Monday, November 01, 2021

Pumpkin Cheesecake [raw]

This “pumpkin” cheesecake actually has no pumpkin at all, but you wouldn’t know it! Spot the secret ingredient. We enjoyed this deliciously spiced cheesecake for Dan’s birthday, during our October raw food detox. I use exactly the same spices in a non-raw version of this cake but I think I prefer this version over the traditional baked one.

Makes one 10” [25cm] cheesecake, 12-16 servings. Use a 6” tin and halve the recipe for a smaller cake.

Pastry layer

  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked in water and drained
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted 
Process until the mixture holds together. Press onto the base of a lined or nonstick 10” [25cm] round cake tin. I use one with a removable base.

  • 6 cups desiccated unsweetened coconut, soaked in water for at least an hour, then drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups raw carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao butter
Melt the last two ingredients in a glass jug sitting in a bowl of warm water. Blend coconut, water, maple syrup, salt, vanilla, spices, carrots, melted oil and cacao butter in a blender until thick and creamy. Pour into the pastry base and freeze 4-5 hours until firm. Remove from freezer an hour before serving. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the cheesecake before slicing and serving.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Raw October: week 4

 We’ve been experiencing an unusually balmy October, but the weather is gradually changing. After a few nippy days, I'm really missing hot drinks. During cold weather I can usually be found alternately clutching or losing my cup of tea or coffee, whether I’m working around the house or sitting down during our reading times. This is the first week on the detox that I’ve been craving warm food and drinks and it feels as if this directly relates to the weather! I was definitely running out of creative energy for making raw food by the end of the week, and it shows in our repetitive meals.


Breakfast: mixed berry cacao smoothies

Lunch: dates & walnuts with almonds and lime cashew bites

Tea: rainbow carrot and green cabbage coleslaw with sprouted mung beans and greens


Breakfast: muesli with strawberries, blueberries, mango, apples, bananas, & Brazil nuts, coconut milk

Lunch: leftover coleslaw with sprouted wild rice and kale marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, & raw honey

Tea: raw taco salad with taco mixture, cashew cream, homemade raw salsa, & green olives


Breakfast: muesli with apples, banana, mango, Brazil nuts, coconut milk

Lunch: leftover raw taco mixture in romaine leaves and red pepper, marinated kale, avocados

Tea: raw tabbouleh & marinated kale over green salad


Breakfast: mixed berry cacao smoothies 

Lunch: leftover raw tabbouleh with avocados

Tea: green salad with grated rainbow carrots and beets, red peppers, cucumber, cashew dressing, salsa, and avocados


Breakfast: purple smoothies

Lunch: carrot sticks, chocolate chia bites, green salad with guacamole

Tea: salad of mixed greens, red onions, kalamata olives, red peppers, lemon & olive oil dressing


Breakfast: mixed berry smoothies

Lunch: greens with grated beetroot and carrot, sprouted mung beans, sprouted wild rice, cashew dressing with mustard

Tea: purple cabbage and rainbow carrot coleslaw, avocados


Breakfast: mixed berry smoothies with cacao

Lunch: green salad with purple cabbage and rainbow carrot coleslaw, sprouted mung beans

Tea: salad of greens with beetroot and red onion, cashew lime bites


Breakfast: mango, peach & carrot smoothies

Lunch: green salad with grated beetroot, sprouted mung beans, & cashew dressing with mustard

Tea: green salad with grated beetroot, sprouted wild rice, cherry tomatoes, & cashew dressing with mustard


Breakfast: purple smoothies

Lunch: curried cabbage salad with cashews and sesame seeds

Tea: leftover curried cabbage salad, green salad, guacamol├ę, salsa

On Sunday we had muesli for breakfast but friends were round for lunch and I made a roast dinner: chicken, roast potatoes, gravy, veggies, and blackberry crumble with pouring custard. Dan and I both ate cooked food but also had green salad with our meal. 

