Valentines Day Bouquet Cake with Rosewater and Citrus – Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free. FULL OF LOVE!

Rosewater Cheesecake

I have lots of mixed feelings about Valentines Day, but I have ZERO mixed feelings about cake. You should always eat cake, especially when it’s pink. 

I hope that no matter your relationship status this upcoming Saturday you know that you are perfect, whole and complete just that way you are. No amount of rose’s, chocolate or teddys bears influences your self-worth. I promise.  And, if you drink endless bottles of Champaign and make this pink cake with your girlfriends on Valentines Day you will experience endless amounts of joy. pinky promise. 

From my blog to you: Happy Valentines Day, I love you 🙂 xo

Rosewater Cheesecake2
Rosewater Cheesecake with Winter Citrus
Yield: one 9inch cake
Benefits: anti-viral, antioxidant loaded, aids in digestion

Crust Layer:
½ cup almonds
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup dates- pitted
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
½ tsp orange zest
1 small orange- peeled, seeded, sectioned
1 tbsp coconut oil- melted
Pinch salt
Shredded coconut

Rosewater Cheesecake Mousse:
2 cups raw cashews- soaked
2 lemons- peeled, seeded, sectioned
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup melted cacao or coconut butter
½ cup dates
¼ tsp rosewater or rose essence
Pinch of salt
Big pinch of cardamom
½ tsp beet juice (to make cake pink)

Garnish
Orange and lemon zest
Edible flowers
Coconut

Method:
To make the crust: pulse the nuts in the processor until it resembles a fine meal. Add the remaining ingredients and process until a sticky dough forms. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan that is sprinkled with shredded unsweetened coconut. Place in fridge.
To make the cheesecake put everything in the food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Pour into the spring foam pan and place in freezer overnight. This is even better after two days.
Decorate the cake to your liking. I used edible flowers, orange and lemon zest and coconut. Get creative!
Thaw 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

XO
-C

Soothing Winter Veggie Soup with Lentils and Beans- Vegan, Gluten Free,

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This cooler weather in Southern California has been such a refreshing change and its resulted in constant cravings for soup. I am not complaining. I really love soup and the endless ways you can make it. My boyfriend Jaime is a master in the kitchen and he has been whipping up so many delicious dishes this winter like this chili! I am really excited to share this veggie soup recipe with you because it represents the style of soup I love the most: broth based and loaded with veggies! Additionally, it is super high in plantbased protien from the beans and lentils. Wel rounded and hearty in deed. This recipe is a large batch and perfect for eating throughout the week for freezing some. It really is delicious, Thanks, Jaime (kisses)!

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What you need:
Olive Oil for sauteeing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
10 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, dried
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, dried
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups cut green beans, fresh or frozen
1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
3/4 cups lentils – I used Bob’s Red Mill
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup mushrooms, slice
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered, and sliced
1 teaspoon Sriracha
Fresh parsley for garnish

Method:
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and traslucent.
Add herbs and saute for a couple minutes.
Add stock, vegetables, salt and pepper, and sriracha. Bring to a boil and then add lentils.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are thoroughly cooked
Adjust for seasoning and serve hot with fresh parsley

Recipe by Jaime Craten @pastry_guy_jaime

XX
-Cara

Spiced Vegan Chili- Holiday Party Style

Vegan chili 2

Chili has always been a favorite comfort food of mine. Growing up my mom would make big batches of it and we would eat it for the entire week following. She would make it with ground beef, of course, as she has never been a vegetarian or vegan, but I know that my plant based recipe is inspired by hers. There is something so well rounded about a bowl of chili that it has the ability to stand alone even without the addition of an artisinal loaf of bread that is required by a tomato or minestone soup. 

The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from my boyfriend, Jaime, who is a talented pastry chef here in Los Angeles. He crafted this dish for the Holiday version of Los Angeles Vegan Potluck, hosted by some of my favorite vegan instagramers and bloggers this past weekend, (see incriminating photo below). I loved meeting Jasmine and Yvonne who I have been long time fans of, along with so many fun foodies. We talk about heath, our favorite foods, documentaries and books as well as played games and won prizes. I ate so many delicious dishes and I believe our chili was a hit as we didn’t go home with much left over! The recipe has been scaled down so it is for 4-5 people instead of 15! I hope you guys enjoy!  

