Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust

Hi, my name is Mandy and I’m REALLY late to the pumpkin game. I had to squeeze it in before Thanksgiving was over because pumpkin will then be a thing of the past and we’ll be bombarded with all things Christmas and minty. Truth is, I’ve actually created a handful of pumpkin goodies this season, but obviously haven’t been very good at sharing them here – I guess I’ll be prepared for next autumn though! I’m a pro at having fun and making a mess in the kitchen, but not so good at writing down measurements, photographing, and sitting down to write a how-to post. I’m making an early resolution for next year to be better about that. Heck, since Willow is so good with writing and spelling these days, maybe she can type them up for me 😉

(super quick…I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all of your lovely comments, messages, and emails concerning my previous post. You guys are the BEST!)

The idea for this recipe came to me while falling asleep one night…like many ideas. Luckily I jotted things down before I passed out. Raise your hand if that’s happened to you! You say to yourself, “oh, I’ll remember it” and then wake up to everything all fuzzy. Good news is that this only took two trials to make it a reality! In the past, I had always made my crusts with either walnuts, almonds, or a combo of both. The idea that came to mind was for a buttery, almost cookie-like crust to be paired with a creamy, tangy filling. And how do you achieve a buttery richness without actual butter or oil??? PECANS!! And the addition of coconut butter just takes it over the edge. Baking the crust also helps bring out the butteriness and gives a nice slightly crispy texture.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH PECAN COOKIE CRUST

{vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free}

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the crust:

  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons softened coconut butter*
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
  • 1/2 cup COYO plain yogurt**
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons softened coconut butter*
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch Himalayan salt (optional)

*NOT coconut oil. To soften the butter, you can either place the jar in a bowl of hot water or gently warm some in the oven while preheating.

**I have not tried this with any other coconut yogurt. I LOVE COYO because they don’t add sweetener, gums, citric acid, or natural flavors. I also love how thick their yogurt is! If you do use a different brand, you might need to add a little more cashews.

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add the pecans into a food processor and pulse into fine pieces. Next add the remaining crust ingredients and pulse until a crust-like texture is formed (should stick together when you squeeze it with your fingers). If it doesn’t seem to hold together, then add a little more softened coconut butter.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of a springform pan until evenly spread out and gently pierce with a fork all over. I used this 7″ pan. You can use muffin/tart tins if you don’t have a springform pan*
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is golden. If using muffin tins, check at the 5 minute mark. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. While the crust is cooling, add all of your filling ingredients into a high-speed blender and mix until smooth. You can adjust the sweetness level (or salt) if desired. Once the crust is cooled, pour the filling over it and smooth out with a spatula. I also gently tap the pan against the counter to release any bubbles.
  6. Transfer the cheesecake to the freezer to chill for about 6-8 hours (best overnight). Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then slice and enjoy! Great topped with cinnamon, coconut whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.

*If using muffin tins, use a strip of parchment paper in each cup before pressing in the crust. This will make for easier removal once the cheesecake is set (see photo below).

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust

For blogging purposes, I used most of the crust in my 7″ springform pan and the remaining to make 12 mini tarts. If you do use a springform pan, I probably wouldn’t go any bigger than a 9″ because it would be a fairly thin cheesecake (crust and filling). Had I used the full recipe in my 7″ springform pan, there would be a generous layer of crust and thicker filling.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust

And here’s what the little tarts look like…I went heavier on the crust with these because I LOVE crust ❤

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust

I have another recipe coming (hopefully sooner than later) using this crust and it may or may not involve chocolate…stay tuned.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to those celebrating!

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we go through 5-6 bunches of organic kale a week. My body literally craves it! Our favorite ways to enjoy kale: lightly sauteed, thrown in a smoothie, salads and kale chips!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to chip flavors and since we’ve been on a big ranch dressing kick lately, we thought ranch kale chips would be perfect! These are so simple to throw together and you can use the leftover ranch dressing for salads, wraps or veggie burgers…or toss it with another bunch of kale!

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

My little assistant helped me tear the kale from the stems, make the dressing and happily licked the Vitamix clean…and quickly grabbed for some when the chips were finally ready! I love having these on hand for a healthy toddler snack.