Even though we’re no longer detoxing, we continue to eat raw breakfast [either muesli or smoothie] and often keep to a raw lunch as well. It’s much easier to do a full detox when you’re already used to eating a large proportion of raw meals!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Raw October: week 3


Breakfast: cacao & mixed berry smoothie

Lunch: green salad with carrot, walnuts, green apples, oil & vinegar, sprouted wild rice

Tea: salad of spring greens, sprouted mung beans, pea shoots, sprouted wild rice, walnuts, dried cranberries, & cashew dressing


Breakfast: muesli with Brazil nuts, bananas, and apples

Lunch: snacks (nuts, dried fruit)

Tea: raw taco filling in romaine lettuce leaves with cashew cream, chopped coriander, limes, and fresh homemade salsa


Breakfast: muesli with bananas, apples, & mango

Lunch: snacks (nuts, dried mango), coconut lime bites

Tea: salad with greens, leftover raw taco filling, beetroot, carrot, peppers, olives, & cashew dressing


Breakfast: smoothies with oranges, mixed berries, & cacao

Lunch: salad with greens, sprouted wild rice, cashew dressing, & kalamata olives.

Tea: salad with greens, romaine lettuce, homemade salsa, cashew cream, fresh jalape├▒o, & walnuts


Breakfast: smoothies with mixed berries 

Lunch: greens with walnuts, sprouted wild rice, cranberries, cashew dressing

Tea: salad with greens, romaine lettuce, grated carrots & beets, avocados, sprouted mung beans, cherry tomatoes, olives, cashew dressing with mustard


Breakfast: mango, carrot, pineapple smoothies

Lunch: salad with greens, grated purple carrot, sliced cabbage, walnuts, dried cranberries, & cashew dressing with mustard 

Tea: green salad with raw tabbouleh


Breakfast: purple smoothies

Lunch: salad with greens and romaine, grated rainbow carrots, sprouted mung beans, cashew dressing, garden tomatoes, & red onions

Tea: salad with greens, grated rainbow carrots, sprouted wild rice, cherry tomatoes, & cashew dressing

Snacks: dried fruit and nut mix, dried mango, coconut lime bites, chocolate chia energy bites, bananas, apples, raw ice cream.

Creamy Cashew Dressing & Sweet Coconut Cashew Cream [raw]

This deliciously creamy dressing has been our family’s go-to salad dressing for many years. I like to use it for coleslaw, green salads, and as a substitute for sour cream. Even if you’re not eating raw or vegan, it’s just one more way to lower your dairy consumption in a meal.

Creamy Cashew Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked overnight or for at least a few hours
  • 2-3 Medjool dates [when not eating raw you could use a few TBS maple syrup instead]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
Blend to a cream, adding water until the consistency you want is reached. For a sour cream substitute, obviously you want to use less.

  • Italian-style creamy dressing: add a few handfuls of fresh basil and oregano or a tsp each of dried, as well as 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • Mustard: add 1 TBS wholegrain mustard [can add 1 TBS raw honey too, for a honey mustard dressing]

Sweet Coconut and Cashew Cream

  1. Soak one cup raw cashews and 1 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut in water overnight or for at least a few hours
  2. Pour out most of the soaking water and add 4 TBS maple syrup [or 6 Medjool dates if you’re keeping it raw] and 1/2 tsp almond extract
  3. Blend with either a hand blender or standalone until creamy.
  4. Store in fridge for up to five days.
Use as a dip with any fruit or as a raw icing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Raw October: week two

This week contained an unparalleled treat: Dan and I celebrated our October twentieth anniversary by going out for lunch... during our thirty day raw detox! We went to Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe in Indianapolis and enjoyed Buddha bowls as well as raw desserts. Driving such a distance to go out to eat during a detox is no small sacrifice, but Dan took a day off work and I gave myself a day off from the fall cleaning operation that beset our home this week. Besides, I had plenty of knitting time as Dan did all the driving!