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Vegan Raw Pumpkin Pie – Happy Thanksgiving

pumpkin pie 3

When someone says “Thanksgiving” to me, the first thing that comes to mind is food. Then specifically pumpkin pie and then mashed potatoes. Growing up I remember pumpkin pie being my older brothers favorite dessert so we always had it around from November to December, not just on the actual holidays each month but all month long. Last year, i was going home for Thanksgiving and I really wanted to make a raw, vegan version of the pie for my family. I shot a YouTube Video, which didnt turn out as good as it could have but hey, I am a beginner! I wanted to share the recipe again with you all incase you are looking for an excellent one for this years festivities! I adjusted it slightly from what is presented in the video and it is a real improvment in texture and flavor! Enjoy!

pumpkin pie2

Pretty Pumpkin Pie Serves: 6 to 8

What you need:
Spring form pan 6 to 8 inches
Crust:
1 cup almonds- soaked 1 hr
1/2 cup walnuts- soaked 1 hr
1 cup dates- pitted
1/4 cup raisin
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut- optional
1-2 tsp vanilla or water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3 cups diced pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin- soaked 1 hour
1 cup dates, raison or combo of both- be sure to remove pit from dates
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 Tbs melted coconut oil
2 Tbs maple syrup

Method:
To make the crust add the nuts to the process and grind until a fine meal forms. Add the dates and process until a sticky dough is formed. Add in the coconut and vanilla, process until combined. Press into the bottom of an 6-8 inch spring foam pan. place in fridge.

To make the filling add the pumpkin, vanilla and spices to the process and process until well pureed. Add the dates and blend until well incorporated and combined. next add the coconut oil, almond milk and maple syrup then process well. Taste it and adjust if necessary to your preference.

Spread filling into the crust and chill for 6 hours in the fridge or freezer. If you put in the freezer let defrost for 1 hour in the fridge before serving. The longer you let it set the better it will taste as the flavors have more time to combine into pumpkin pie bliss.
Enjoy!

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

-Pumpkin is high in Carotenoids and Beta-Carotene great for fighting cancer and keeping wrinkles at bay
High in fiber – great for digestion and helps keep you full
great source of Vitamin C – boosts the immune system

-Walnuts- high in vitamin E for healthy skin, is linked to slowing cognitive decline and rich in alpha-linolenic acid and is thought to be heart protective in times of stress.

Coconut Oil- anti-fungal, anti-bacterial- helps reduce risk of getting sick. It also helps regulate our hormones for proper thyroid function and metabolism.

– Cinnamon helps regulate your blood sugar level

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Homemade Vegan Pho Broth

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Vegan Pho is Pho-king amazing but traditional Vietnamese Pho is not vegan at all. It is, in its essence, a beef broth made from the bones of cows and a whole bunch of other wonderful spices. Yes, thats right guys, bones. The tought of cooking with bones really weirds me out but growing up my mom used to make homemade chicken, pork, or beef stock with the left over bones from the meaty dinners we would have. The one thing that I can appreciate about stocks is that they give use to ingredients that you might otherwise throw away, including vegetable bits for veggie broth, and not letting things go to waste is ideal (animal or not). 

This Pho broth is extremely soothing and medicinal. My boyfriend created the recipe using alkalizing and immunity boosting garlic, ginger, and jalepeno. With the addition of shiitake mushroms, lemon grass and cinnamon sticks this broth is full of flavor and nutrients certain to help you combat the colder season. This is the first time in my adult life that I have ever made homemade broth and I will say that it is worth the effort and it truly is the star in any Pho recipe. I really hope you all love this recipe as much as I do.

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Autumn Peanut Butter Pumpkin Brownies- Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free

Autumn Pumpkin

Fall in LA is sort of like Spring (or summer) in LA. The mornings start out with partly cloudy skies, and cool crisp air that burns off into a 75f+ and sunny day. Although, there are some leaves on the ground, for the most part I would have no idea what time of year it was except for the fact that the sun starts to set around 5:00pm (which is such a drainer). Nonetheless, I am finding it very easy to make an abundance of seasonally appropiate dishes that are making it feel like fall in my kitchen. The recipe for these Autumn Peanut Butter Pumpkin Brownies can be found in my Disguising Superfoods as Cake dessert ebook along with 24 other recipes that are all raw and vegan. As I flipped through my ebook to find this recipe, a very nastalgic feeling came over me, realizing that I created something I loved for the sole purpose of creating. Much of our lives we create things because they are required of us, like a homework assingment for school or for a project at work. Finding this passion on the side of recipe development, food photography and a huge community of foodies via social media has brought an excitement back into my life that I lost after leaving my career in fashion to fight the battle against my eating disorder. Everyday, I look forward to seeing what other creative, healthy foodies are whipping up in the kitchen. It keeps motivated, inspired and connected so if you are reading this and are one of those foodies, thank YOU. From the bottom of my heart and always hungry tummy. XX -C