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

RAW RANCH KALE CHIPS: {raw, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, vegan}

What you need:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale
  • 3/4 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw hemp seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons filtered water*

*more or less depending on the consistency you prefer.

How to:

  1. Tear the kale away from the stem into desired size, wash, and dry thoroughly. If you have a salad spinner, I highly recommend throwing the kale in there to get the excess water off.
  2. Drain and rinse your cashews; add to high-speed blender.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water to start. Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed (or desired). I used an additional 3 Tablespoons of water to make it easy to pour, but not runny. Salt to taste.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with 1/4 cup of the ranch dressing – adding more, as needed, to evenly coat the kale. A thicker coating will will lead to longer dehydrating time. You can sprinkle extra salt, hemp seeds or dill at this time.
  5. Place the kale in a single layer on your dehydrator sheets. Mine filled two Excalibur sheets. Set the temp for 105-115° and allow to dry for 5-8 hours (depending on your dehydrator, temp, and thickness of coating).
  6. Store leftover ranch dressing in an airtight container (in the fridge) and kale chips are best stored in glass jars. ENJOY!

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

RECIPE: Raw Ranch Kale Chips

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Chickpeas

Anytime I’m able to sneak a little extra protein into Willow’s food, I do it. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why we’re so protein obsessed and when it comes to Willow, we need to make sure she’s getting enough. Our naturopath concluded last year that Willow struggles with protein absorption, so her meals and snacks usually involve a little protein boost. She also used to struggle with moods and meltdowns frequently (several times a day), but when we began to keep up with her protein intake and more snacks, her moods became balanced and she could better convey what she wanted or needed. Amazing what a little change in daily routine will do. I’m working on a post that lists our favorite protein packed snacks and meals that are Willow-approved (aka picky eater approved)!

OK, moving on to this little addictive snack! We LOVE roasted chickpeas, especially when they’re crispy. The possibilities are endless with flavor ideas and ways to eat them – on salad, soup, pizza, pasta or just by the handful. I think it’s safe to say that roasted chickpeas are a favorite snack here in our house!

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Chickpeas

In my quest to give these a little protein boost, I got hit with the idea to toss them in homemade vegan parmesan!

PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKPEAS: {gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, vegan}

What you need:

  • 3 cups of cooked chickpeas*
  • 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (or low sodium veggie broth for an oil-free option)**
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Vegan Parmesan (store bought or my recipe below)
  • 1/4 tsp (or more) smoked paprika
  • salt to taste

*rinsed, dried thoroughly and I recommend removing the skins for an extra crispy chickpea! We prefer buying dried beans and cooking them up on our own as opposed to using canned or boxed – they taste so much better!

**I have tried both methods, but found that the use of coconut oil created not only a crispier chickpea, but I also preferred the flavor from the coconut oil mixed with the parmesan.

For the parmesan:

Makes approx 3/4 cups worth, so you’ll have leftovers; best if stored in a glass jar, refrigerated.

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Chickpeas

 

 

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons raw hemp seeds
  • 1-2 Tablespoons unfortified nutritional yeast (optional, but I recommend)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • salt to taste

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse your cashews, hemp seeds, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt until it is finely ground, almost powder-like. If you have a nut/spice grinder, you can also use that (in small batches) which works better to achieve a fine powder-like consistency.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss your chickpeas with the melted coconut oil or veggie broth until evenly coated. Then add in desired amount of vegan parmesan and paprika if using. You can also add extra salt if you’d like. Stir with a spatula until well combined and then spread out in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 15-20 minutes; shake the pan or stir around the chickpeas and roast for another 15-20 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Remove from oven and ENJOY! You can also sprinkle them with extra vegan parmesan, like we did. Allow them to cool completely before storing away any leftovers. We store our leftovers in a sealed glass Mason jar.

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Chickpeas

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Chickpeas

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: April Favorites

Happy May 1st!! It feels like April flew by faster than any other month – I’ve been busy trying to keep up with my independent, high-energy three-year old all while working on some major projects. With the weather warming up, we also spent most of our days outside hiking, rockhounding, exploring and pretty much just soaking up the warmth of the sun. Crazy to think that soon summer will be upon us! I’ve got a few new favorites to share with you, along with some pretty fantastic recipes I’ve fallen in love with!

