Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two Dreamy Cashew Cream Cheese Recipes - Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free

I used to have a fairly low regard for cashews-- I didn't like getting them in the Christmas nut bowl, and I didn't like the 'after-taste' of some of the vegetarian recipes I had that contained them.  But eventually I discovered that they can be used to make extremely tasty dairy-substitutes without a pronounced cashew signature flavour.

Lemon-Coconut Cheesecake Balls studded with cranberries & Walnuts
These can be eaten any time of the year, of course, but since Christmas is coming up I thought that I would choose to make one item that was savoury and one that was sweeter.  I am particularly in love with the smoky cream cheese (that could be rolled up into a ball, no problem) and I am also nibbling a little much at the lemon cheesecake bliss balls (which I have also made into a larger cheese ball).

REMEMBER: While cashew cream cheese may not be allergenic or gluten-laden, it is still a high fat little nut and don't go too wild, or you'll end up wearing this "good fat".
LEMON-COCONUT CHEESECAKE BALL

INGREDIENTS:

Walnut-Cranberry Crust

      • 1 tsp. Coconut Oil
      • 1 C.   Walnut Halves
      • 2 tsp.  Coconut Sugar
      • 1/3 C. Dried Cranberries

Lemon-Coconut Cashew Cheesecake

  • 1 C. Cashew pieces, soaked overnight if possible (otherwise 2-4 hrs.) in water
  • 1 C. Coconut Shreds (short stuff, unsweetened, or Coconut Flour in a pinch)
  • Zest of 1 large organic Lemon (click on *zest* to learn how to do it yourself)
  • Juice of 1/2-1 organic Lemon (I used juice of entire lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of Salt
  • 2 T. Maple Syrup
MAKING THE CRUST:
  • Tools: Non-Stick Skillet, Silicone Spatula, knife for chopping nuts and cranberries, parchment-covered pan for cooling nuts
  • Chop Cranberries into small pieces and set aside
  • Grease up the Spatula (to keep the walnuts from sticking to it)
  • Heat skillet to Medium Heat 
  • Put Walnuts in pan, flat.  Sprinkle on Coconut Sugar
  • Toss and turn, flat and repeat... continue until walnuts are coated with sugar.  Be sensitive to the fragrance... don't let the walnuts burn.  In about 10 minutes, remove walnuts, single layer, to the parchment-covered tray for at least 15 minutes to cool.
  • Chop into small pieces when cool and then combine both cranberries and walnuts on a tray (could be the tray used to cool nuts)
MAKING THE CHEESECAKE BALLS 
(1 LARGE OR 2 SMALLER, OR 1 SMALL & 6 Bliss Balls)
  • Tools: Food Processor or Blender (Processor preferred), Lemon Reamer, Medium Bowl
  • Put ingredients for dough into food processor in order given
  • Process until thoroughly combined and smooth-ish.  Smoother the better.  Stop processor and clear sides when needed, pushing dough down so as to be caught by blade
  • Empty dough into a medium bowl.  Let it sit for a bit to rest.  Using your hands, shape into either 1 Large or 2 Smaller balls, or into a Smaller Ball and 6 Bliss Balls
  • Roll the balls in the Walnut-Cranberry chips
  • Put Larger balls into plastic wrap, salvaging the roundness as much as possible, and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours until set... or up to 7 days.
  • Put Bliss Ball on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and put into fridge, or just eat and enjoy!
Crust is adapted from "Healthier Candied Pecans or Walnuts" at http://hubpages.com/food/my-healthier-candied-pecans-or-candied-walnuts-recipe
Cheesecake Balls are adapted from various Lemon Bliss Ball recipes along with Crusted Cheese Ball Recipes online.

