Raw Vegan Banana Coconut Cream Pie

Busy weekend coming up! Last weekend was the Frankie Tribute Weekend in Toronto which was a huge success but kicked my butt. I’m the primary organizer for the event and it was the culmination of months of work. Exhausting but completely worth it.

I was feeling under the weather last week and unfortunately had 7 days of laryngitis which carried right through the big weekend. I’ve also had some trouble with my eyes so I haven’t been able to wear my contact lenses lately. Time for another juice feast!

No rest for the wicked! Tomorrow is Niagara VegFest which will be a big weekend for my Health Nut products, followed by the Toronto Raw Vegan Festival next weekend which is even bigger! I’ve got 400 cheese (yes 400!) aging in a special fridge and about two dozen cases of nut butter ready to go. We’re also making some raw vegan cheese skewers with grapes for people to try.

Busy busy. But I can’t neglect this Sunday’s Conscious Eating Niagara potluck! Doug McNish will be coming along and very thoughtfully my friend Karen just gave me a copy of his new cookbook, Eat Raw, Eat Well, so I can have it signed.

Somehow I managed to have a bit of free time today to make my potluck item. I decided to whip something up using ingredients I already had at home. The result is an absolutely delicious Banana Coconut Cream Pie. I love my plain Coconut Cream Pie recipe too, but this is a nice alternative. The real vanilla bean really brings out the vanilla flavour. Delicious!

Banana Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients
  • 6 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 tsp real vanilla bean powder – the best part, artificial vanilla wouldn’t be the same in this recipe
  • 1 tiny scoop of NOW stevia, about 1/8 of a tsp (***WARNING: some stevia is gross, this is the only brand I’ve tried that I would recommend)
  • teensy pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Directions
  1. Blend the coconut flakes and coconut oil in the food processor to make coconut butter. Scrape the sides frequently and be patient. It takes a while6 cups of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
  2. Add the bananas and blend some more.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and adjust to taste.
  4. Pour the filling into your crust of choice and set in the freezer for at least an hour to set.

For my crust this time around, I used pecans, dates and because I was low on dates a few prunes too. I also through in some cinnamon ’cause I felt like it. You can read more about raw vegan pie crusts here.

Chachi & Mandi Gould

Point & Curl with Chachi at the 2012 Frankie Tribute Weekend.

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Raw Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Chaga!

Chemotherapeutic Ice Cream? 

For the May Conscious Eating Niagara potluck I’m bringing ice cream made in my shnazzy new machine. I had planned to make something chocolaty, maybe with caramel or cherries again, but when I started to make the base and added in the pure vanilla bean powder it was too delicious so I left well enough alone.

The secret ingredient? Instead of using plain water for this recipe, I decided to give it superfood properties and used the tonic made with Chaga mushroom powder instead! Don’t worry, Chaga does not give off even a hint of mushroom. It has an earthy tea-like quality too it that’s very subtle and it worked perfectly with the vanilla bean. And now this ice cream has chemotherapeutic properties. How cool is that?

If you’re not familiar with chaga, it’s a fabulous superfood. Here is what my friend Lee at Truly Organic Food has to say about chaga:
“The chaga mushroom is well known for its full spectrum of immune stimulating phytochemicals. It is also high in betulin or betulinic acid which is a chemotherapeutic agent, which is why the pharmaceutical industry is interested in it and is currently doing many tests on it’s constituents. Chaga is best consumed in it’s natural stated as a tea tonic, that has had time to brew over 20 hours.”<

I made this ice cream in a much larger quantity for the potluck, but here would be the recipe for a basic recipe:

  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water until plump
  • 2 cup chaga tonic liquid (or purified water)
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about 4 hours
  • 1 cup raw agave (coconut syrup or maple syrup would also be nice)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla bean
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  1. Blend your soaked cashews first with only some of the liquid to ensure that the mixture is smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours so that the mixture is cold before using your ice cream maker. I recommend over night.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream machine and enjoy!

Raw Vegan Ice Cream

My request for my birthday was an ice cream maker so that I can start to make raw vegan ice cream. I was never a big ice cream person because the heavy dairy never sat well with me, but since trying the coconut and cashew based ice creams, I’m now an ice cream convert!

I wanted to get one of the ice cream makers that uses ice and salt so that I can use it even when our freezer is really full. Also, when my father was given the Cuisinart ice cream maker that you frequently see in stores, it didn’t work well for sugar-free ice creams at all. Because it used the method where the entire bowl goes in the freezer, it just didn’t get cold enough to really solidify the ice cream so it stayed soupy.