APRIL FAVORITES:

Steve’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream >> Mint Cacao Chip >> I browse the non-dairy ice cream section pretty frequently – I like to see if any new products have arrived and to my surprise, this was on the shelf AND on sale! This line of ice cream is not exclusively vegan, but there are a few flavors available that are non-dairy. I immediately grabbed a pint of the Mint Cacao Chip and we opened it later that evening. Each bite was like a dream and it took me back to my childhood days of eating mint chip…the green, artificial, sugary junk – you know what I’m talking about. I could not get over the creaminess of this ice cream that I kept rereading the label to make sure I didn’t miss an ingredient. This is HANDS DOWN THE BEST ice cream I’ve ever had. Even though this is made from organic coconut cream, I did not taste it. While I enjoy the other brands that are coconut based, they tend to be overwhelming in coconut flavor. Another thing I loved about this ice cream – no weird aftertaste – just pure, fresh, minty goodness. I went back the following week and bought a pint of the Cold-brewed Cinnamon Coffee ice cream…wow! I love coffee, I love cinnamon and I LOVE the two combined. This was just as amazing as the mint. I’ve heard that there are other non-dairy flavors, but I haven’t seen them in a store near us.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

JEM >> Organic Cashew Cardamom Spread >> We have been HUGE fans of JEM – not only because they’re local to us here in Bend, OR, but also because they make the BEST raw nut butter spreads I’ve ever had. I was first drawn to their ingredient lists – simple, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free. Each jar is incredibly creamy and smooth, thanks to the use of stone grinders. We can’t buy these spreads too often because they’re gone in a flash – mostly because Willow will devour it by the spoonful! My mom recently gave us a little jar of the Cashew Cardamom (their newest flavor) and I was able to sneak a little taste before Willow spotted me and stole the rest! This reminded me very much of a delicious chai latte. I plan to buy a bigger jar very soon! Here is the ingredient list for this jar: Almonds, Cashews, Coconut Sugar, Lucuma, Vanilla, Cardamom.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

RAW POWER! >> Vanilla Protein Powder >> I was gifted this protein powder and I have to say, it might be my favorite.

Our Raw Power! Protein Superfood Blend was born out of our wishing such a product existed for our own use. We would talk about how it would be great if there were a 100% organic, 100% raw, 100% vegan, 100% HEALTHY protein powder out there — with no fillers and no average ingredients — strictly the best ingredients planet Earth has to offer.

I was excited to see such a short, yet impressive, ingredient list and was also happy to see that it was unsweetened:

Ingredients: Hemp protein powder (seed), Brazil nut protein powder, Maca powder (root), Goji berry powder (lycium fruit), Mesquite powder (pod), Maca powder (root extract), Vanilla powder (bean).

All ingredients are raw, vegan and certified organic.

NO pesticides
NO cholesterol
NO GMOs
NO added sugar
NO trans fats
NO hydrogenated oil
NO dairy
NO wheat/gluten
NO soy
NO preservatives
NO artificial colors, flavors or ingredients
NO animal residues
NO dyes
NO hormones
NO irradiation

We’ve been using this in smoothies and my homemade Protein Explosion Bites. I like that I can control the sweetness level, but I really enjoy how this is not overly gritty – like most hemp protein powders I’ve tried. The smell is wonderfully intoxicating, thanks to the mesquite (one of my all time favorite ingredients to use) and vanilla bean. Seeing this ingredient list makes me want to try making my own protein powder now…especially since we always have those ingredients on hand!

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Eating Evolved >> Dark Chocolate Mint Crème Coconut Butter Cups >> I ran into Whole Foods the other day and was craving chocolate (surprise, surprise) and spotted these coconut butter cups! They were on sale 2/$4, so of course I grabbed two with the expectation that they would be delicious. They did not disappoint! Melt in your mouth, rich, but not sweet like most chocolate cups I’ve had. Could I make these on my own? Yes, but they’re a great convenient choice AND I’m a fan of supporting products like this – organic, soy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan – my hope is by supporting this, more products like this one will become available and those sugary, overly processed, dairy loaded treats will become less of a demand.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

 

RECIPES I TRIED AND LOVED:

Black Bean Soup {Yum Universe Cookbook} >> If you follow me on Instagram, you already heard me rave about this soup. Hands down the best black bean soup I’ve tried as of yet. Packed with flavor, but so simple to make – the recipe only calls for a tablespoon of coconut oil (which you can omit), but I have found that sometimes a bit of oil can really enhance the flavors. This will definitely be a staple during the cold months.