SMOKY CASHEW CREAM CHEESE 

WITH DUSTING OF SMOKED PAPRIKA



Smoky Cashew Cream Cheese with Smoked Paprika
Mmm.. as a non-veggie person, I really loved the Philadelphia cream cheese "gourmet" selections like the Salmon one and the dill style.  This is a nice combination of the two, and I get to continue on in kindness!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C./140 g. of Cashews pieces, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T. Water
  • 1 1/2 T. Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3 1/2 tsp. DILL Pickle Juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutritional Yeast (NOT Brewer's Yeast-- different critters!)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • Smoked Paprika OR Ground Black Pepper (optional)

How To Make the Smoky Cream Cheese

  • Tools: Food Processor or Blender (Processor preferred), Spatula, Small Shallow Glass Pan 
  • Put each ingredient in order into the Food Processor (except Smoked Paprika)
  • Process thoroughly until smooth 
  • Press into the shallow pan with cover or plastic wrap over, and refrigerate for 24 hours to 7 days.
  • Could be made into a ball after its 24-hour resting period (I am definitely going to try that)
This recipe was adapted from one at http://thevegan8.com/2015/08/09/vegan-smoky-black-pepper-cream-cheese/

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Be Anxious For Nothing

I love tissue paper art.  I love working with a medium that doesn't smell or end up in hard-to-remove globs on clothing or furniture.  I love the colours.  I love the fact that it is a pretty inexpensive way to express myself.  I love layering the tissue and seeing what emerges.

So, one dreary day I got out the layers of coloured paper and decided that I would do an ocean piece.  I had purchased a couple of canvases at the local Dollarama ($4 each I think), and I had a good supply of white glue from other projects for myself and my granddaughters.

I layered and cut out different configurations and layered them.  I changed the trees and mountains into just the dark band of sea along the horizon.  I did this over a series of weeks when the urge hit.  This morning I collaged a sort of seashore with some money plant husks, quinoa flakes, and a few kinds of salt: ground kelp, celtic sea salt, and some pink Himilayan salt.

Finally, after that had seemingly all come together, I ran off Philippians 4: 6-7 on the printer and cut out the words.  I arranged the words.  I glued the words.

YES-- I made a huge mistake-- that I discovered after the glue had dried and I had takent the above photo-- can you see it?  (Hint: If you are reading the above meme, then on the second line, kindly swap around the two phrases so that it reads: "...in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving..."  I felt a great deal of shame, the child of perfectionism, and a sort of anxiety reaction.  But, you know what, I have actually learned the verse and see its relevance to the mistake I've made.  And I do like the seascape, the way it turned out with spirally waves and lots of colour.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Roasted Beets with Raw Walnut Cream Cheese (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Root veggies, like carrots, potatoes, onions and beets have a high profile in Canadian winter meals.  Not only were they easily stored for most of the cold season, but they are also hearty and lend themselves to a great sense of satiety.  Today's recipe for roasted beets and raw walnut cream is an adaptation from the cookbook called Whole Foods To Thrive by one of British Columbia's stellar athletes who eats "high raw", Brendan Brazier.  My husband is a fan of Brendan's, and also really enjoyed this meal.

INGREDIENTS:
(To feed 4)
4 Beets
Method: Preheat oven to 450F/232C.  Wash up the beets (scrub if necessary) and wrap in aluminum foil.  Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  When they are cool to touch, peel off the skins and slice into strips (as I did), or cube.

FOR THE RAW WALNUT CHEESE:
1/2 C. Shelled Raw Walnuts
Juice from 1/2 Lemon, or from 1 Lime (which I used)
Zest from fruit (optional)
1 Clove Garlic
Salt to taste
Method:
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until it looks rather crumbly but creamy.  If you need to add extra juice, do.  You may use zest for extra flavor.
I found it useful to use the bowl attachment that came with my Hamilton-Beach immersion wand.  This bowl, smaller than my food processor, seems to do a better job of grinding up and creaming smaller quantities than the larger food processor or blender.  (For someone who doesn't have a food processor because of cost, this is a very effective and inexpensive way to process foods, with the great wand immersion blender as well).
Click above to see more about this blender/processor at Amazon
I used steamed chard leaves in the centre of the plate, but a green salad would also be great!

MORE WALNUT RECIPES