Breakfast: muesli with apples, Brazil nuts, bananas, & homemade coconut milk

Lunch: avocados and cherry tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic

Tea: green salad with cashew dressing, coconut meal, olives, yellow peppers, rainbow carrots, and cucumber


Breakfast: muesli with apples, bananas, Brazil nuts, almonds & homemade coconut milk

Lunch: carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, apples, & spiced chocolate chia bites

Tea: taco salad with taco filling, greens, cashew cream, homemade salsa, avocados.

Dan’s birthday cake: raw pumpkin cheesecake


Breakfast: smoothies with blueberries

Lunch: green salad with leftover taco filling, cherry tomatoes, olives, avocados, cashew dressing, fresh coriander

Tea: watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, almonds, coconut lime bites


Breakfast: smoothies with mixed berries

Lunch: spinach and beet leaf salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, sprouted wild rice, cashew dressing

Tea: green salad with leftover taco filling, sprouted wild rice & sprouted mung beans, avocado, cherry tomatoes, homemade salsa


Breakfast: smoothies with mango and mixed berries

Lunch: walnuts, almonds & dried cranberries, apples

Tea: broccoli salad with dried cranberries, cashews, cashew dressing, & red onion


Breakfast: smoothies with mixed berries & cacao

Lunch: Buddha bowls with kale, greens, raw hummus, raw falafel, carrots, & beets. 

Tea: Raw key lime cheesecake & raw walnut cacao cake


Breakfast: smoothies with mixed berries & cacao

Lunch: kale marinated in lime juice & olive oil with grated carrots & beets, spinach & beet leaves, kalamata olives.

Tea: leftover broccoli salad with the addition of grated beets, green apples, & sprouted mung beans.

Snacks: Fruit, dried fruit and nut mix, chocolate chia spice bites, coconut lime bites.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Raw October: Week One

This is the first time we’ve done a raw food detox with two of our older kids joining us, for this first week at least! Fortunately our twin who’s NOT doing the raw food detox helpfully shouldered most of the responsibility for cooked food this week. 

We used old recipes and I created a few new ones. One of my favourite things about food preparation is the opportunity for creativity. I love thinking about which flavours I want to experience in a meal and how to craft recipes that reflect that. 

 Friday, 1st

Breakfast: mixed berry smoothies

Lunch: spinach and kale salad with plenty of sunflower seeds, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and creamy cashew dressing

Tea: Carrot pasta bowls [carrot ribbons marinated in olive oil and lemon juice with olives, leeks, and basil] eaten with mung bean sprouts and pea shoots

Saturday, 2nd 

Breakfast: “purple” smoothies [with dragonfruit & blueberries]

Lunch: broccoli salad with red onions, sunflower seeds, raisins, green apples, and cashew dressing

Tea: raw tacos with cashew cream and fresh salsa

Sunday, 3rd 

Breakfast: muesli with almonds, almond milk, apples, and bananas

Lunch: curried cauliflower and cashew mash, green salad with cashew dressing, raw sprouted chickpea hummus with carrots, peppers, celery sticks

Tea: smoothies with mixed berries and cacao

Monday, 4th 

Breakfast: muesli with almonds, almond milk, apples, bananas, and mango

Lunch: smoothies with mixed berries and cacao

Tea: chef’s salad with mung bean sprouts, romaine, rainbow carrots, onions, tomatoes, radishes, sunflower seeds, kalamata olives, coconut meal leftovers from homemade coconut milk, & cashew dressing

Tuesday, 5th

Breakfast: peach & carrot smoothies 

Lunch: red cabbage and carrot coleslaw with cashew dressing & sunflower seeds

Tea: sweet & sour stir “fry” with sprouted mung beans and sesame seeds

Wednesday, 6th

Breakfast: mixed berry smoothies

Lunch: leftover coleslaw with cashew dressing, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, & chopped apples

Tea: garlic lover’s salad with sprouted mung beans

Thursday, 7th 

Breakfast: muesli with Brazil nuts, almond milk, apples, & bananas

Lunch: raw vegetable chilli with green salad and almond meal leftovers from almond milk

Tea: smoothies with mixed berries & cacao

Snacks: dried fruit and nut mix, raw Lara bars, apples, bananas, carrot sticks with raw hummus, chocolate chia bites, watermelon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Almond Milk & Coconut Milk Recipes

There’s a creamier version of homemade almond milk in the raw breakfast recipe here. But another version I use nowadays, making raw milks in larger amounts, is this one:
  • 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight
  • 5 cups water

For coconut milk:
  • 1 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • 5 cups water

Blend until creamy, about two minutes on high speed, depending on your blender.

