Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia “Cheesecake”

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

Happy early Valentine’s day… or Galentines Day… or whatever holiday you like to celebrate with heart shaped treats and little paper cards. As I’ve written about many times before, Jack and I have this Chocolate Molten Cake Valentine’s tradition. This year I switched things up a bit and made this decadent yet mostly raw raspberry “cheesecake” slice. How cute are those layers!?

A few notes about this recipe – it takes a little time for each layer to freeze before you add the next, so be sure to make this either the morning of, or the day before you’re going to eat it. Other than the time it takes to freeze, this is a piece of cake to make.

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake" Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

I have two versions below – one version uses raw cashews for the white “cheesecake” layer and the other version uses vegan cream cheese. I wanted to offer these two options because one requires a fancy high powered blender to really cream the nuts out of those cashews and the second option will work with any blender.

Both versions also taste different – if you’re used to eating “raw” desserts you will love the cashew version. It has a fresh taste that I really like. Jack preferred option 2 which tastes a little more authentically like cheesecake. The topping was inspired by the raspberry chia jam that I make all the time – but instead of jamming it, I blended it the raspberries with chia seeds to create that bright pink layer.

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

When life hands you lemons – make lemon thyme cookies! When we first planted our lemon tree I had this romantic idea that I’d be able to pick fresh lemons all year round. Obviously, I’m not good with plants or I would have known that the famous saying is literally true. You get lemons once a year and you get a lot of them. Needless to say, life has been lemony lately in many ways, but today it’s all about lovely lemony cookies.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

I must say, I made a ton of these. I tried a number of variations that were vegan, gluten free, different oils, all sorts of things. I was kind of stressing out. Some were dry, some were burned, and some flattened out like pancakes (although not good pancakes). I’m just lucky that Jack, being the kind food tester he is, made sure not a crumb went to waste.

So what did I end up with? A straightforward, delightful, lemon butter cookie. Sometimes complicated times demand simple solutions.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

This flavor combination was inspired by our new partnership with method. I’m excited to be working with them because I’ve been buying their products for years. Also, as a graphic designer, I’ve always adored their package design. They have a new line of kitchen hand wash that is scented with a variety of essential oils and it’s as functional as it is beautiful. It’s made from plant-derived ingredients and is great for some sticky kitchen situations like getting that pasty flour/water mess off of your hands. This one –  thyme – gave me the idea to try adding fresh thyme leaves to my lemon cookies.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

The recipe is pretty simple and straight forward. Mix the dough, chill the dough, and roll it out. Cut out hearts, bake them, and share with someone you love!

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

It’s Christmas week! Yay!

So… we still haven’t put up that tree, but I’ve been doing a whole bunch of baking to make up for it (for Christmas and also for other upcoming holidays).

These cookies are so good that I’ve made them quite a few times this month. We (ahem, Jack) kept eating them before actually getting around to taking photos of them. Since no one needs a January gingerbread cookie, we made them again this past weekend. Better late than never! Here we go – these spicy little guys are ready to share:

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

The cookies are naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and molasses which makes them sweet but not too sweet. They’re spiced with ginger, cinnamon and (a surprise spice) cardamom, which gives a nice warm flavor. I mixed in a little almond butter, which makes these so delicious that I couldn’t stop eating little pieces of the dough while I was mixing it together.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

You could definitely decorate these if you like – I took a more minimal approach because these are really tasty on their own, and also my decorating skills aren’t really so hot. (Remember these?)

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Make these cookies into your favorite cut-out shapes, OR take the easy (but still very delicious) way out and roll them into balls to make soft, chewy ginger cookies like these:

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Maca Cacao Hot Chocolate

Maca Cacao Hot Chocolate

Happy December! That feels so weird to say because in Texas it never truly feels like December (and I’m ok with that), but we did wake up to an especially chilly morning the other day. I went downstairs, made my daily ice cold smoothie, and brought it to my desk. I sat here shivering, realizing that I’m doing this late-fall morning thing all wrong.

Since then, I’ve been mixing up this concoction for me and Jack – it’s a healthier hot chocolate than the Swissmiss from the snow days of my childhood. Instead of cocoa, I decided to use a combo of cacao powder and maca powder. Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate and it’s packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. Maca (powder from the Peruvian maca root) has a malty vanilla flavor and it’s good for fatigue, memory, and a slew of other things.* It offers a little pick me up that’s similar but not as extreme as coffee. Perfect for a little morning boost.

I don’t actually serve this with whipped cream for breakfast, but if you’re making this for dessert go ahead and make it pretty with a dollop coconut whip (recipe below) and shaved chocolte.

Maca Cacao Hot Chocolate

These superfood powders are a bit of an investment, but stored in the fridge they last a really long time. I get mine at my local Whole Foods. They’d be great items to pick up if you’re one of the lucky winners of our gift card giveaway (just a reminder – it closes on Tuesday!).

In addition to our giveaway, Whole Foods is giving away groceries for ONE YEAR as part of their #mytradish program – click here to enter the sweepstakes.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

As a kid, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was hands down, the pumpkin pie. After the turkey was all done and the green bean casserole was divided into tupperware containers, the desserts would come out and my grandpa Donofrio would yell in a high pitched voice “Puuuuuuunkin Pieeeeee!” Always without the “m” sound because that’s the way my sister and I pronounced it back then. Years later, I would learn to prefer apple pie for dessert, but while my grandfather was at the table, his energy for pun-kin pie was infectious and this moment was the highlight of our holiday.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

But here comes the less charming part of the memory: we’d all sit around eating our pie, but my sister and I (being the picky eaters that we were) would scoop out the creamy pumpkin middle and leave the shells of our crusts behind. The adults would shake their heads. Sometime’s I’d eat the crispy edge piece, but the soggy bottom crust? No thank you.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

Which brings us to pumpkin pie parfaits! It’s what crust-less dreams are made of.

This recipe comes with a few options. I tested these a few of different ways and honestly both of these taste so good that I couldn’t choose a winner. One option uses cashews and coconut milk as the base and requires the use of a high speed blender. The other uses coconut cream and will work with any blender or food processor. In lieu of crust, I layered these with toasted chopped pecans. They are so easy and delicious, even if they are a bit of a modified tradition.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfaits