Friday, July 22, 2011

Raw Blueberry Cheesecake and what to do with an Abundance of Bananas

Lynne, our raw food prep instructor checks out the cheesecake consistency

Years ago, one of my sons did a fun science project that surveyed people's favorite foods. Guess which dessert was mentioned the most? Cheesecake was #1. 

I'm right in there—it's one of mine as well, so I was really looking forward to tasting this! But watch out . . . nuts in the crust, nuts in the filling . . . it's a high calorie treat to save for a special occasion. But, it's dense with protein and good-for-you fats, and antioxidants.

The recipe for Raw, Non-Dairy Blueberry Cheesecake is found at Hallelujah Acres and you'll find it below.

Raw, Non-Dairy Blueberry Cheesecake

Make a crust as per the recipe or to your liking. The general recipe I use is: 2 cups nuts like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, (soaked and drained preferably), 1/2 cup pitted dates or combined with part organic raisins, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, adding teaspoons of honey (or agave) or maple syrup as needed to hold it together. Process in a food processor and press into pie pan. If you layer some coconut on the bottom of the plate, it will help to lift your piece of pie from the plate.

  • 3 ½ cups cashews (soaked 2 hours and drained)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup raw unfiltered honey
  • ¾ cup raw coconut butter
  • ¼ vanilla bean or 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Place all filling ingredients in a powerful blender like a Vita-Mix. (You could use a food processor, but it won’t make it as creamy.) Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour onto crust. Cover and place in freezer until firm.

What to do with an Abundance of Bananas

 Frozen Banana/Fruit Ice Cream

We are fortunate to get 5 lbs. of bananas for 19 cents/lb on Wednesdays at the local grocery store. So for a year now, my oldest son would pick up 5 lbs. after work, and my husband and I would pick up 5 lbs. each. That's a lot of bananas! When Benjamin (son #3) was still living at home, he'd eat a bunch but I'd always have leftover ripe bananas. Sometimes I'd make banana bread, and then I'd  peel and cut-up the rest, and place them in zip-lock bags to freeze. These would be used in fruit smoothies for sure, but after so many weeks, the banana bags were piling up in the freezer. What to do with them all?

Make frozen banana ice cream and flavor it with any choice of frozen fruit or berries. Mix it up! Just use the blank attachment for your juicer (not the one with holes in it for juicing). Push the frozen fruit chuncks through your juicer and it comes out like smooth soft ice cream. You can then freeze what you don't eat right away. Ice cream could also be made in a powerful blender. This has got to be my favorite raw treat—especially with frozen blueberries or strawberries . . . yum.

Raw Frozen Fruit and Cookie Dessert topped with Banana Ice Cream

How did we make this banana split-like concoction? Split a banana on the bottom. Top that with fresh or frozen fruit, add a raw cookie and top with banana ice cream. Fabulous! Especially on a hot summer day.

Lynne's Raw Cookie:

Process in food processor:
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
1 Banana
2 Apples
Grind to powder in coffee grinder: 1/2 cup flaxseeds or flax meal

Mix all this with:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut
1-2 T carob powder (optional if want chocolate taste)
Can add cinnamon or nuts or roll them in seasonings before drying

Form into flat cookies as thin or thick as you like, dry overnight 105 degrees in dehydrator. Eatable while still moist or dry them crisp.

Fruit Roll-ups

Did you know that you can dehydrate smoothie mixtures? Take those leftover bananas and mix with other fruits in a blender. Spread on teflex dehydrator sheets and dry them. You'll need to flip them onto the regular mesh dehydrator sheets after several hours when they hold together better. When ready to flip, put the regular tray on top of your teflex sheet with mixture on it and flip it, and help lift it around the edges with a knife or utensil. When dry, roll them up or tear up in pieces. These are a delightful snack.

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” 
—Edward Stanley

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