Both coconut or almond milk can be poured through a bag that removes the meal to make them smoother. Use the meal to top green salads, in raw snack balls, in raw pie crusts, or in cooked food like cookies or pancakes.

Freshly made milk can be stored in mason jars in the fridge for as long as they last-- not long around here! Both coconut and almond milks, stored in a closed jar, will stay fresh for at least a week in the fridge.

Breakfast Smoothies 2

This is an updated version of our old smoothie recipe, which you can find here.  This newer version is the one we’ve been using for the past six years or so. The fruit content has changed slightly and I’ve removed some of the nuts. This is a basic recipe, but below it I’ve included some yummy ideas for combinations. Use your imagination!

Currently, our morning batches of smoothie are quite large, but I’ve written this recipe in single serving quantities so you can double, triple, or quadruple as needed! You can also multiply the recipe and save extra in a mason jar in the fridge for the next day.

Makes one portion

The night before you plan to have smoothie, soak in a jar or glass jug (either in fridge or covered on the countertop):

  • 2 heaping tablespoons steelcut oats
  • 2 heaping tablespoons desiccated unsweetened coconut 
  • 1 Brazil nut (optional)
  • 1/2 pitted Medjool date
In the morning, add the soaking mixture to a blender container along with 1/3 of an apple and 1/3 of a banana. Add 1/4 cup of another fruit: berries or anything else you like, really. [see below for additions to change the flavor!] All fruit can be either frozen or fresh; whatever is most available. Add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Fill the blender container to the 2-cup mark and blend well. [about 6-8 oz water, measured]

  1. Blueberry Cacao - 1/4 cup blueberries, small piece of avocado, small piece of fresh pineapple, 1/4 cup homemade almond milk, one heaping tablespoon cacao powder, few drops of vanilla extract.
  2. Blueberry Lemon - 1/4 cup blueberries, handful of greens like spinach or kale, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon rind, piece of fresh pineapple, one tablespoon grated fresh beetroot, few drops of almond extract. 
  3. Carrot Cake - two pecans, 1/4 cup homemade almond milk, one piece of pineapple, 1/4 cup grated fresh carrot, a bit of lemon peel, 1/4 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon, 1 tsp maple syrup, a few drops vanilla extract.
  4. Mango Strawberry - three or four strawberries, 1/4 cup mango pieces, one tablespoon grated fresh carrot.
  5. Peach & Carrot - 1/3 peach, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, one tablespoon grated fresh carrot, few drops vanilla extract.
  6. Pineapple Cream - (add two pecans & two Brazil nuts to the soaking mixture) two large pieces fresh pineapple, 1/4 cup homemade almond milk, a few drops almond extract.
  7. Pineapple Strawberry - three or four strawberries, 1/4 cup fresh pineapple pieces, 1/4 cup homemade almond milk.
  8. Purple - 1/4 cup blueberries, one piece of frozen dragonfruit, one small piece of pineapple.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Community and Beyond

I’ve been reading through past blog posts to inspire me for an upcoming raw food detox that we’re doing, and came across one that I’d written over ten years ago. It’s made me think about how much more we understand the purposes of God for us as a family than we did ten years ago.

The ten year old post definitely deserves a postscript-- an update. Ten years on, we are living in another culture and cultivating a different community, understanding more than we did in those days.

