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Lime Cheesecake with Cashew Coconut Crust

Hey babes,

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It’s been quiiite the past couple of weeks. Long story short: I have found an apartment after a fair amount of blood (minimal, mostly just blisters), sweat (LOTS thanks to the New York heat wave…..ugh), and tears (a little here and there) and I’m back in San Diego due to an interesting last minute turn of events. Good and bad. Bittersweet. Etc. Anyways, at least I’m reunited with my parents’ roomy kitchen lalalaaaa

So let’s talk cheesecake. My dad really wanted me to make him a cheesecake for his birthday (8/13) but unfortunately, I was in the process of leaving for NY right around then and didn’t have the time/energy while I was scrambling to get ready to make one. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake, you know how picky and labor intensive they can be. Not so much a last minute, bake-this-on-a-whim kind of dessert. Luckily, I came home a few weeks early (weeee) so my dad’s birthday cheesecake was only a mere 10 days late! This cheesecake is loosely based off of this lovely recipe. And what a fabulous one it was.

Crust:
2 c. raw cashew pieces
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. melted coconut oil

Filling:
3 8oz. packages of organic cream cheese at room temperature (!!!)
3/4 c. sugar
2 limes, juiced and zested
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated

Preheat the oven to 350° and begin to prepare your crust. Grease an 8″ or 9″ springform pan and set aside. Pulse the cashews, coconut, and brown sugar together in a food processor until you get a medium-fine crumb. Add the melted coconut oil, stir until combined, and press evenly into your springform pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or so until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove while you prepare the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 400° and move on to preparing the cheesy part of said cheesecake. With an electric mixer (for those of us who don’t have fancy shmancy stand mixers……it’s not like I’m bitter/jealous or anything…..), mix together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s all nice and fluffy. Add your lime juice and zest and mix again. Separate your whites and yolks of your two eggs and drop the yolks into your cream cheese mixture, leaving the whites in a separate bowl for whipping. Mix in the yolks and set this aside while you whip the whites to soft peaks. Once sufficiently whipped, gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the filling with a spatula. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth out the top. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 400° for 10 minutes before you reduce the temperature to 225°, baking like this for at least another hour (or until mostly set but still sliiightly jiggly in the middle). Once done baking, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door closed for at least another hour–this well help it cool gradually so it doesn’t crack. (Because, let’s be honest, what is more devastating than a cheesecake with a cracked top?) After an hour, pull the cheesecake out and place on a cooling rack. Carefully run a knife around the edge and let it cool at room temperature for at least another hour before placing in the refrigerator overnight. Try to resist the temptation to eat it until the next day. Tough, I know, but it’s much better this way, I promise.

Okay so my main (and only) issue with cheesecake is the sheer amount of cream cheese involved. THREE 8 oz. packages. Can you imagine how many bagels you can coat with that?! Actually no. I take that back. I do not want to think about that. But excessive cream cheese amounts aside, cheesecake is the love of my life. I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when I was photographing it. And again when I ate a slice after dinner. Good GOD this cheesecake knows me. I put a lot of love into it! Essentially, it is my baby, and I am so proud of how it turned out. (Has my absurd relationship with food gotten weird enough for you yet???) Well. On that note, I recommend only making a cheesecake if you have lots of time on your hands and plenty of patience. But if that’s the case, make this one! It’s pretty much the perfect, creamy, lovely, ideal cheesecake consistency (in my humble opinion). Not to mention the crust is fabulous.

