Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites with Coconut Whipped Cream

Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites with Coconut Whipped Cream

Flexibility is the personality trait that I covet most. Luckily, I am offered opportunities to practice my ability to be flexible nearly every day. Every morning I am armed with a list of my very best intentions and by the end of the day life has undoubtedly gotten in the way, repeatedly. Intentions are good, even necessary to create the things we want but without the ability to bend with the winds of change, we will find ourselves fighting a losing battle against the reality of the moment. Okay, I think I’m done waxing poetic for now. 🙂 I only bring this up because I started out intending to make a lemon caramel shortbread cookie bar, don’t even ask me what that is because I don’t know, never had one. All I know is it sounded good in my brain, so I went to work on gettin’ ‘er done. Without divulging the literally messy details, I’ll just say, it wasn’t my finest creation. Instead of scratching the whole thing and wasting expensive ingredients, I decided to go with the flow. I let my unsuccessful concoction tell me what it yearned to be. ‘Lemon Cheesecake Bite’ it whispered softly. When food talks to me, I listen. Don’t you?

Armed with my new game plan, I threw some cashews in hot water to soak, processed them in and 30 minutes later was delighting in my succulent lemon cheesecake batter. As totally scrumptious as it was, I decided a light whipped cream would really bring it all together. Oh boy, did this ‘mistake’ ever turn into a triumph. Thank you universe for yet another opportunity to practice my ability to change course when needed. This time I have some seriously rockin’ treats to show for it.

Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites
Crust ~

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup dates

Process

  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until they form a sticky dough
  2. Press into the bottom of bread loaf pan, making a 1/2 inch crust
  3. Place pan in freezer to set for 30 minutes

Filling ~

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cashews soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 6 dates soaked in 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, more for topping
  • 3 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

  1. Drain cashews and place with all other ingredients including date water in a high speed blender
  2. Blend until consistency is smooth and creamy
  3. Pour filling on top of crust and spread out evenly
  4. Place back in the freezer for 6 hours or more
  5. Once set, using a shot glass, press little circular bites out of your ‘cake’ and top with whipped cream and lemon zest.
  6. Enjoy immediately!

Coconut Whipped Cream ~

Ingredients

  • Coconut cream from 1 can of coconut milk.
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

  1. Refrigerate the coconut milk overnight or in a pinch, throw can in the freezer for an hour or so. Without tipping or shaking the can, remove from refrigerator/freezer and open immediately. Scoop out the cream from the top of the can which should have separated from the coconut milk underneath it
  2. Place this cream along with all other ingredients into a cold mixing bowl
  3. Using a beater, whip ingredients together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
  4. Serve immediately on top of cheesecake bite, top with lemon zest
  5. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge

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Inspiration Station

Inspiration Station

Inspiration comes to me in many forms. Sometimes it’s a gentle whisper that I nearly miss, sometimes it’s a screaming fire in my belly that insists I act immediately and other times it’s a sweet nudge from a wonderful friend. This blog post was inspired by such a friend, her name is Aurore and she has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

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I’m honored to accept and share the love with other inspiring bloggers. Thank you for the nomination sweet friend, as I’ve said to you before, being recognized as an Inspiring blogger by such an inspirational person means a lot to me. Aurore writes a truly awesome blog, Pamplemousse, where she shares her wholesome recipes, her workouts, (she’s a badass personal trainer who has lovingly kicked my ass on more than a few occassions) and her insights on raising three children the healthy way. She is an incredibly beautiful person, in body, mind and spirit, who inspires all who has the good fortune of meeting her. She’ll inspire you too, I’d just bet on it.

So here are the rules,

1. As the recipient you should thank the person who nominated you by linking to his/her blog and displaying the award logo;

2. Nominate up to 15 other blogs. Link to their blogs and inform them about the nomination;

3. Share three things that inspired you the most this week.

I only began my journey in this blogoshpere a brief 5 months ago now, so I haven’t become intimately involved with too many blogs just yet, although I am working on broadening my horizons. 🙂 Here are 4 that I have come to love in that short time…

Story time with John – If you like to laugh, John is your man. This guy is funny, like make sure you aren’t eating while reading his posts or you may choke funny. I know this from personal experience. Fortunately I live to tell the tale. If being hilarious isn’t enough to inspire you, John also seems to be a genuinely good guy. He is a grade school teacher and you can feel how much he cares about these kids through his writing.

