Posts tagged raw

Chocolate-Marbled-Vanilla No Cheese Cake

Snuggle Bug, Cuddle Monkey, Baby Bird, Love Pie, Sweetums, Cupcakes, Pumpkin Pie, Sunshine… I just can’t call him by his real name (most of the time) or I get in BIG trouble. My silly little boy and his love of nick names…

My husband asked our 4 year old recently “why do you call mommy Flowers?”, he said “because she smells like flowers”. Awwww… I hope he calls me Flowers until the end of time. It melts my heart!

So what will you be making your Cuddle Monkey for Valentine’s day?

Well, if you are a fan of cheesecake but not the cholesterol, 59 different hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and scary stuff you find in your typical dairy cheesecake but enjoy rich and creamy, then it’s time you try a raw style cheesecake. So now, we can have our cake and enjoy it too!

Pinnable or not, this turned out presentable aaand tastes like heaven… so I am quite happy. This happens to be my second attempt at a raw “cheese” cake. And I think it turned out good enough to post. Nothing impresses me more in the raw food world than the cheesecakes! Yet, there is no cheese. How do they do it!?

I’ve been playing around with some recipes and I am determined to perfect the “cheesecake” but I’ll admit, I still need practice. Like mad science but without the mad ingredients, funny how so few natural ingredients can still be challenging to perfect. It goes to show that not everyone can just “be” a raw food “chef”. It actually takes practice but I think it’s worth the effort. Raw food is impressive and if there is anything that will get you hooked on the wonders of raw food…. it’s the dessert!

This cheesecake is raw and vegan because I cheated… I know. But I did. I just don’t want the dairy and sometimes not the soy and I am fine with vegan chocolate chips so that’s what went in it. Maple syrup too. Oh, don’t be a snob. It doesn’t have to be all raw or nothing all of the time. If you are a die hard raw foodist, then I am sure you already have your perfect cheesecake recipe. Won’t you be a sweetie and share it? I would love to try it!

I really like the idea of using Irish Moss in a raw cheesecake to make it extra firm, but being so close to Valentine’s day, I thought I would make it simple so my friends who want to try this don’t have to order the moss if it’s not already stocked in the pantry. It’s not exactly something you can run out to the corner grocer for!

Chocolate-Marbled-Vanilla No Cheese Cake

For the Crust

  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tbs Agave
  • 2 Tbs Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process into a crumb texture

Press evenly into the base of an 8″ spring form cake pan OR find a non-stick mini heart spring form pan set, 4.25 inches wide. (I found these at Target and they were a set of 3).

For the Filling

  • 2 Cups Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Agave
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup melted Coconut Butter
  • 2 Vanilla Pod Scrapings (I used 2 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans I had from Trader Joe’s. This gives it that speckled vanilla look along with the vanilla flavor)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth

For the Marbling

  • 1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Vanilla Almond or Hemp Seed Milk (I love to use Tempt Vanilla Hemp Milk)
  • 6 Oz. Vegan Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup, Grade B


Bring the nut milk to a gentle boil in a small  sauce pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips and maple syrup. Mix until fully melted and smooth. Pour into something with a spout and handle like a glass measuring cup. Set aside.

*Note: The key to marbling is to try to get the consistency of the marble mixture and the main cake mixture similar. If the chocolate mixture is too thin, it won’t drop into the cake properly. You can easily adjust by adding more chips if it needs thickening.

Directions for putting it all together

Pour the vanilla filling over the crusts in the spring form cake pans

Next, from about an arms length high, drop/pour the chocolate mixture into the cake, moving the cup or container around as you go and getting closer to the cake as you finish so you get chocolate on top (you may not use all of the chocolate, but I am pretty sure you can find other uses for it!).

Using something like the end of a wooden skewer, swirl the top of the cake but be careful not to over-swirl

Place in the freezer to set

*Note: My chocolate mixture was thinner than I wanted this time, it ended up not going real deep into the cake but it looked good so that was fine with me.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

~The Karmatarian

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Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips

Raw Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips

“The stuff we should be eating has become the decorations on the plate”

~Doug Lisle, Ph.D

So I hear that Kale is the new beef. I believe there is a lot of truth to this… and here are 7 reasons why. But let’s be honest. Beef and kale are not comparable! Kale is packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals that fight off cancer and disease. Beef = Zip! Beef actually promotes cancer and disease. Hmmm, so which one should I eat? YES, KALE… It’s what’s for dinner!

