Why Soak Nuts and Seeds?

Nuts and seeds are full of nutrients and are a great way of adding substance to a vegetarian or vegan meal. They can be sprinkled on a salad, used to make sauces or cheeses and have an important role in raw desserts. With so much versatility and goodness, nuts and seeds also contain substances that interfere with the body’s ability to digest them and absorption of nutrients.

Think about it. The nuts and seeds are the potential offspring of the mother plant and in order for the plants to continue to reproduce, these nuts and seeds need to be protected. We are not the only creatures that consume nuts and seeds. So Mother Nature has ‘coated’ the nuts and seeds in phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. What are these substance? Well the phytic acid helps protect the nuts and seeds until there are proper growing conditions present which allows germinating to occur. To ensure the nuts and seeds do not sprout before the conditions are suitable, the enzyme inhibitors prevent this from happening. However the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid can cause problems in the digestive tract by either causing irritation or binding with minerals to prevent their absorption.

Soaking nuts and seeds, with a little salt, my preference is celtic sea salt, helps reduce these substance. If you then want crunchy nuts and seeds to snack on or use, then drying at a low temperature will achieve this. I dehydrate my nuts and seeds over night for about 12 – 16 hours at 46degrees in my dehydrator. This also means the nuts and seeds are still classed as raw as they have not been heated over 46 degrees.

The time for soaking, varies depending on the nut or seed. Cashews are 4-6 hours, while almonds are 12 hours. I tend to soak everything over night for the sake of simplicity.

Soaking nuts and seeds

  • 1 cup of required nut or seed
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tsp of celtic sea salt

Directions:

  • Place nuts or seeds in a glass jar and cover with the water. Add the salt and ensure the slat dissolves.
  • Ensure the nuts or seeds are completely covered. They will swell during the soaking time
  • Leave covered on the kitchen bench for at least 6 hours. I leave mine overnight.
  • Drain and rinse the nuts or seeds under fresh running water.
  • If dehydrating place on a mesh tray and dehydrate for 12 – 16 hours at 46 degrees. To confirm they are dry taste one and check for crunch. If using an oven, set the oven on the lowest temperature and dry for up to 24 hours. Continue to monitor the nuts and seeds
  • Let cool and then store i an air tight container.

What is your favourite nut or seed?

Marbled Raw Chocolate and Orange Cheesecake

I love the patterning that occurs when a cake is marbled. It means that no two pieces look the same and if the ingredients are different for each colour then each piece of cake will taste unique. 

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To add colour to cheesecakes, I have used turmeric for yellow, beetroot for a red and baby spinach for green. When people find out what the ‘secret’ ingredient is there is often surprise. So I decided to see if I could use sweet potato. As it is orange in colour I thought orange juice would go lovely with it. What goes with orange? Chocolate of course, so this was the beginning of the idea.

I’ve used doTERRA Wild Orange in this recipe to intensify the orange flavour. I use doTERRA essential oils because they are exceptionally high quality and they also food grade, that is the ones that can be ingested. If you do not have doTERRA essential oils you can either purchase them here, or add 2 Tbs of orange zest.

Coconut butter can either be purchased or made. Considering how easy it is to make and what to cost is of the purchased variety, I prefer to make my own. 4 cups of desiccated coconut into my Vitamix (high powdered blender). Start on the low setting and then turn up to the high setting. Using the tamper I push the coconut down. The coconut will start to form a liquid. Keep using the tamper until the coconut has turned into a smooth liquid. You now have coconut butter. It is that easy! There are only one tip and that is to ensure the blender jug is completely dry. Any moisture will stop the coconut butter from forming. If you do not have a high speed blender the coconut butter can be made in a food processor. It may not be a smooth though. Pour coconut butter into a storage container. I store mine in the cupboard. It does go solid (like coconut oil in cooler weather). I put container into a saucepan and then pour boiling water into the sauce pan to melt the coconut butter. Remember the storage container needs to be able to withstand the heat of the boiling water. If not it will crack. Yup I learnt that the hard way. :(

So lets begin.

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Ingredients:

Base

  • 1 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • pinch celtic sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbs filtered water


Cheesecake

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato
  • 4 drops of doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil
  • 4 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, liquid
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder

Prior Preparation:

  1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of filtered water over night with a pinch of celtic sea salt.
  2. Line 5 x 15 x 4 cake tin with baking paper.

Directions:

Base

  1. Place pecans, ginger powder and celtic sea salt into a food processor and process until breadcrumb consistency
  2. Add chopped dates and water and pulse until mixture sticks together. 
  3. Press mixture into tin to form the base.
  4. Place in freezer to set while making the filling.

Filling

  1. Drain and rinse cashews.
  2. Place cashews, orange juice, sweet potato, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a high speed blender and process until smooth.
  3. Add doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil and coconut butter and blend again.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into a bowl.
  5. Add cacao powder to blender and blend until mixed through.
  6. Remove base from freezer.
  7. Alternate spoon orange filling and chocolate filling onto the base to form a checkerboard pattern.
  8. To smooth the top, gently bang the base of the tin into the kitchen bench.
  9. Place in the fridge or freezer to set.
  10. Slice the cheesecake into pieces and then store in the freezer for a sweet treat later on.

