Raw Gluten Free Vegan Strawberry Pie

I have been very much enjoying the new growth Spring has spread around our lovely California scapes. 
Spring has made sure everyone is aware of its presence, from the abundant blooms covering trees along streets and pathways to the bright yellow flowers and vibrant orange poppies littering the rolling hills across the state.

With the prosperity of Spring comes a plethora of fresh fruits in their prime, perfect for gracing this season's homemade creations.

These strawberries were the perfect contender for the star role of this pie. With the sweetness of fresh strawberries, the creamy texture of cashews, and a sprinkling of tart lemon zest from our own backyard, this pie is a sweet, smooth, satisfying treat fit for good company and memorable gatherings.

Raw Gluten Free Vegan Strawberry Pie
makes one 9" pie

-1 cup pitted dates, packed
-1 cup raw pecans
-3/4 cup raw almonds
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

-3 cups fresh strawberries
-1 cup raw cashews
-1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-1-3 Tablespoons maple syrup, depending on sweetness of strawberries
-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

-zest of 1 lemon
-sliced strawberries (optional)

1. Grease 8" or 9" pie pan with coconut oil.
2. Combine all crust ingredients in food processor until mixture is crumbly but will press together with your fingers. Press mixture into bottom of pie pan and up sides.
3. Combine all filling ingredients in high powered blender and blend on medium speed until thoroughly combined and completely creamy with no sign of cashew texture remaining. Start with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, taste and add more, if needed. Pour over crust.
4. Sprinkle lemon zest evenly over top of pie and freeze 4-6 hours to set. Slice and enjoy!

adapted from this recipe by Plant Powered Kitchen
optional substitutions...
-almonds: walnuts

Mangia! Mangia!

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

We visited my cousin-in-laws over the weekend and had the opportunity to enjoy their farm on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, close enough to town for a grocery run and far enough out that it feels like another world. 

Surrounded by amazing company, rolling green hills, free roaming cows, dogs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, horses, a beautiful vegetable garden, and a panoramic view of the ocean, life stood still for that day. 

Being immersed in such an incredible lifestyle was a humble reminder of how little each one of us is in perspective to the world we live in, how small seemingly large problems really are, and how life is so fleeting, each day should be deeply savored.

Such a refreshing day had me craving a delicious treat made of simple ingredients with minimal preparation. These raw, gluten-free, plant-based cookies were conceived. The most delectable flavor I have ever consumed in my time on this Earth, these are easily the most amazing cookies ever. That is not to be taken lightly. 
I have had many a cookie in my day, these are a refreshing change of pace, and an excellent example of how plant-based ingredients with minimal processing and free of gluten can produce what I will officially dub the best cookies ever.
The pictures do them no justice.

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies
makes 10-12 cookies

-1/2 cup pecans
-1/2 cup oats
-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
-3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
-1/4 cup chopped chocolate or cacao pieces

1. Grind pecans and oats in food processor or coffee grinder until fine.
2. Add remaining ingredients except chocolate and thoroughly combine in food processor or by hand.
3. Stir in chocolate until evenly distributed.
4. Chill dough for 15-30 minutes. Scoop by tablespoonful and place on parchment lined baking sheet. 
Refrigerate until set and enjoy! We freeze them for about 10 minutes before devouring them which seems perfect for us.

adapted from this recipe by Oatmeal with a Fork
store any remaining cookies in the fridge or freezer.
when grinding the pecans in a coffee grinder, the oils that were released [and possibly the heating of the motor] began to bind the nuts together into a near butter consistency, however, it ground them up a bit more than the food processor yielding a bit of a creamier cookie [and a bit more elbow grease for washing the coffee grinder out].
optional substitutions:
-pecans: almonds, cashews (I've tried each, pecans are our favorite but all of them yield the best cookie you'll ever have)
another alternate method [a bit quicker if you have the ingredients on hand] you can use almond meal or cashew meal and hand mix all ingredients together without requiring any grinding or processing.

Mangia! Mangia!

pictures of our fleeting adventure provided by my sister, brother-in-law, and myself

Gluten Free Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cookies

Saturday afternoon, on our way to visit old friends with monstrous black and white cookies in hand, I had a strong, urgent craving for fresh strawberries. I picked up some of the luscious, plump berries at a market on the way and deliberated what I would make with the sweet little guys. 
Sunday morning, I pulled out my favorite gluten free cookie recipe, chopped up the bright, juicy strawberries, and split my vanilla beans, whipping up these wicked little delights.

The beau says they remind him of strawberry toaster pastries, which is pretty spot-on. You might say they are gluten-free, vegan, strawberry toaster pastries, with a fancy, grown-up, gourmet twist. 
He also said they would taste like a combination of two of his old favorites if they had macadamia nuts and white chocolate chunks. 
While in active duty, across the country from me and my baked goods, two of his favorite cookies were white chocolate macadamia nut and raspberry white chocolate chunk cookies [from Subway], they were always super soft and irresistibly tasty, but who knows what went into them?

I may take his advice and add macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips (if I can make a dairy-free white chocolate), just to see what sort of dangerously tasty product comes of it.

Gluten Free Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cookies

makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen

-1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
-2/3 cup organic sugar
-scraped beans from 2 vanilla bean pods
-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
-1 vegan egg
-3 Tablespoons non dairy milk of choice
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
-1/3 cup sweet white rice flour
-1/3 cup coconut flour
-1/3 cup brown rice flour
-1/3 cup millet flour
-3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
-2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
2. Beat vegan buttery spread and sugars until fluffy. Beat in scraped vanilla beans. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, beat.
3. Add salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and flours, combine. If dough appears crumbly, add a touch more milk, one tablespoon at a time.
4. Combine chopped strawberries and arrowroot starch. Stir into dough, just to evenly distribute.
5. Plop by 1-2 Tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets, I used a small ice cream scoop. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges turn golden, baking time depends on size. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet 5 minutes.


inspired by my Gluten Free Cookie Recipe
optional substitutions...
-vegan buttery spread: coconut oil
-sugar: coconut sugar
-flours: gluten free flour of choice, you can use your preferred flours or play with different combinations.

Mangia! Mangia!