I recently purchased a new dehydrator and I’ve only been able to play with it about a dozen times so far. I made a couple batches of kale chips which were so easy. No dehydrator? You can even try making them in the oven, cracking open the door and keeping the temp at 120 or below if your oven will allow. I haven’t tried this. If you have, please let me know what worked for you in the comments below. It may take a while longer to use the oven and it seems a little dangerous keeping the oven door open so may I suggest for your healthiest (and safest ) you, add a dehydrator to your wish list. It’s inspiring to have one around!

You may think kale chips? Really? I thought the same thing at first. There is something addictive about Kale chips… They are soooo so good. A must try!

Kale is easy for me to consume in a green smoothie, such as my favorite kale and Bosc pear combo, but I haven’t wrapped myself around the kale salad craze. I have had some, not-so-tasty ones over at Whole Foods. I haven’t yet tried to make one myself (I am hoping I can do a little better, but who knows?). If you massage the kale with lemon, olive oil and sea salt, this helps break the kale down to a more pleasant texture and takes some of the bitterness out for a salad. Sauteing kale is another great way to get this superfood into the mix.

So far, kale chips are my favorite way to eat kale. Different flavors are fun to experiment with and so far I have made chocolate, apple raisin cinnamon and these lemon maple ginger chips which are inspired by one of my favorite organic teas I am obsessed with! It’s just a lemon ginger tea that I find at the local grocery chain (I’m shocked they even carry some organic. But I’m thankful).

My lemon maple ginger kale chips have a fun zippy kind of flavor. They have far less calories than potato chips and do a hell of a lot more good for your body. Try them and let me know what you think! I have only used the curly kale for my chips but I’m thinking that for a heartier chip I will try the Lacinato kale aka dinosaur kale next round. It’s important to tear the kale pieces larger than you think as they shrink with dehydration.

Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips


  • Large head of Kale torn into bigger than bite size pieces away from the stalks (you can then juice your stalks or discard)
  • 2 Tbs Lemon Juice. I use Santa Cruz brand organic pure lemon juice
  • 4 Tbs Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger Root
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt


In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the kale pieces. Blend well with a whisk and then incorporate the kale, mixing and tossing to coat evenly using your hands. Spread out on the dehydrator sheets lined with Paraflexx and dehydrate until crisp, about 12 hours. If it needs more time, place onto the mesh sheet and dehydrate another 4 hours.

What are some of your favorite kale chip flavors? Favorite kale salad recipes? Favorite ways to prepare kale? Please let me hear it!


~The Karmatarian

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Blueberry Chia Pudding

I can’t believe that I have been using Chia seeds as long as I have and haven’t run across a recipe like this until now! I found a great breakfast blueberry chia pudding recipe by Brendan Frazier posted on One Green Planet that I LOVE! I slightly adapted the recipe to make it quicker and I will be adding this baby to my recipe rotation. The pudding base is amazing on it’s own and will be used as the base for many different flavors that I have in mind to experiment with! This is fast and easy. I know you will love it too!

Although nothing new… yet still new to many… this is for my friends who may not have discovered the wonders of the Chia seed.

  • Chia seeds absorb 9 times their weight in water and when soaked create a tasteless gel that can help to keep you more hydrated
  • Chia gel is 90% soluble fiber allowing a slow release of carbs into the body. Great for controlling sugar levels (diabetics) and great for keeping you feeling full and controlling your appetite!
  • Chia seeds have twice the protein of any other grain or seed and 5 times the Calcium of cow’s milk. They contain Boron which helps absorb this Calcium
  • Essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6
  • Chia gel can be used for many things including smoothies, puddings, desserts and as chia “eggs” (egg replacer)

Lets not over look dates which are used in this recipe as our sweetener. Dates are a powerhouse of nutrition as well. Read more about dates here.

This Chia pudding recipe is quick, nutritious and a must try!

What You’ll Need

2 Tbs Chia seeds… white or dark seeds

3/4 Cup Water

1/3 Cup Cashews

3 Medjool Dates soaked and pitted

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/3 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Blueberries plus more for garnish

This is makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings


Soak Chia seeds in 3/4 Cup water for 15 minutes. At the same time soak dates in very warm water for 15 minutes. When dates are finished soaking, slice in half and remove pits. In a blender, combine everything except blueberries. Blend until smooth. Add blueberries and blend again, top with blueberries and dig in!

*Notes*  Try this pudding before adding blueberries! You may love it plain and simply want to add your fruit on top. This is the base I refer to above that you can add many different flavors to. Experiment and have fun!

If you have a Vitamix, you can enjoy warm pudding straight from the machine…. Mmmm, I feel so lucky! I put frozen blueberries on top of my warm pudding and it was heavenly. Or if you don’t want it warm and it got a bit too warm for you in your Vitamix, place it in the fridge for a bit before serving.

