Sunday, March 4, 2012

Raw almost vegan strawberry cheesecake

I've recently adopted an almost raw vegan diet.  I started it out to test to see if it really did give you energy.  As many of you know, I've been struggling a lot lately with extreme exhaustion.  Not good timing with the hubby gone!  My house is an absolute disaster because I've been so tired I couldn't even stand long enough to dust! It's been a long month and a half- we are ready for Daddy to come home!  

Anyway, I tried this as a test and guess what?  It worked!  I have been up at 6:30 every morning since starting and have energy throughout the day!  I feel great and have been keeping active running, attending body sculpting class, and doing long yoga classes all week.  I've even brought Zach to the park 3 times this week and an indoor play place once.  I have had the energy to crawl through small tunnels, and chase after a walking baby (yes, he's walking now).  I haven't felt this good in a long time!

My diet has mostly consisted of TONS of fruit and vegetables, hummus, salad, baba gnash, juice, and lots and lots of nuts and seeds.  I havent felt hungry once as I'm eating a LOT.  I don't know if this is a lifestyle I will keep with.  I do enjoy some chicken and love eggs in the morning.  But for the time being, with the hubby still gone, it's working great for me.  I feel fantastic!

Awhile ago, my super healthy friend, Alicia, told me about this yummy paleo cheesecake she made.  I figured I'd look into it and guess what?  It also happens to be raw AND can be made vegan.  I was dying to give it a go, but making an entire cheesecake for one person?  Not fun.  So when my friend, Jess told me she was throwing a mini get together for her husband's birthday, I just knew this was my chance to dive into it!

The original recipe can be found on My New Roots.  I changed a few things and doubled the recipe because my pan was big and I like a tall cheesecake!  I found it extremely easy to make.  If you decide to try this though, be sure to read the recipe first and plan accordingly.  It takes some planning!  You have to start a day early!

And so, here is what I did:

Raw "vegan" strawberry cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1 cup soft Medjool dates
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Filling:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
juice of 4 lemons
2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
2/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup raw honey (This is what made it not vegan.  If you wish to make a vegan version, use agave nectar.  They don't sell it in Oki!)  (Also, I ran out of honey so used a little maple syrup to substitute) 
2 cups strawberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness. Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 10x10" pan lined with saran wrap, and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.
2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own place all filling ingredients (except berries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient).
4. Pour about 1 1/3 cups of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.  This takes a few hours.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time between making this and serving it, so it wasn't nearly done!  
5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer (what leftovers?).