So what do you think of this marbled cheesecake?

In vibrant health, Vicki

 

Spiced Apple Biscuits

IMG_6415The last few weeks I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen making a huge range of desserts. Why? I enrolled in Deb Durrant’s ‘Sweet‘ online course to learn more about raw plant-based desserts, the art and science. I have learnt so much and I’m looking forward to creating more of my own recipes with my new knowledge.

My first treat that I am going to share is my Spiced Apple Biscuits. I have never made raw biscuits before, in part because I didn’t know how and I had also never found a recipe. Until now. These biscuits are SO moorish and are lovely with a cup of chia tea, in front of the fire.
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs almond flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cashew flour
  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup dried apple, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1 drop doTerra Cassia Essential Oil

Prior Preparation:

  1. Soak dried apple in 3/4 cup of filtered water. Add 1 drop of doTerra Cassia Essential Oil to the soaking apples. Leave to soak for 1 hour.

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix the almond flour, cashew flour, oat flour, ginger powder, coconut sugar, cardamom and celtic sea salt.
  2. Drain the apple pieces, reserving the soaking water. Add the drained apple pieces to the bowl and mix through.
  3. Add the date paste and 2 Tbs of the reserved apple soaking water to the mixture and and gentle mix it through the dry ingredients to form the biscuit dough.
  4. If the dough is dry add more apple soaking water, 1 Tbs at a time.
  5. Spiced Apple BiscuitsPlace the dough between two Teflex dehydrator sheets and roll the dough out to about 0.5cm thick.
  6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits.
  7. Place the biscuits on the dehydrator mesh sheets and dehydrate for 12 hours at 46C.
  8. Turn the biscuits over and continue to dehydrate for another 8 – 12 hours. This will depend on how chewy or crunchy you like your biscuits.
  9. Allow to cool before storing in an air tight container in the fridge.

While I was typing up this recipe I decided to make them again as I remember how much I loved the biscuits. My Mum, who was a high school cooking teacher, (yes she even taught me but that is another story) is always interested in what I do in the kitchen and how I create dishes without cooking. Most of them she will try and she always gives me feed back. I know she loved these biscuits, because every time I went to the container for one, she would call out “I’ll have one too thanks.”

I would love to know if these become a favourite in your house.

In vibrant health, Vicki

Date Paste

Date paste is a great sweetener for so many dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for honey or maple syrup. Having some date paste in the freezer allows you to create dishes when you feel called to.
IMG_6207Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water

Prior Preparation:

  1. If dates have stones remove them.
  2. Soak dates in 1 1/2 cups of filtered water for 1 hour until soft.

Directions:

  1. Drain dates reserving the soaking water.
  2. Blend dates with 1/4 cup of soaking water, in a blender until smooth. If required add more soaking water 1 Tbs at a time.

IMG_6210The date paste should be very smooth. This can then be stored in the fridge for about 4 days. I store my date paste in the freezer. I use an ice cube tray and spoon 1 Tbs of date paste into each section. I then freeze this. Once frozen I remove the individual date paste serves and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When I need some date paste I remove the amount I need and let it defrost. A note on date paste, it will not freeze solid like water does.

In vibrant health, Vicki

 

Cashew Yoghurt

I was first introduced to Cashew Yoghurt in Deb Durrant’s Sweet Online course. This simple and easy to prepare recipe has changed my breakfasts. I definitely have a sweet tooth and enjoy chia see puddings, fruit salad and cashew creams or smoothies for breakfast. However sometimes I wanted something creamy but not the sweetness that usually goes with it. Cashew yoghurt is my answer.
img_6408.jpgIngredients:

  • 2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 capsules of acidophilus

Prior Preparation:

  1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of filtered water for 4 hours or over night

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  2. Blend cashews with 1 cup of filtered water until smooth and creamy.
  3. Open the acidophilus capsules and pour the content into the blender. Blend again to combine the acidophilus with the cashew cream. Discard the capsule cases.
  4. Pour cashew cream into a a yoghurt maker and leave for 5 – 10 hours.

IMG_6407I use an easiyo yoghurt maker. I pour boiling water into the easiyo thermos until it reaches the red shelf. I pour the cashew cream into the easiyo container, screw the lid onto the container and wrap newspaper around it. I then put this container into the thermos and leave for 5 hours. After 5 hours I then replace the original boiled water with new boiling water and again leave for 5 hours. After this second time I will taste the cashew yoghurt. If it still has a cashew taste I will once again replace the boiled water with new boiling water and leave again for 5 – 8 hours.IMG_6308
The acidophilus capsules I use are Solgar non-dairy acidophilus, as these can be used for fermentation. If you do not have Solgar non-dairy acidophilus check with the manufactures that the acidophilus capsules or powder can be used for fermentation.

I have also made the yoghurt with 1 cup of cashews and 1 cup of hazelnuts. The taste of the yoghurt has a hint of hazelnut and is a lot more tangy. I would love to hear what you think of this yoghurt.

In vibrant health, Vicki