When Dan and I first began to spend time together as a couple, we did so in community. We spent more time with others than we did alone. Even our alone times were spent in the Blue Cafe, where we regularly went for coffee and built relationships with the staff who worked there even as we worked on building our own relationship. Opening our lives to others has been at the core of who we are as a couple from the very beginning; it was what had been modelled to us by those who were discipling us. This continued on into our early married life as we opened the door of our tiny flat with open house evenings including multiple young people, dinners with other couples, coffee and tea with friends, squeezing them into our space along with our twin babies who came along at the end of our first year of marriage. We moved up the hill to a home that, though small, had a design that was excellent for the open door lifestyle that we felt characterised our purpose. We had small group meetings, game nights, Sunday lunches for students, birthday celebrations, and other families with children over to play. Opening our home also meant inviting others to stay for extended periods: friends and family in need, exchange students, overseas visitors. Eventually we had a Sunday evening open house, which allowed others to bring friends along. We didn’t know everyone who came, but eventually they all became part of community, living life with us. It was never easy. 

After ten years of this revolving door, we moved to the US. At first it felt like a break, a long holiday. Then we began to look around us to find the people who God was calling us to do life with. Sure enough, after a while we began to realise who they were and we began the process of building community again. Now in another home, another place, our door is open and though it looks a little different, in many ways it’s exactly the same. Our home is a place for connecting with others, sharing life, praying through difficult times, and seeing God work in the lives of many. Our children have grown up in this understanding, and they know that though we do set aside specific family-only nights, our home belongs to others, too.

As I wrote in the original blog post, loving people as if they were Jesus creates community. There’s no special treatment given to those I can gain from as opposed to those who have nothing to give. Sometimes the house is neat and tidy when people walk through our door; at other times it’s chaotic and not very clean. Sometimes we are struggling with our attitudes and have little to offer; at other times our spirits are connecting to God’s Spirit and we have encouragement and wisdom to give. We are honest and open in those times that things are not going well; we don’t avoid communication or people and don’t pretend that everything is all right when it’s not. There is always welcome, though, and always a safe space.

Does creating community from home look the same for everyone? No. Our callings vary, and our different levels of capacity vary, too. But we are all called to live generously. It’s not always comfortable, never easy, and requires us to be open, honest communicators. It requires us to give up our lives. We cannot remain in our own self-contained castle if we want to live generously.

There's a connection between what we do as a family and the purposes of God. Of course there's the collective purpose that God has for all of us who are following the way of the Messiah: "go and make people from all nations into disciples"; and then there are also the individual callings and spiritual giftings that help us to do that. We’ve been studying Philippians as a family, and as we read through chapter 3 the other day, I realised again how necessary it is that we ALL understand what Messiah Yeshua’s purpose --His calling-- is for each us. 

Mine and Dan’s mutual understanding of the call on our lives to create community and live with an open door has been a foundation of our lives together. We have lived this out for twenty years and are well acquainted with the ups and downs as well as, at times, our own lack in fulfilling this call to shepherd others. Our ability to live generously by opening our home to the capacity that we are able to is definitely our gifting. I know that the “open door” of our home is Messiah's purpose for us, no matter what culture we are in or where we live. It will always be that way. Our children may inherit some of that purpose from us, though it may look slightly different for them. They may be able to live generously in other ways. For this is what an open door is really all about: a tool for living generously as we pursue the goal of what it is that the Messiah took hold of us for. 

“But the things that used to be advantages for me, I have, because of the Messiah, come to consider a disadvantage. Not only that, but I consider everything a disadvantage in comparison with the supreme value of knowing the Messiah Yeshua as my Lord. It was because of him that I gave up everything and regard it all as garbage, in order to gain the Messiah and be found in union with him, not having any righteousness of my own based on legalism, but having that righteousness which comes through the Messiah’s faithfulness, the righteousness from God based on trust. Yes, I gave it all up in order to know him, that is, to be conformed to his death, so that somehow I might arrive at being resurrected from the dead. It is not that I have already obtained it or reached the goal-- no, I keep pursuing it in the hope of taking hold of that for which the Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers, I, for my part, do not think of myself as having yet gotten hold of it; but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind me and straining forward toward what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal in order to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in the Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, as many of us as are mature, let us keep paying attention to this; and if you are differently minded about anything, God will also reveal this to you. Only let our conduct fit the level we have already reached.” [Philippians 3.7-16]