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Cinnamon, Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins- Vegan

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Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal. It is without doubt because of my equal love for a cup of joe, the quite-ness of that time of day and my desire to fill a hungry belly that has been waiting all night. Sometimes, however my mornings do not allow enough time to indulge in a cooked breakfast at home and that’s where these incrediable little muffins really come into play. Long gone are the days where I skip breakfast so a little planning ahead ensures I am fed with nutritious and delicious “will travel” types of breakfast. Make these on a lazy Sunday morning and they will keep well for the whole week. These guys are full of fiber, protien, and potassium to ensure your day is off to a great start!

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Carrot, Ginger, Parsnip Perfection. Vegan, Gluten Free

Carrot Ginger Parsnip soup

Where do I even begin with this soup? It was a Saturday night and my boyfriend, Jaime and I were staying in and decided soup was going to be on the menu. I had a long day volunteering with Stray Cat Alliance for their annual fundraiser event called the Stray Cat Club. It is a fundraiser in full on celebrity style gala that Los Angeles is known for. Attending fancy ass fundriasers are what wealthy people do for fun in this city. Not kidding.

This event has vegan food made by Chef Tanya from Native Foods Cafe, Animal Planet TV hosts galore, with black tie attire and art abundant silent auction items. For the last three years I have helped design the flower arrangements which is something I really enjoy doing and this year we bought over 2500 roses. Lets just say I got a few cuts on my fingers from the thorns. #worthit

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Maple Whiskey Glazed Rainbow Carrots- Vegan, Paleo

maple whiskey glazed hierloom carrots

Wake up in the morning, feeling like P.Diddy (hey whats up girl). Grab my glasses I’m out the door I’m gonna hit the city (lets go). Before I leave brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack. ‘Cause when I leave for the night I ain’t comin’ back. Just kidding. I don’t actually know the words to a Kesha song. But I love the idea of using alcohol to flavor dishes. Whether it is a pasta sauce with white wine, four bean chili with red wine or whiskey for glazed carrots, cooking with alcohol feels a lil naughty and I like it. I tend to listen to music when I cook so if this dish had a theme song then its Tik Tok by Kesha. But only because of the Jack. If you use a different whiskey then I understand if you pick a different theme song. Maybe “Take Your Whiskey Home” by Van Halen or “Well Whiskey” by Bright Eyes. Whatever you choose as the background music, if you choose to listen to music at all, I can almost guarentee your guests will be pleased by these Maple Whiskey Glazed Carrots.

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Citrus-y Green Beans with Almond & Cashew Crumble- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipe

Citrus-y Green Beans

Green Beans, specifically green bean casserole is a common dish at most Thanksgiving feasts. It’s serious comfort food when served the typical way with the butter, cream, flour, sugar and cheese with fried onions on top. Seriously, whats not to love? Well…, a whole lot actually but no need to get into the lethal combination of ingredients like that. This citrus green bean dish is really light, healthy and delicious. The toasted almond and cashew crumble give it that crunch we love from the fried onions of traditional casserole but with nutrient dense nuts instead. The subtle hints of the peppery parsley add a savory aspect to the dish that is balanced by the vibrant lemon vinagerette. It really is very tasty, trust me. I couldn’t stop eating the green beans with my fingers as I was photographing them. Ekk!

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What you need:
1/2 cup blanched and slivered almonds

1/2 cup cashew pieces
2 Tbsp coconut oil

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Flaky sea salt
Pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Method:
Lightly toast almonds and cashews in a skillet over medium heat. Let cool, then crush with your hands into little pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds, cashews, garlic, and lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.

Place lemon juice in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare a bowl with ice and water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer the green beans to the bowl of ice water, let sit for a minute to stop the cooking then drain green beans, return to the pot, and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette.

Arrange green beans on a platter, drizzling with vinaigrette left at the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle almond and cashew crumble mixture on top. Enjoy!

Stay tuned to Cara’s Kitchen because I will be posting healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday dishes!

xoxox,
Cara

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