After some research, I decided that the Hamilton Beach model would give me the most bang for the buck. Since I’m not planning to make ice cream all the time, I wanted to pick a reasonably priced machine and I settled on this one.

It took me a while to get the rock salt that’s required for the machine. I realized after requesting a salt-working machine that I didn’t know what type of salt I would need! I did a lot of research on it and it was frustrating. Ultimately, I just bought some of the salt that people would put on the sidewalk in the winter but found one that didn’t have additional chemicals in it.

Finally organized to get the ice cream party started, I asked my husband what flavour he wanted me to make first. He kept saying strawberry, which I’m not particularly keen to make straight away, so I persuaded him to choose from one of the following Vice Cream recipes that also appealed to my own taste buds.

My main picks were:

  • Black Forest
  • Pecan Pie
  • Maple Walnut
  • Maple Pecan
  • Chocolate
  • Cherry Garcia

He picked Black Forest which works for me! I didn’t have a chance to pick up frozen cherries so I ended up soaking some dried cherries in advance instead. So here’s my version of the Vice Cream recipe:

Raw Vegan Black Forest Ice cream:

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in water until plump
  • 2 cup purified water
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about 4 hours
  • 1 cup coconut syrup (agave or maple syrup would also work)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
Method:
  1. Blend your soaked cashews and water in the blender or food processor to make a smooth milk. Add the cocoa, salt and coconut syrup and blend until silky smooth.
  2. Place the mixture in the freezer for 40 minutes to 1 hour or in fridge over night. (I went with over night.)
  3. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions. Once ready, remove the cover and blade from the ice cream maker and fold in the cherries, distributing evenly. Serve immediately or transfer to containers and store in freezer till ready to use.

I think it came out really well! I might have been able to get the cashews just a tiny bit smoother if I had blended it for longer but it’s definitely tasty. The cherries are the best part. I like ice cream that has *stuff* in it. I’m looking forward to feeding some to my hubby later on when he gets home.

Raw Vegan Notella Brownie Cheesecake

Last night was our April Potluck for Conscious Eating Niagara. At the last potluck I took some requests and my friend Fabienne voted for something with chocolate so voila!

The base was a chocolate hazelnut brownie, then a chocolate coconut filling and Notella by Health Nut for the icing. It was a winner! Sugar free, gluten free, chocolaty goodness.

Brownie Base:

  • 3 cups of hazelnuts (aprox.)
  • 3 cups of dates (aprox.)
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa (aprox.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  1. Yes, these are all approximations. It might have been more hazelnuts and fewer dates. You just start by blitzing the hazelnuts in the food processor.
  2. Once it makes a fine “flour” add about half of the cocoa and then start adding the dates until it comes together into a kind of dough. If it’s too dry and isn’t coming together, add a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  3. Once this is blending up nicely into a dough, add the rest of the cocoa to taste.
  4. Voila! Press into a lightly greased spring form pan. I recommend sprinkling coconut flakes on the bottom of the greased pan before you press in the dough. It helps to prevent sticking later.
Cheesecake Layer
  • 200g dehydrated coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 800 mL of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 6 probiotic capsules (optional)
  • squirt of lemon (optional)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)
  1. If you want this to be more like real cream cheese, start by adding your probiotics to your coconut milk to soak in a bowl while you start the rest of the recipe.
  2. Blitz your coconut flakes and coconut oil in the food processor until it makes a creamy coconut butter. This takes a while.
  3. Add your coconut milk and blend. Add some lemon juice to the mix if you’d like.
  4. Once this is smooth, add your cocoa and then start to add your sweetener and taste to get the right amount of sweetness to your taste. Add a pinch of salt if you like.
  5. Pour over the brownie base and set in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Ice the cake with raw vegan Notella by Health Nut et voila!


Cheesecake

The Mighty Kale Chip

Kale chips are awesome. Everyone thinks they’re weird until they actually try them… and then they think they’re awesome! Still weird, but totally awesome too. Yum!

I made some kale chips last week for my birthday gathering and a lot of people were asking about them.

There are a lot of proper recipes out there for kale chips, both raw and cooked, but I’ll jot down my go-to ingredients for the record which follows below. However, the best kale chips I ever had were these.

Raw Garlic Kale Chips from Nouveau Raw. Click to check out her recipe.

