes or so. You can also sprinkle coarse salt, hemp seeds or sesame seeds on top for garnish.
12. Before it gets completely hard, you can cut into the preferred pieces sizes and place back in the refrigerator.
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Or once ready you can just break it by hand into pieces and enjoy.

The nice thing about using cacao butter is that your chocolate will not soften or melt when outside refrigerator, unlike coconut butter that melts with the temperature of your fingers and is very soft at room temperature.

Have fun and be creative.

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Benefits of eating cashews

If you’ve been avoiding nuts due to their high calorie and fat content, reconsider adding them to your diet. Though a single ounce of raw cashews contains 155 calories, a diet rich in nuts may actually aid in weight control, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. Opt for raw cashew nuts to boost your nut intake, and you’ll enjoy several health benefits because of their rich mineral content.

Rich in Iron
Raw cashews provide beneficial iron. Your body needs iron to produce heme — the active component of the protein hemoglobin, which is essential for oxygen transport. Getting enough iron in your diet also supports your immune system, and iron helps your white blood cells destroy infectious agents. Each 1-ounce portion of raw cashews provides 1.87 milligrams of iron — roughly 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 23 percent for men.

Copper and Zinc
Add raw cashews to your diet and you’ll also reap the benefits of their zinc and copper content. Zinc activates hundreds of proteins within your body, including proteins needed for healthy cell growth and a robust immune system. Consume an ounce of raw cashews to boost your zinc intake by 1.62 milligrams — 20 percent of the recommended daily zinc intake for women and 15 percent for men. The copper in raw cashews helps your body process iron, aids in the production of energy and strengthens your blood vessels. An ounce of raw cashews also offers 615 micrograms of copper, which is 68 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and men.

Thanks to Sylvie Tremblay from www.livegstrong.com