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting (which also used Hot Fudge Sauce and Salted Caramel Sauce) {Yum Universe Cookbook} >> Willow requested cupcakes for her birthday and since we have had so much luck with recipes from Yum Universe, I decided to use this recipe to make cupcakes! WHOA. It is safe to say that these were the best gluten-free, soy-free, vegan cupcakes we’ve ever had. They were incredibly moist, didn’t fall apart (and weren’t rock solid) and without the frosting and/or caramel, these were just the right amount of sweetness. I piped a little of the caramel sauce into the center of a few of them, but ended up just drizzling the rest on top. The chocolate frosting was to die for – a chocolate lovers dream – rich, sweet and smooth. Adding the frosting and caramel sauce put it over the top and did make it sweet, but it was the perfect treat. Willow was in heaven.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers {One Ingredient Chef} >> Hubby whipped these up last week while Willow and I played. We used gluten-free oats and coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. These were amazing! Simple ingredient list (only nine ingredients – including spices) and oil-free. Dinner isn’t our strong suit with Willow as she’s usually not hungry, but she did manage to take a couple of bites and enjoyed it. I loved how they held together, unlike a lot of gluten-free burgers.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Burger with red cabbage, romaine, caramelized onions, sautéed kale, red bell peppers and Peanut Butter & Vegan’s homemade mayo!

Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise {Peanut Butter & Vegan} >> We’ve made a few vegan mayos in the past, but they’ve always contained cashews. I love my cashews, but they can get mighty pricey – so I was excited when I saw that Hunter created a soy-free and nut-free option! We’ve been using this on veggie burgers, in chickpea mash and much more! I did, however, reduce the salt that was called for and since the mustard powder created a bit of a spice (heat), have learned to use less to keep it Willow friendly. I have since shared this recipe with friends and family – everyone enjoys it!

Easy Vegan Chickpea Patties {Woman in Real Life} >> On my quest to find higher protein meal ideas for Willow, I stumbled upon this gem. Eight ingredients (spices included), using things we always have on hand – I knew we had to try this ASAP. Since we typically don’t purchase canned beans (we love buying dried), we used some chickpeas that we had cooked up a few days prior and just added water to the mix. Sadly, I now see why canned would work better – that “brine” acts like an egg – holding the patties together! We’ve made a mental note for the next time. Despite only having a handful of ingredients, this did not lack in flavor whatsoever. In fact, it blew me away! I cooked some of them on a cast iron skillet and baked a few of them, just to see if I could make them without any oil. The ones in the skillet turned out much better and held together a bit more.

Dark Chocolate & Almond Overnight Oats {Something Swanky} >> I’m a sucker for all things chocolate…especially super dark chocolate. This literally felt like I was having dessert for breakfast! I used a bit of a chopped up 85% dark chocolate Theo bar and the recipe also calls for chocolate milk – so I used fresh homemade chocolate almond milk….wow. This recipe only calls for four ingredients – LOVE those simple recipes! I have had this both cold and gently warmed on the stove; both were delicious!

Raw Probiotic Cashew Yoghurt  {Wallflower Girl} >> I have tried to make my own yogurt a few times with zero success. We even purchased a yogurt maker a few years ago and failed. Talk about being discouraged and frustrated! I recently found a recipe for raw cashew yogurt that required nothing but a blender and 24 hours of patience….SUCCESS!!! The end result was creamy, tangy, slightly sweet and delicious! Willow loved it, which is a huge win. Six ingredients (including water) makes this a keeper recipe!

As always, I would LOVE to hear about any of your favorites!