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Alsoooo, just a little shout out to all the people in my life that have been there for me lately: you guys are really wonderful. Like, I cannot even express how wonderful. I might even appreciate you more than I appreciate this cheesecake. (KIDDING teehee I absolutely do!) You, along with baking/cooking/yoga, are my most effective antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. You know who you are 🙂

Love, Emily


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Basil Feta Burgers

Hi you guuuys,

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Yeah yeah okay, another post for today, I know. I cook and bake a lot pretty regularly but I always get lazy about posting. It’s the photo uploading that gets to me. Anyways, these actually happened for dinner today, so this is an uncharacteristically timely “make and post” situation. And guys. It’s REAL FOOD that I COOKED for once, not dessert-y baked things! (Gasp!) It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like this, huh? Exciting stuff. Well aaaanyways, these are mega-yummy. And *MAN APPROVED* from my dad and brother. It’s really hard to get the approval of my very picky, very athletic, very jaded 16 year old brother. That’s how I know these were good.

Mkay. Now, I’m going to take this moment to rant about the importance of organic-ness for a moment. (Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me!) For all of you organic non-believers (I’m talking to you, eye-rollers), just hear me out, kay? The label of “organic” gets such a bad reputation for being unnecessary, trendy, and expensive, and while that’s semi-true (minus the unnecessary part), there are plenty of reasons you should actually consider it. Buying organic meat is especially important because: it’s healthier (the animals aren’t fed pesticides!), leaner (healthier cows = better quality meat), sustainable (factory farming…noooo thank you), not to mention just generally better tasting. For all of you who are put off by the price, think about it as an investment for your health. Honestly now, you’re putting this stuff in your body. Wouldn’t you want the highest quality possible? The only reason it looks so expensive is because we compare it to the extremely low prices of factory farmed, soybean-fed, mass-produced beef (ew ew ew ew ewww). You don’t want to eat that, do you? So do yourself a favor, and if you can afford it, buy organic grass-fed beef. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

16 oz. ground beef
1/3 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. almond meal
1 large egg
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
6-7 large basil leaves, chopped (or to taste, really)
1/4 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl. Definitely use your hands if you don’t mind getting ’em dirty; it helps a lot with the mixing process for sure. Form into four burger patties and grill on medium for about 5 minutes on each side (or as desired depending on how rare/well done you like your burgers). Enjoy!

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‘Tis the season (for grilling)! Teeheeheeeeee

Love, Emily


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Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi lovers/friends,

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The gluten free baking adventure continues (semi-unfortunately, but c’est la vie, en fait)! Whatever. It’s making me creative I guess. So I have a confession to make. There was something strange about these cookies. They tasted awesome, but there was something a little funky about the texture. I based these off of this recipe buuut they turned out rather different than expected. Maybe it was the natural almond butter, maybe it was the sugar substitute (coconut sugar instead of brown sugar). Who knows! But anyways, they were soft and spongey rather than chewy or crumbly (as I feel cookies should be) and it was throwing me off. The more I thought about it, the more I realized: these should probably be muffins. I would even venture to say that they are destined to be muffins–they were essentially muffins masquerading as cookies. The batter was just soft and runny enough that they would have been perfect; plus, they’re not too sweet to thrive in muffin form. In other words, these cookies could have easily been eaten for breakfast. The fact that they were cookies, however, made that feel wrong. That being said, I did eat a few of these for breakfast anyways. But I will admit that it felt scandalous. So, friends, if you make these, I suggest you forget the cookie sheets and put them straight into your muffin tins. The baking time would probably be a little different, so you’re going to have to experiment and let me know what happens. Or just make them as cookies if that doesn’t bother you, that works too, of course.

1 c. almond butter
2/3 c. coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2/3 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Throw your oats and baking soda into a little bowl and set these aside for a bit. Next, beat your almond butter, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla together with an electric mixer until combined, then gently stir in the oats and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips last. Place them 2″ or so apart on a greased cookie sheet (or like I said, make these into muffins!) and bake for about 10 minutes until the edges are just barely brown. They’ll look a little undercooked, but they’ll hold together once cooled.

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Obviously it goes without saying that you can make these with peanut butter. I’m just rather partial to almond butter. Or if you really want, you can substitute the chocolate chip for some other mix-in (although I find this a little sacrilegious, personally, but that’s just because I’m probably a certifiable chocolate addict).

Keep being wonderful. You guys are great.

Love, Emily