I would love to know some of your favorite ways to use chia seeds and also your favorite pudding recipes and creations! Please share!


The Karmatarian~

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Maureen’s Mango Avocado Salad

So the story of Maureen’s mango avocado salad is three-fold… 

First, I just threw my son a birthday party. He turned 4! I can’t even believe how time flies. I really wanted it to be a party for me though. A celebration that mommy made it this far with my sanity still in tact! Had I remembered how much work a party is, I may have just packed us up and went on a fun trip (for the price) instead! Mommy didn’t  get to do much celebrating, she was hard at work in the kitchen! Do you know how hard it is to find a healthy gourmet caterer in the burbs of Chicago let alone anyone prepping vegan dishes? There’s a niche there just waiting to be discovered. I don’t think it’s for me though.

I wanted my guests to enjoy great food that is healthy and kind all at the same time.  So if you want anything done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. I made it happen! Everyone loved the food. Kids included. They also had a blast with the batman theme and bounce house. When the party wound down, who do you think was in that bounce house getting her money’s worth and bounce on? That’s right. Mommy. That was a fun stress relief that I highly recommend. I am thinking some fitness classes need to be catered to grown-ups while in a bounce house. That could be fun!?!

I would love to show you more pics of the party and food. Visit me at my Karmatarian Facebook page. Please “like” me and check out a few photos! You can bet that this mango avocado salad was on the kitchen island along with some other yummy apps. When I was in search of another dish to serve, I thought of my amazing client and friend Maureen!

Fun story of how I met Maureen. Back when I worked at Emmett Rode Salon in Lincoln park, I was new there and trying to build my clientele. I plastered flyers all over that town. I hated doing it too. I went far and wide and put some on the back board at Karyn’s raw cafe. That’s how I met Maureen. She was interested in the organic hair color line that I use and took her chances and called me up. Any marketing person knows the feedback you get from a flyer. It’s like 1% or something ridiculous.  I don’t know why I bothered? No, I take that back. I got an amazing friend out of it! Who would have know that Maureen and I would hit it off so well and have tons of fun at our hair sessions every few weeks since!? Every time I see Maureen she hooks me up with the most amazing raw food! She makes wonderful green smoothies for us and our conversations are so much fun and in depth. I appreciate you Maureen! You are the best!

Maureen has been raving about this salad since I met her. She makes it for so many parties and occasions that she deserves the title. She didn’t make this one up though. I will get to that in a sec. Anyway, she swears people just devour this. I often wondered about it and it was on my “list” to try and then she served it to me a few weeks ago! OMG. She was not kidding! Something about this salad. It’s a refreshing change and very flavorful. A must try!

Maureen has a great hook-up herself. This is my third part to the story. Maureen has a really great friend named Linda who is a fabulous Raw food Chef! Hence, where all of Maureen’s raw food comes from that she in turn shares with me when I visit. Can you say… Lucky! Although I don’t know Linda personally, I feel like I do. She sounds like such a cool person. Linda owns Green Spirit – healthy living Please check out her great website! Linda offers home delivered raw food packages that are very reasonable. She has classes where you can learn how to create raw food for yourself and there are a lot of recipes on her website too. If she only wasn’t so far away from where I live, I would be there bugging her all the time! I do plan on taking a few of her classes in the near future and giving you a much more in depth review of Green Spirit! I love that places like this exist! Thank you Linda! Your food is amazing!!! This I know, because I have tried so many of your different dishes. Each one full of flavor and presented beautifully! So. A long story short. This recipe for Mango Avocado salad is originally from the famous Linda!  Please try it out for yourself and please check out Green Spirit if you are in or near the  North Chicago area! You will love the food!!!

Well here it is… The Famous Mango Avocado Salad!

You’ll Need

3 Mangoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

3 Avocados, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 bunch Cilantro, Chopped

1/4 Cup Sesame Oil

3 Tbs Lime Juice

1 1/2 TBS White Sesame Seeds

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

2 Serrano Chiles, minced (remove the seeds which are the hottest part)


Combine all ingredients and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Note* I have also tasted this recipe with just a small amount of diced (very tiny) red bell pepper. Maybe a tablespoon, possibly more. It’s great for added color. I had enough red colors running through my party theme as far as food goes, so I chose to leave out the red pepper!