Approximate recipe for about 2 good bunches of kale:

  • 1/4 cup of raw tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard powder or mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini and water. Then whisk in the rest of the ingredients and add more water as needed to make a quite runny sauce. Adjust the ingredients according to taste. Just be careful if you’re using mustard powder because it can be quite strong.

2 important steps:

  • Wash your kale thoroughly – there can be spiders hiding in there!
  • Cut out the stems.
Cut your kale into the desired pieces. Remember, it will shrink. Then add the kale to the large bowl with the sauce and toss it until each piece of kale is coated.
If you have a dehydrator, great. Spread it out on sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees until it’s crispy. I usually leave it overnight. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do this in the oven on a lined cookie tray at the lowest temperature with the oven cracked open. I’m not sure how long this would take in the oven so keep an eye on it.
Yum!

Superfood Pecan Pie

Another potluck has come and gone, and this time it was Pecan Pie on the menu. Specifically, raw vegan superfood pecan pie. As usual, it was a little of this and a little of that to get the right flavour. I was really pleased with it and the feedback was excellent.

These quantities are very approximate and it was to make an oversized pecan pie.

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 1/2 c. Coconut butter
  • 1/2 c. Yacon syrup
  • 1/2 c. Coconut syrup
  • 1/2 c. Coconut sugar
  • 3 to 4 tbsp of Mesquite powder
  • 2 tbsp of Maca powder
  • 2 tbsp of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1/4 c. water (or as needed)
  • And my secret ingredient… 2 scoops Sun Warrior Raw Vanilla Protein Powder
Method

Blitz the coconut butter in the food processor, then add the other ingredients slowly, in the order listed, blending every time you add something and tasting frequently. Adjust according to the consistency you want and the thickness that you’re going for. This makes a super yummy caramel kind of sauce.

Coat the pecans (about 8 cups) in the sauce. I tossed them in a separate bowl and made sure that each pecan was thoroughly coated in the caramel. Then I pressed the mixture into the pie crust and let it set in the refrigerator.

For the pie crust I made my usual almond & date crust. You can read more about pie crust options here. In this case, I used about 4 to 6 cups of almonds blitzed in the food processor with about 1 cup of dates, then pressed into a pan. You can dehydrate this for a firmer crust or leave as is. I dehydrated mine this time.

My husband couldn’t make it to the potluck but he did ask that I sneak him a piece to bring home. It’s a good thing that I set it aside at the beginning because it went really quickly!

Superfood Pecan Pie

Raw Spice Cookies

On Sunday I went to an amazing raw vegan dinner party. Our hosts, Toni and Paul, are high raw and they really know what they’re doing. Toni made a phenomenal dinner. My friend, Lee, took a lot of photos so I’ll post some once she’s got them available.

I decided to make a little something to contribute to the dinner but didn’t want to do one of my big desserts since I knew that Toni would have planned something. I decided to make some cookies… with a secret ingredient!

A lot of the raw cuisine is very dense in calories and fat. Good fat, but still too much of it when you’re looking at all the nuts and seeds in your regular meal plus dessert on top of it. So I’ve been looking for fruit and veggies that can hide in desserts and help to bulk them up in a lower calorie way.

My secret ingredient for the spiced cookies… parsnips! I love parsnips! They have a nice carrot like quality to them but also a flavour all of their own that is a bit sweet and a bit spicy. Perfect for a spiced cookie.

Equipment:

  • Food Processor
  • Dehydrator (you don’t need a dehydrator for every recipe, but it helps for cookies. Otherwise, put your oven on the lowest temperature and leave the oven door cracked open.)

Rough Ingredients:

  • 6 or 7 parsnips, shredded
  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds or other nuts of seeds of choice
  • 1/2 tablespoon+ of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon+ of ground ginger
  • cardamom to taste
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
Directions:
  1. If you have a setting for it on your food processor, start by shredding your parsnips. Remove shredded parsnip from the food processor to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Blend seeds until it starts to form a thick paste.
  3. Add dates & blitz.
  4. Add spices & blitz
  5. Add shredded parsnip & blitz.
  6. Spoon cookie dough on to dehydrator sheets. An ice cream scoop works really well. Mash down with fork.
  7. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 to 12 hours.

I really like these. They’re a nice lower calorie raw treat than some others, and I like the chewy texture. I’m sure they’d work well with carrot too. I’ll make them again, and hopefully I’ll have some more photos soon.