Gluten Free and Vegan … NO BAKE Cheesecake!

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My eyes have been opened to the possibilities of CASHEW CHEESECAKE. As Emily Dickinson so eloquently stated, “I dwell in possibilities”, so to do I. I can see the possibilities with this customizable recipe … I cannot wait to keep playing with my food to find the perfect combination! Yes, you will see more variations of this recipe on the blog … like quinoa and pasta, there are endless possibilities!

Ingredients for the BASIC RECIPE:
1-1 1/2 cups of cashews soaked overnight in an airtight container. (a couple of days is fine…refrigerated)
2-4 TBSP almond milk
2 TBSP vanilla flavoring
OPTIONAL: add a different flavor, 1/4 cup fresh fruit, or 1/3 cup (nut/seed/soy) butter

I used my JR Date Bar Recipe and PB Protein Bites in the two trials of this I created. The PB Protein bites added a crunch where the Date Bars a silky smoothness to offset the cold and stiff cheesecake.

Prepare the crust and add to your freezer safe container

Drain the liquid from the cashews
In a food processor (I use a Vitamix) combine the ingredients until a creamy consistency forms.
Pour over the crust and refrigerate (covered) for at least 30-45 minutes till it sets.

Preparation for serving:
Remove from the freezer to allow the dessert to warm to ease cutting.
Garnish to match flavor profile

MONEY SAVING TIP: Buy cashews in bulk when they are on sale to have on hand for a quick recipe like this!

Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham was named America’s most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago on Monday night. Highlands pastry chef Dolester Miles was also named best in the country, making the restaurant the runaway winner at the awards. A panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and food journalists gave chef and owner Frank Stitt’s modern Southern restaurant the honors. The other big winner of the night was Seattle’s Edouardo Jordan, whose JuneBaby was named best new restaurant in America; he was also named Best Chef Northwest for his restaurant, Salare. “People always talk about Portland [Oregon] as the Pacific Northwest restaurant city,” said Jordan. “But they’re like the cool kid with a new name every season. Seattle is showing we are an ongoing force.” He doesn’t credit the rise of Inc. for his restaurants’s successes, although owner Jeff Bezos has dined at Salare. “Seattle has always had big companies—Boeing, Microsoft. They come in and eat, but it’s the people in the city who are making it happen. They’re more engaged than anyone gives them credit for.” The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize restaurants, wine programs, chefs, designers, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, and journalists from around the country. The awards, established in 1990, have recognized industry leaders such as Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer and Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park. While it may not have been a good year for such famed restaurant cities as New York and San Francisco (which won only two chef and beverage awards, including Best Service at Zuni, and the Best Chef West winner Dominique Crenn), it was a very good year for women. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in New York was named Outstanding Chef in the U.S, and Missy Robbins of Lilia in Brooklyn was named Best Chef New York. Forty percent of this year’s nominees were female. Women won many of the major awards, including Caroline Styne, who was named Outstanding Restaurateur for Lucques Group in Los Angeles. Forty percent of the winners of the regional chef awards were women; last year, that number was 30 percent. For the first time, voters were encouraged to consider qualities beyond food, wine, and ambiance, including respect and integrity. This follows accusations of sexual harassment against such past Beard winners as Mario Batali and John Besh.

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