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Veggie “Pizza” Bowl featuring Cheezy Pizza Sauce

Have you noticed that most of my recipes are of dips and sauces? Haha! Well, we use them a few times a week, whether over pasta, for veggies or potatoes. I’m constantly coming up with new ways to sneak in some extra nutrients into Willow’s diet and since she is incredibly finicky (although, she is getting better), I have to get really creative. I already have a Cheezy Tomato Sauce recipe on the blog that contains lots of veggies, but I needed something that was faster to make…something that could be whipped up in a few minutes to feed my hangry toddler! When I created this recipe, I had no idea what I was making, but I was hoping it was going to taste good. It’s become a favorite over these last few months and I just haven’t gotten around to sharing it until now. When I put some in a dish for Willow to dip potato wedges in, she screamed, “It tastes like pizza, mama!” So, I had to call this Pizza Sauce.

RECIPE: Cheezy Pizza Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

Our latest favorite way to use this “Pizza Sauce” was in a Veggie Pizza Bowl! Here’s what we had in our recent bowl:

  • Roasted Brussels sprouts (seasoned with garlic + onion powder; baked for 35-40min stirring halfway through, at 400F)
  • Roasted broccoli (same as sprouts above)
  • Diced raw red pepper
  • Sliced raw red cabbage
  • Sautéed garlicky kale (one bunch of organic lacinato kale cooked with a bit of fresh and granulated garlic and a touch of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet)
  • Arborio rice (quinoa is also great, but Arborio rice cooks up super fast in the rice cooker)
  • Other ingredients that we’ve used: roasted cauliflower, spinach, carrots, roasted potatoes, caramelized onion

RECIPE: Veggie "Pizza" Bowl // Be Sol-Ful

RECIPE: Veggie "Pizza" Bowl // Be Sol-Ful

RECIPE: Veggie "Pizza" Bowl // Be Sol-Ful

CHEEZY PIZZA SAUCE {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, nut-free option}

What you need:

  • 1 – 14.5 oz BPA-free can of organic diced tomatoes (stewed tomatoes work well, too or you can use fresh)
  • 3 Tablespoons non-fortified nutritional yeast (such as Sari Foods or Dr. Fuhrman)
  • 3 Tablespoons raw cashews (preferably soaked for 3-4 hours)*
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or can use a few fresh basil leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or fresh garlic cloves)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

* NUT-FREE option: the very talented and creative Margaret over at The Plant Strong Vegan used cooked chickpeas in a recent sauce of hers and I can vouch that it tastes great! So for all of you nut-free peeps, you can still make this! I would start with 1/4 cup of cooked chickpeas and add more if needed…all depends on your desired consistency.

How to:

  1. Throw everything into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth! That’s it!
  2. You can eat as is or gently warm it on the stove. It tastes delicious cold, but when heated over the stove for a little bit, it thickens up and the flavors have time to meld together. We’ve used this as an actual pizza sauce on crust, a dip for potato wedges, poured over gluten-free noodles and a dip for roasted veggies.

You can add more oregano, basil, garlic and onion powder – I kept this fairly mild seasoning-wise as Willow likes things on the milder end.

RECIPE: Cheezy Pizza Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Smoky Red Pepper-Cashew Cheeze Sauce

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve shared a recipe with you! I’m horrible about writing down measurements as I’m going and I’ve learned that I can’t base it off of memory…my mama brain is overloaded! The last couple of months I’ve been busy making delicious recipes from blogs I follow. I’m a HUGE believer in supporting friends in any way I can, so when they create a new recipe, I’m more inclined to make it rather than experimenting with one of my own. If you read my budget post, you also know that following a recipe makes life easier in our household – Josh can jump in and help or take over while I play with Willow.

Last week I whipped up a new cheeze sauce, but failed to write down the measurements – since there were a few people requesting the recipe, I made another attempt and it turned out even better than the original one. So, I present to you, yet another cheeze sauce recipe that uses just a handful of ingredients and takes minutes to make.

RECIPE: Smoky Red Pepper-Cashew Cheeze Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

SMOKY RED PEPPER-CASHEW CHEEZE SAUCE {gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free}

Makes approximately 3.5-4 cups of sauce

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup of raw cashews (soaked for at least 3-4 hours)
  • 1 small organic red bell pepper – approx. 3/4 cups diced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of water or low sodium veggie broth
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) garlic powder or granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • a dash of hickory smoke powder or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Himalayan sea salt to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)

** If you have a nut allergy, please visit a previous cheeze sauce recipe of mine that uses sweet potatoes, carrots and onions. You can easily add in the smoke flavor to that recipe.