Bubbles and Booyah – This girl is just pure awesome sauce. Her upbeat energy is completely contagious. I’ve never met this lovely lady but I feel like I know her through her candid and detailed accounts of her awesome life as a vegetarian, champagne lover and self proclaimed running addict. Along with sharing her fun and fit lifestyle, she also shares recipes, ideas on how to best pack your carry on and her awesome workout playlists. She is pure fun and I just love reading her blog, I think you will too.

The Migrant Chef – I get hungry every time I peruse through this chef’s insanely delicious looking blog posts. He apologizes for his unprofessional looking photos but I heartily disagree. His photos are beautiful, they are well lit and nicely showcase the beauty of his food. If a photo can make you drool, then it is doing it’s job and his photos do just that. His recipes are vast and varied. With dishes ranging from minestrone soup to a decadent looking lamb shank, you will be sure to find something to suit your tastes.

The Friendly Fig – I actually just came across this gorgeous blog about a week ago. The authors are two women, Bianca and Sara who share vegetarian/vegan recipes, (vegan cherry donuts anyone?) cruelty free beauty products, fun playlists and photos of hip fashion that they love. Their pictures are high quality and visually captivating, their vibe is young, fresh and forward thinking. They are totally my style and I am thrilled to have found them. Follow them, you’ll be happy you did.

Now that the love has been spread, onto my weekly inspirations. My week has been full of inspiration so I happily have much to share with you.

Inspiration #1: Sprouts!

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I am so excited to report that I started sprouting! I’ve been wanting to do it for years and I finally got down to it this week. Sprouted food is higher in enzymes, fiber, vitamin content and essential fatty acids than it’s non sprouted cohorts. Sprouts are also alkalizing to your body. An acidic body can be a host to all manner of illness, so sprouts help to bring the body to a healthier place of alkalinity. I got this really nifty sprouting tray that takes any guess work out of the process. I soak my seeds, place them in the tray, water them three times a day and within 2 days, the sprouting had already begun. By day 7 my sprouts were completely finished and ready to enjoy. Since I have so little counter/storage space in my home this upright tray makes more sense for me than having a few mason jars sprouting at a time. I love this tray, I love my sprouts and they are happily inspiring my insides as we speak. 🙂

Inspiration #2: My little Marvel.

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This girl has blown the lid off of me. Sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore. Sometimes I don’t know how I ever breathed a breath without her. Forever I am head over heels in love with this funny little girl named Marvel. Our connection has gotten stronger this last week. With every personal stride she makes, our bond seems to strengthen along with it. She looks at me these days with the knowing look of an old soul. She runs into my arms and holds me tight, cooing as she squeezes. Sometimes she just holds me like that for 2-3 minutes, which is a veritable lifetime for a wiggly toddler. I’ve never known such heart expanding happiness. As hard as it is to be a mother, the joy that is possible in a single moment has the power to wipe all of the other bullshit away.

Inspiration #3: This gorgeous piece of art hanging in my dining room.

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I love art. Who doesn’t right? It can capture about a million emotions in one frame. It has the power to illicit completely different reactions in each observer. It is timeless. It is the beauty of the human spirit translated into something tangible. This gorgeous piece was painted by my great friend, Ruby Lee. She is a work of art herself. This girl is my friend, my sister and she painted this just for me. In fact it is me, a modeling shot I did a few years ago. She painted it per request of my husband for my 30th birthday. The fact that she spent hours and hours creating art just for me brings tears to my eyes. It’s perfect and it inspires me everyday. This reminds me of the love of a great friend and of the infinite creative possibilities that live in each one of us.

Inspiration #4: The sun. (Because I couldn’t pick just 3!)