The Karmatarian~

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Mini Raw Chocolate Dream Pies

Raw chocolate pudding made with avocados is nothing new in the raw food world, but it is to me! It blows my mind how nature can give us just a few ingredients (minus any help from animals) and we can come up with friggin pudding! Mousse! Whatever you wanna call it… I call it smooth, creamy, awesome chocolate mousse pudding!!! WHY wasn’t this handed down through generations in my family? How is it that my ancestors did not know this EASY secret? It is so disappointing how we think we need to out smart mother nature and change it all up when we can create something this good and so simply.  Move over Bill Cosby, it’s time to think outside of the old commercial pudding mix “box”. Try this and prepare to be amazed!

Mini pies are a fun finger food that’s great for a party or pot luck. Tell people who are unfamiliar with the raw food world what this is made from and I bet the reactions will be quite interesting! I make the raw chocolate pudding a few ways: Just the pudding and lick the bowl clean. You will too, trust me! Fill the nut crusts to make mini pies or the lazy vegan version, using Keebler’s mini graham ready crusts which would not be an option for the gluten free folks. I know what your thinking. The Keebler mini crust ingredients are not uber healthy, but a good alternative for the nut allergies out there! If I were making a large pie, I know there are healthier crusts sold at places like Whole Foods or I could spend the time to make one myself. But time is tight for most and I would rather see someone do it vegan any way they can. A Keebler crust every now and then (but far in between) won’t kill anyone.  Not on the spot anyway. Lol. It’s fast, convenient and quite delicious.  I can’t claim perfection with my diet and although I have type-A tendencies, I try not to be over-the-top strict with myself all the time. But do as you do. There are many ways you could go about the mousse pudding in this recipe: straight up, over fruit in a festive glass, parfait style or pies.  Have fun and be creative.

Nutritionally, avocados provide about 20 essential nutrients that include fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They act as a “nutrient booster” enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, from foods that are eaten along with them. Dates also contain a lot of potassium per serving  along with 3 grams of fiber. They also contain magnesium, iron and calcium, B vitamins and trace minerals. Cacao is high in iron, antioxidants and have compounds that act as anti-depressants because they help increase the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains. Can you say all this about the old box mix?

Mini Nut Crusts

1/3 Cup Cashews

1/3 Cup Almonds

4 Medjool Dates, pitted


Mini Cupcake Pan

Plastic Wrap

Easy to Prepare

Put the cashews, almonds and dates into a food processor and process until a crumb like texture. Add just enough water, (start with a sprinkle) so the mixture combines. You don’t want them soggy so be careful here. You just want to be able to press and form them into your pie pan. Line your mini cupcake pan with plastic wrap and portion evenly among each section. It’s approximately 1 Tbs of crumb mixture for each. Take more plastic wrap and lay it over everything and begin to press in with your fingers and shape each mini crust.  You may try doing this without plastic wrap but good luck. It’s a sticky mess.  The plastic wrap also helps to pop these babies out with ease. When you are done forming the pie crusts, remove the top layer of plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes or longer if desired to set firm.  Now you are ready to fill.

Raw Chocolate Mousse Pudding

2 Ripe Avocados

8 Medjool Dates

1 Cup of Hot Water

2 Tbs Cacao Powder, Raw and Organic

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Raw Agave Nectar or Raw Sugar to Taste

Dried Coconut flakes or berries as garnish if desired

The Procedure

Using a knife, cut and remove the pits from the dates. Soak the dates in one cup of very hot water for 20 minutes. Do not discard the water. Next using a blender add avocados, soaked dates, cacao powder, vanilla, agave or sugar and half cup of the date water. Blend until smooth and creamy.  Add more date water and sweetener as needed. Just a little note: You can sweeten this to match your sweet tooth’s preference. The nut crusts are not that sweet so it wouldn’t hurt if the filling was extra sweet to make up for it. You should then refrigerate this mixture for at least an hour for the flavors to blend. I usually can’t wait if it’s just a casual batch but you will get a better end result. I usually put my crusts into the refrigerator after I freeze them, while the pudding is setting. After your pudding sets, you can fill your pie crusts. Sprinkle with coconut flakes or garnish with a berry if desired.

Feel free to play around with this recipe.  Omit the dates and water, add coconut oil or coconut butter in it’s place along with maple syrup or raw sugar instead of agave. Raw food is very creative!

What are some of your favorite versions of raw chocolate mousse/pudding?

Find Raw Cacao powder and other ingredients here


The Karmatarian~

P.S. Another version of this chocolate mousse can be found at the Soul Searching Vegan. Even though I have seen many different recipes similar to this and wanted to try them, I have to say that it was Chelsea who inspired me to do it and create something with it to share with you. I hope you will check out her fun blog at her newest blog address.

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