*** If you do not have (or can’t find) hickory smoke seasoning or liquid smoke, you can try either increasing the smoked paprika or using smoked sea salt as opposed to regular sea salt. You can also omit the smoke and you’ll be left with a creamy cheeze sauce.

How to:

  1. Drain and rinse your cashews; place in high-speed blender with all the ingredients except water.
  2. As the blender is running, slowly add water in until you reach a consistency that’s good for you. I started with 1/4 cup of water and ended up using 3/4 cups. Depending on how much “water” your pepper contains, you may need more or less. Also, if you’re looking for a thick sauce, almost dip-like, you’ll want less water. For the latest batch I made, we used it to make Mac ‘n’ Cheeze, so I wanted a thinner sauce.
  3. You can keep this sauce “raw” and either eat with veggies and roasted potatoes or mix with cooked noodles. You can also gently heat it on the stove for a few minutes, but know that it thickens significantly when warmed up. We added it to cooked noodles and then baked in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to let the flavors meld together. We saved some extra “raw” sauce to pour over the final dish.
  4. If you have leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or you can freeze the sauce. When you reheat it, you might need to add a little more water or broth to thin it down a bit.

RECIPE: Smoky Red Pepper-Cashew Cheeze Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

RECIPE: Smoky Red Pepper-Cashew Cheeze Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

RECIPE: Smoky Red Pepper-Cashew Cheeze Sauce // Be Sol-Ful

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Raw Salted Caramel Kale Chips

Alive & Radiant Organic Kandy Kale - Sea Salt Caramel

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I buy products for inspiration – to recreate a delicious treat or an even cleaner, simpler beauty product. This week it was all about kale chips. It has been a LONG time since I’ve made kale chips – usually when I’m craving them, I don’t have the patience to whip up a batch and wait for them to be dehydrated – I’ll end up picking up an overpriced bag of them from Natural Grocers or Trader Joe’s. Recently I’ve been hearing people rave about the different flavors, such as chocolate peppermint and sea salt caramel. I caved the other day and bought a bag of the sea salt caramel and when I opened the bag, I was SHOCKED at how small of an amount was in there…literally the chips filled maybe a bit more than 1/4 of the bag. As delicious as they were, I told myself, never again. Spending nearly $5 for a small bag is ridiculous! I loved the simplicity of the ingredient list and the flavor was spot on – so this week I picked up some fresh organic kale and decided to experiment with my own salted caramel recipe. I have to say, I was incredibly pleased with how they turned out!

*This recipe uses a dehydrator and I realize that a lot of people don’t own one – I found a blog post that talks about how to use your oven – click HERE if interested.

SALTED CARAMEL KALE CHIPS {raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free}

What you need:

  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces (soaked for at least three hours)
  • 1/4 purified/filtered water (more or less)
  • 2-3 TBSP raw coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste
  • 6-8 cups (packed) organic kale

Salted Caramel Sauce

How to:

  1. Wash and remove stems from kale leaves. I put mine through our salad spinner to remove the excess water. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews; place in high-speed blender with vanilla and 2 TBSP coconut sugar. Adding one tablespoon of water at a time, blend on high until smooth, but not runny. You’re looking for a somewhat thick consistency. Next add in the salt (I used two pinches) and an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar, if desired – blend again.
  3. Pour the caramel mixture over the kale and using a spatula, mix until evenly coated.
  4. Spread the kale out onto mesh dehydrator sheets – I used two forks to separate the large clumps of kale.
  5. Set the dehydrator at 115 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 15-18 hours, or until dry. If you’re not concerned with keeping this treat raw, you can increase the temperature for faster drying. I recommend flipping them halfway through.
  6. Remove from dehydrator and ENJOY!
Salted Caramel Kale Chips // Be Sol-Ful

I used a mixture of baby kale and lacinato (dinosaur) kale.

Salted Caramel Kale Chips // Be Sol-Ful

Salted Caramel Kale Chips // Be Sol-Ful

Salted Caramel Kale Chips // Be Sol-Ful

Salted Caramel Kale Chips // Be Sol-Ful

If you happen to have any leftover, I recommend storing the kale chips in glass containers for maximum freshness.

They’re also toddler-approved – Willow is a HUGE fan of kale chips 🙂

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