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This past week the Bay Area has been enjoying absolutely perfect weather. The sun has been offering up it’s delicious rays while a slightly crisp coastal breeze has been cooling us off just when the heat gets too intense. In this sun I have been playing outdoors with Marvel and my camera, I’ve been hiking with great friends, I’ve been outside so much that I’m even sporting a little sunburn. Hello summer in February! Nothing inspires me more than playing outside in the sun. Now if I can just get myself to the beach to breathe in that ocean air, I’ll really be winning! 🙂

 

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Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream with Raw Caramel Sauce

Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream with Raw Caramel Sauce

Are you salivating yet? Just typing out the title got my mouth watering. Butter pecan is my all time favorite ice cream. Wait, that’s not totally true, coffee is pretty damn high on my favorite list too. Okay, butter pecan and coffee are my two favorites. Hmmm…. but what about salted caramel? I looooooove salted caramel. Then of course there’s trusty vanilla, with it’s simple unpretentious flavor that transports you right back to the good old days of Chinese jump rope, cassette tapes and chasing ice cream trucks in the summer. Ok scratch that. Butter pecan is ONE of my favorites but honestly if it’s cold, creamy, sweet and fits nicely stop a crusty cone, I’m scarfing happily, enjoying my good fortune.

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back, my darling bought me an ice cream maker for Christmas. Since then I’ve pulled it out twice and attempted to create a vegan chocolate ice cream. Both times the flavor was spot on, and both times the texture was a disaster… well, as much as chocolate soup can be a disaster. It was still sweet, it was still rich, it was still chocolate and we still slurped it right up. Still, a tasty chocolate soup was not what I was after. So after realizing that my instructions were missing (damn trolls!) I looked them up online and got to work a third time on making some killer vegan ice cream. This time…. Success!! Turns out my freezer wasn’t cold enough. Easily remedied and now that it has been, check out this rich, decadent dairy free ice cream right here. You want, right? Of course you do. 😉 Here’s the recipe, lovelies.

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Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup pecans

Process

  1. Soak cashews for 4 hours. If you don’t have that long, you can heat the water before you soak the nuts, that will soften them quicker.
  2. Place all ingredients, except the pecans, in a high speed blender and blend until thick and creamy
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled – 3-4 hours.
  4. Once chilled, pour into pre-chilled ice cream maker bowl and make according to directions.
  5. While ice cream mixture is chilling, toast your pecans.
  6. Roughly chop pecans and place in skillet.
  7. Heat until pecans just become fragrant

I think we can all agree, ice cream is plenty good enough on it’s own but I think it’s exponentially better with the right topping. It just so happened that I had a jar of caramel sauce sitting in the fridge waiting for the perfect vehicle to showcase it’s brilliance. What better vehicle is there for caramel than ice cream? None other than my mouth maybe and my mouth got plenty of it during the creating process. My mouth really has the best job! This caramel sauce is pretty epic. I’ve been dipping into the jar more often than I’d like to admit. I just can’t help myself! It’s rich and creamy and the flavor while touting the obvious caramel notes, also reminds me of a gourmet nougat. I die! So good. I hope you will all enjoy this as much as I do. I have other delicacies in mind to create with this caramel in the future. There are no limits to what it can do. 🙂

Raw Caramel Sauce

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 almond milk
  • 4 dates soaked in 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

Process

  1. Soak dates for 30 minutes to an hour
  2. Place all ingredients including date water in high speed blender
  3. Pour on ice cream, use as a dip for fruit or just use a spoon and dig in!
  4. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container
  5. The coconut oil will solidify in the cold so let it sit out in a warm area to get all melty again, or use a double boiler to gently warm

 

Get to work on making your tastebuds happy.
XO
Sam

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DIY Beach Day Texturizing Hair Spray

DIY Beach Day Texturizing Hair Spray

I was fortunate enough to grow up in sunny Southern California, where the weather is always perfect. During the summer, I spent most weekends at the beach, soaking up yummy rays and swimming in the ocean. My skin was always sun kissed and my hair always boasted that effortlessly tousled, perfectly set waviness. In the winter when the beaches were a chilly 60 degrees, 😉 I’d have to find alternative ways to mimic that beach day hair. The first hair product that I ever purchased was a beach blonde salt spray by John Frieda. I looooved that stuff. It really did achieve that perfect bouncy beach wave that I got organically from a day of swimming in the ocean and lounging in the salty sea air. The problem with John Frieda? I mean I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy but just look at the ingredient list for my favorite spray,

WATER, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, ALCOHOL DENAT., PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SALICYLIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE, FRAGRANCE, PVP, CITRIC ACID, SEA SALT, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BENZOPHENONE-4.

Water, I know that stuff! And sea salt sounds familiar, awesome. Fragrance… well that’s vague. The other stuff? Can’t pronounce it, don’t want it on my body. Period.

Although it’s raining today here in the east bay of a Northern California, I woke up craving the beach. These last few weeks have been hard for me, my mood has been low and my energy non existent. I’m going to get some thyroid testing done on Monday to investigate whether an under active thyroid may be the cause of my issues. For now, I think I just need some more Vitamin D in my life. My hair, straight and listless is begging for some bounce. I decided that some natural, chemical and preservative free hair love might turn that frown upside down. I’ll tell you, it certainly helped. John Frieda’s got nothing on this stuff. 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Hot filtered water
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp Meadowfoam seed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Argan oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Jojoba oil
  • 1/2 tsp Vitamin e
  • 5 drops Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp mica powder (*optional)

Process

  1. Using a glass bowl on top of a tea kettle, heat up water.
  2. Add sea salt and mix until dissolved
  3. Add glycerine and stir until incorporated
  4. Next add all oils and mix together
  5. Take bowl off of the heat
  6. Add in mica and essential oils and stir to incorporate
  7. Using a funnel, pour contents into an airtight spray bottle and store in the refrigerator for several months.
  8. Shake bottle before each use.

*The mica in this recipe gives a really beautiful pearlescent shimmer to the hair, I love it. If you don’t have it on hand and aren’t interested in purchasing it, just leave it out, it is completely optional.

Another note- Meadowfoam oil is full of long chain fatty acids. It’s great for hair because it adds moisture without that greasy feeling and adds a beautiful shine. If you don’t have it on hand however, just use melted coconut oil, more jojoba or argan.

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Look at this lovely ‘just spent a day at the beach’ texture! My hair is naturally pretty stick straight so this is an awesome result.

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My little Marvel just had to try some too. Her hair naturally waves due to her Daddy’s curly, absolutely luscious black hair. This spray definitely defined and enhanced what she was already graced with. Just look at those curls!! ❤

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All natural healing salve – soothes diaper rash and more!

All natural healing salve – soothes diaper rash and more!

Diaper rash sucks, plain and simple. To watch your sweet little girl endure a red, inflamed, bumpy rear end is just no fun. Sucks, sucks, sucks I tell you. I let her run around most of yesterday without a diaper on to allow her skin to air out. This led to many pee soaked towels… Nothing I can’t handle. The big poo we had to remove from the kitchen floor was my favorite part though. Hey, if she had gone in her diaper we would have had to scrape the smashed poop from all over her butt cheeks, so maybe we were given a gift this time. No one ever said being a mother was glamorous, no one.

You don’t need to have wee ones to find benefits for this balm. It can be used as a calming salve for skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, to treat minor scrapes or rashes, soften cuticles or simply to moisturize chapped skin. If you do have little ones I would say this treatment is hands down the best way to soothe diaper rash. In the 21 months that I’ve been a mama to my Marvel she has gotten maybe 4 or 5 diaper rashes. She’s one of the lucky ones, that’s for sure. When a rash has flared up in the past I have used arrowroot powder, shea butter or even an organic store bought butt paste. This method has proven more effective than all of them. I whipped this up quicker than you can say the ingredients out loud, slathered her irritated bum with it and within a few hours it was a few bumps away from being completely cleared up. I wish I would have gotten a before and after picture for you but it totally escaped me in all that bodily function cleaning mayhem.

All you do to make this is mix 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil with a 5-10 drops of tea tree and/or lavender essential oils. That’s it. For reals! Totally effective, all natural rash soother. Like I said earlier, this mixture would be wonderful for healing minor cuts, scrapes, burns, bug bites, chapped skin, the list goes on.

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Coconut oil is incredible. It contains lauric acid, which kills harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Breast milk is the only other natural source that contains such a high concentration of lauric acid. So unless your boobs are secreting this miracle liquid, get yourself some coconut oil. It’s a hippies Neosporin – but you can eat it and it smells like a tropical vacation. It rocks my proverbial socks off. If you don’t keep coconut oil in your house at all times I would strongly suggest you do. It’s awesomeness knows no bounds! I get mine from Costco. The brand they carry, Nutiva is organic and responsibly farmed. It’s the cheapest organic coconut oil I’ve found at $28.00 for 78 oz. Killer deal!

XO
Sam